It’s no secret that the UK has some pretty incredible venues. From London’s numerous cool and trendy spots to the various country houses for hire all over the UK, there’s certainly no shortage. It doesn’t matter if you’re planning a wedding or corporate away day, there is plenty of choice in every department, in practically every location. Many of these locations are well-established in the hospitality industry and knowledge of them is, for the most part, commonplace. But what about the venues you didn’t know you could hire? Finding one is a surefire way to impress your guests and give them an experience they won’t forget. Luckily for you, we’ve done the hard part of actually finding them.
You would be amazed at the number of iconic sites that can be hired privately. They include mansions, museums, stadiums, racecourses, boats, palaces and even castles. In order to spread the word, we’ve compiled a handy list of some of our favourites. Each one is brimming with interesting spaces in which to host all kinds of events. Why not host your next meeting overlooking the Olympic velodrome, or head to the epicentre of British horseracing for a spot of team-building? You can even dine under the spectacular copper-lined hull of the Cutty Sark in Greenwich, or have a drinks reception metres away from the crown jewels.
Many venues on this list are so well-equipped for events that they tick every box we could think of. That means they can host private dinners, weddings, parties, product launches, parties, meetings, conferences and more. Some can even accommodate thousands of guests, others offer unrivalled views of London’s skyline. So, have a browse and see what catches your eye, then hit ‘book now’. That will take you through to the venue’s page where you can check all the nitty-gritty (like capacities and prices) before making an enquiry.
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Venues you didn’t know you could hire in London
Here are some places in the capital that you've probably heard of, but didn't know you could hire.
Lee Valley VeloPark
This spectacular venue played host to the cycling elements of London’s 2012 Olympics. Since then it has remained a popular setting for not just cycling, but also events, parties and conferences. The sweeping roof and banked cycling track make this a pretty unique and stylish venue for any type of event, while the various rooms and spaces ensure parties of almost any size can be accommodated.
Where: Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, Abercrombie Road, London, E20 3AB
Book now: Lee Valley VeloPark
London Transport Museum
The London Transport Museum sits right at the heart of central London, on the famous Covent Garden Piazza. The museum offers a brilliant and unique setting for receptions and dinners, with three different spaces to choose from: the galleries, theatre and foyer, and upper deck. While you mingle, you can peruse over 300,000 transport artefacts before sitting down to enjoy the top-tier catering.
Where: Covent Garden Piazza, London, WC2E 7BB
Book now: London Transport Museum
Hampton Court Palace
Those seeking a venue fit for royalty should look no further than Hampton Court Palace - because it literally is. Once home to various members of the monarchy, the palace is now well-equipped for weddings, proposals, dinners, receptions, meetings and conferences. So, whether you’re planning a medieval banquet or corporate away day, this venue has you covered. The palace also has a recommended list of caterers and event suppliers.
Where: East Molesey, Hampton, London, KT8 9AU
Book now: Hampton Court Palace
Few venues in London, if any, are more extravagant than Mansion House. The Grade-I listed mansion was built in the 18th century and now is the home and office of the Lord Mayor of the City of London. Facing Bank tube station, the venue couldn’t be more well connected to the rest of the capital. Choose from the various rooms and spaces, each different from the next but all similarly lavish. Private dining is also available here, making it an unforgettable setting for an intimate meal with friends, family or colleagues.
Where: Walbrook, London, EC4N 8BH
Book now: Mansion House
Tower of London
Truly part of London’s history, The Tower of London is home to the crown jewels as well as other relics like the armour of Henry VIII. Equipped to host everything from weddings to business lunches, the venue has a selection of different spaces. The New Armouries offer a more light and bright setting, while The White Tower is a prime location for a medieval feast of up to 90 guests. Be sure to take the tour when you visit too!
Where: Tower Hill, London, EC3N 4AB
Book now: Tower of London
Comfortably one of the most famous sporting venues in the UK, not to mention the home of English rugby, Twickenham Stadium boasts a jaw-dropping 82,000 seats. Offering some 35 different spaces to choose from, this venue really does have it all, able to accommodate quiet private dinners, company blow-outs, product launches and more. There are plenty of packages to choose from, as well as a well-versed events team to answer any questions you may have.
Where: Rugby House, 200 Whitton Road, London, TW2 7BA
Book now: Twickenham Stadium
While it’s not the oldest structure on the list, the Cutty Sark does happen to be the only boat. This 19th-century tea clipper offers a one-of-a-kind maritime setting for events including dinners and receptions. Celebrate under the copper-clad hull in the Dry Berth, enjoy a reception under the stars on the Weather Deck or settle into the mahogany-panelled Master Saloon for a more intimate private meal.
Where: King William Walk, London, SE10 9HT
Book now: Cutty Sark
Venues you didn’t know you could hire outside London
Outside the capital, you'll find a whole host of famous places in which to party.
There aren’t many venues that tick as many boxes as this. Leeds Castle has a golf course, helipad and even a moat! Inside you’ll find The Castle Dining Room, filled with tapestries and Chinese porcelain, which can seat up to 30 around one large table. The Maiden’s Tower, meanwhile, is well-suited to product launches, meetings, conferences and presentations, even boasting its very own accommodation and garden. Larger spaces include the wooden beam-lined Fairfax Hall, which can host up to 200 guests.
Where: Maidstone, Kent, ME17 1PL
Book now: Leeds Castle
While Ascot is, of course, famous for being one of the dressiest events in the UK, it’s also a state-of-the-art entertainment, event and conference venue. Able to handle an impressive 3,000 guests, Ascot has suites, lawns, pavilions, exhibition halls, clubs and concourses - you name it. As such, you’ll be sure to find the ideal setting for your event, no matter how specific your requirements are. The highly skilled in-house catering teams can whip up anything from barbecues to fine dining.
Where: Ascot Racecourse, High Street, Berkshire, SL5 7JX
Book now: Ascot Racecourse
Emirates Old Trafford
This iconic sporting ground is also a highly versatile multi-purpose conference and events venue. With a history of delighting delegates, the space allows parties of anything from ten to 2,000 and even has its own 150-room Hilton hotel onsite. Event planners, duty managers and IT support staff are on hand to ensure everything goes smoothly, so all you have to do is sit back and enjoy.
Where: Lancashire Cricket, Talbot Road, Manchester, M16 0PX
Book now: Emirates Old Trafford
This could be the most extravagant entry on the list. Blenheim is the only non-royal and non-ecclesiastical residence in England to be styled a palace and the birthplace of Winston Churchill. Surrounded by 90 acres of gardens including the Water Terraces, Rose Garden and the Duke’s private Italian Garden, the palace has played host to the S/S17 Cruise Fashion Show with Dior and the launch of the new five-pound note.
Where: Woodstock, Oxfordshire, OX20 1PP
Book now: Blenheim Palace
If your guest list is reaching the thousands, you might want to take a look at these marvellously massive venues in London. Or, if Emirates Old Trafford, Twickenham and Lee Valley wet your whistle, peruse the capital's superb sporting venues for the complete list.