The variety of different venues available to event bookers who need space for over 1,000 standing guests is remarkable. In this squaremeal.co.uk list of we've compiled a selection of top large-scale venues in London that accommodate for that volume of guests or delegates.
A natural choice in the capital may be one of the music or theatre venues in the list, which offer character and a sense of fun and excitement to an event. If you're after something really different, we have a range of different funky venues, for example why not take a look at ZSL London Zoo? You could mix your conference or AGM, with a teambuilding event or a unique away day.
There also a range of marquee venues and temporary structures, which might work well if you're interested in a blank-canvas venue where you can add your own colour scheme and theme. These venues are particularly good for seasonal events – Christmas parties being the obvious one. If something more permanent tickles your fancy check out the sports venues we have listed. They combine space with a real sense of theatre.
This arched glass atrium in Canary Wharf soars above 682sq m of marble floor with vast windows looking out towards the waterfront. As well as hosting parties, the venue is suited to exhibitions, product launches and automotive showcases. The 4m x 3m LED screen and sound-absorbing acoustics will please conference bookers. The Gallery suspended above the main floor can be hired on its own, and the multimedia Promenade Room will suit smaller groups.
Late in 2017, trend-conscious Etc Venues opened a northern outpost in buzzy Manchester. Its new events destination includes a self-contained conference wing with exhibition space and a restaurant with a modish theatre kitchen. As ever, flexibility is key and each of the smaller meeting spaces has manifold configurations. You’ll find all of this up on the eighth floor of 11 Portland Street, where there are dramatic city views and lots of natural light.
etc venues – Manchester
Troxy opened its doors in the 1930s as a grand cinema. Today, it’s an impressive events hub that retains its Grade II-listed art deco features. AV facilities are a strong point, with hi-spec sound, flexible staging options and a permanent lighting system on offer. Combined, they deliver for concerts, fashion shows and awards ceremonies. The main space is also well suited to indoor sports events, corporate dinners and Christmas parties.
- It might be best known for its 150-plus arcade games, but Namco Funscape also offers its bowling lanes for
private hire. The venue, ideally located on the South Bank within County Hall, is a great spot for Christmas parties, launches and teambuilding events alike. For private parties of up to 500 the
Subscape area offers six bowling lanes, a DJ and dancefloor, private bar, access to the American-style pool hall, the Namoke karaoke and unlimited use of the video games. The alley area itself, bathed in ultra-violet light, has non-slip floors, so there’s no need to don a pair
of unattractive bowling shoes. There is also the option to purchase tokens for Europe’s fastest bumper cars.
Bowling Lanes at Namco Funscape
Botanical features bring a touch of the outdoors to this Drake & Morgan outpost amid the high towers of the City, from its garden-inspired lounge to the relaxing private dining room. The first-floor bar and dining area works for large group dinners on wooden bench tables, while smaller gatherings are best served in the basement private dining room, or two even smaller vaults. Cocktail masterclasses are included in the venue’s teambuilding offering.
This landmark cultural centre comprises the Royal Festival Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall and Hayward Gallery. While the latter two are being refurbished (they are set to reopen early this year), the Festival Hall is open for business and makes an impressive space for big conferences and product launches. St Paul’s Roof Pavilion on the sixth floor is good for smaller groups, while the Weston Roof Pavilion suits relaxed business gatherings with striking views.
The Covent Garden home of English freemasonry is a rousing venue for dry-hire events including conferences, awards ceremonies and gala dinners. Licensed to serve drinks and play music until 2am, its biggest event spaces are the first-floor Grand Temple and the Vestibules. Both come with fine art-deco stylings and are accessed via the private Tower Entrance. On the ground floor, the Old Boardroom can be a useful breakout space, while the Ante Room suits drinks receptions.
This famous City-based museum can handle anything from Christmas dinners to AGMs. Presentations and screenings are best held in the tiered Weston Room, but if you’re planning a soirée, look first to the Entrance Hall. A drinks reception should work nicely around its futuristic bar before guests move through to the large Sackler Hall, with its 360° digital screen. For summer parties, the Terrace Rooms have direct access to the Rotunda Gardens.Latest news
Organise a spring event in the Entrance Hall and Sackler Hall, and guests will also get the chance to enjoy free access to the temporary display dedicated to the 100th Anniversary of Votes for Women. Minimum numbers apply.
Venue review of Museum of London Docklands
Museum of London
Stamford Bridge sports a long lineup of contemporary facilities for hosting groups. Look first to the newly refurbished (late 2017) West Stand, with its myriad modern event spaces and teambuilding options. The all-new 1905 Club, which replaces Marco Grill, is already proving popular for meetings and dinners on non-match days. Elsewhere, we’re fans of Under the Bridge, a state-of-the-art music venue used for award ceremonies and dinners.Hospitality at Chelsea FC
Chelsea Football Club
100 Wardour St once hosted the Rolling Stones’ first London gig. Today, the venue has the feel of a ‘refined living room’: a plush spot for daytime business and making merry by night. Beyond the light-filled atrium lies a cavernous main space dominated by an island bar. At the far end, a well-equipped private room has a smart pool table that can be flipped flat for meals. Downstairs, there’s a stage for live performances, and assorted private and semi-private spaces.Restaurant review of 100 Wardour St
100 Wardour St
Built on the site of the world’s first purpose-built exhibition space, the ICC continues to innovate today. Recent work has brought its tech offer into the first rank. All of its rooms, and most of its halls, are soundproofed, with private welcome areas. Look out for Hall 1, with its vast stage, advanced lighting system and direct vehicle access, and Hall 4, where a carpeted flat floor is popular for exhibitions. Step outside and the fast-evolving city is all yours.
Set in a whopping 600 acres of parkland, The Grange is one of the UK’s best examples of neoclassical architecture. Indoors the ‘distressed’ interiors provide a characterful backdrop for a range of events spanning large corporate presentations to high-concept parties and dining. The stand out space has to be its award-winning theatre, which comes with a range of reception rooms handy for pre-event drinks or breakout sessions. Also of note are its outdoor spaces, which includes a string of attractive porticos, along with as many sweeping terraces around the house.
The Grange Estate
A name for the event organiser’s little black book, LatenightLondon’s knowledgeable team operates a free party-planning service for 34 venues in the West End and City. All of its bars and
restaurants are open late and provide attractive backdrops for a spectrum of private events, from small office parties to product launches, corporate dinners or drinks receptions for up to 1,720
guests. The venues all have different styles and atmospheres, ranging from the sleek Jewel Bars in the West End to the unashamedly kitsch Kanaloa in the City. Private dining facilities are
available at Grace and Amber, while all of the group’s sites are available for exclusive private hire.
The events appeal of the Science Museum is obvious. Where else can you dine next to the Apollo 10 command module or mingle under the first plane to cross the Atlantic? Daytime conferences are well catered for in the Imax Theatre. For evening events, we like the Exploring Space gallery with its rockets, satellites and landers. Recent additions include Mathematics: The Winton Gallery and Wonderlab: The Equinor Gallery – both bookable for events and private views.Venue review of Making the Modern World at the Science Museum
Venue review of Illuminate at the Science Museum
Venue review of IMAX at the Science Museum
Venue review of Wonderlab: The Equinor Gallery at the Science Museum
This purpose-built Westminster venue is no stranger to high-profile clients. Its 32 event spaces hold up to 2,500 delegates, and conferences and exhibitions work well here. A major refurb, including a renovated façade, new breakout spaces and improved lighting, was recently completed. We’re big fans of the Churchill, whose slightly raked seating means everyone gets a good view. The larger rooms work well for banquets and drinks receptions.
Ministry of Sound has nearly 20 years of experience in hosting corporate events. Its spaces range from the multilevel 103 – great for a drinks reception – through to The Box, where a world-class sound system takes production-heavy events to the next level (awards ceremonies, conferences and dinner dances are a no-brainer). The covered and heated Courtyard is the ideal spot for welcome drinks or for use as a breakout zone.
Ministry of Sound
Few places in London match the Grand Connaught Rooms for opulence. A bevy of event spaces are split over five floors, from the headline Grand Hall to a string of well-appointed meeting rooms. The former’s soaring ceiling and ornate interiors make a big impact for awards ceremonies, while the adjoining Balmoral suits large-scale standing events. Smaller groups will prefer the penthouse and also its adjoining modern-feel terrace, which offers fine views.
Grand Connaught Rooms
The Bloomsbury Big Top in Coram’s Fields brings 2,500sq m of event space to this leafy part of London each Christmas. Best suited to large-scale dinners and conferences, the venue has also catered for fashion shows, weddings and concerts. It’s a temporary structure, but the Big Top’s team deliver an experience you’d expect from a quality permanent venue. It comes with a thermostat-controlled heating system, carpets, posh loos and on-site catering.Venue review of The Fountain Room
Venue review of Christmas at The Fountain Room
Bloomsbury Big Top
In a Grade II*-listed former Victorian railway station, Manchester Central’s column-free Central Hall brings rare height and a special atmosphere to exhibitions or installations. For smaller events, it divides into two. Exchange Hall is the city’s biggest purpose-built banqueting space, while Exchange Auditorium offers state-of-the-art AV. A plethora of breakout spaces and meeting rooms maintain the high standards, and the city itself is close at hand.
With a prime location on the South Bank, the Namco Funscape entertainment complex offers more than 150 arcade games, Europe’s fastest bumper cars and its Ping & Pool Hall. Private hire options spread over three floors: teambuilding, drinks receptions and Christmas parties are popular. We’re fans of the Escape Room, where groups solve puzzles against the clock. Elsewhere, a new Boutique Bowling package sees groups take over six revamped lanes.Venue review of Pool Hall Lounge at Namco Funscape