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The Deck at the National Theatre
Up to 120 guests can enjoy cocktails at this stylish event space and terrace overlooking Waterloo Bridge. Translucent walls let in natural light, but we’d grab The Deck for a night-time party and treat our guests to the free light show as boats cruise along the river. Tip: book a backstage tour of the NT.
South Bank, SE1 9PX, tel: 020 7452 3796, BR:- FR:1 M:- D:80 R:120
IET London: Savoy Place
With river views that stretch from St Paul’s to Big Ben, Savoy Place has the wow factor in spades. There are 18 meeting spaces, including a 462-seat tiered lecture theatre, and it’s licensed for weddings too.
2 Savoy Place, WC2R 0BL, tel: 020 7344 5479, BR:- FR:19 M:462 D:250 R:260
This new event space on the second floor of the Oxo Tower has huge windows running the length of the room, so all your guests (up to 400 of them) get to enjoy the superb river views. Competition to get on the small balcony, which can only hold about 20 people, is intense!
Oxo Tower, Bargehouse Street, SE1 9PH, tel: 0845 437 9440, BR:- FR:2 M:100 D:220 R:400
Undoubtedly one of London’s best riverside bars, Tom’s Terrace returns to Somerset House for a second consecutive summer (he’ll be folding the canvas up on 25 September). Inside, the Portico Rooms offer uninterrupted views of the Thames and can hold up to 200 for a standing reception.
Somerset House, WC2R 1LA, tel: 020 7845 4646, BR:- FR:- M:- D:- R:50
The home of the Honourable Company of Master Mariners has been moored on the Thames since 1948, after serving with distinction in WWII. Events (for up to 220 guests) are managed by It’s The Agency. Victoria Embankment, WC2R 2PN, tel: 020 7871 0577, squaremeal.co.uk/hqsw, BR:- FR:3 M:160 D:130 R:220
Middle Temple Garden
These idyllic landscaped gardens overlooking the Thames are perfect for pre-prandial drinks before moving into the Elizabethan Middle Temple Hall for a banquet. Alternatively, you can put up a marquee for up to 750, and keep things properly riverside.
Middle Temple Lane, EC4Y 9AT, tel: 020 7427 4820, BR:- FR:4 M:350 D:300 R:500
HMS President (1918)
A WWI ‘Q ship’ (designed to look like a merchant vessel but bristling with weapons), President is now bristling with event spaces, including two open-air decks. There’s even a ballroom, for up to 350 guests.
Victoria Embankment, EC4Y 0HJ, tel: 020 7583 1918. BR:- FR:7 M:220 D:220 R:350
This article was first published in Square Meal Venues & Events, summer 2011