8 March means one thing (besides another 20 days to wait before payday), namely International Women’s Day. March is also Women’s History Month, so in honour of #FemaleEmpowerment, we’ve gathered a list of venues in London with a strong feminist character
No, we’re not listing Sketch because of its pink tea room, but because of the new private dining room that opened at its two Michelin-starred restaurant Lecture Room & Library in October last year. The Millicent Fawcett Room is named after the famous suffragette, who on 17 July 1869 spoke on the site where Sketch now sits, calling for the enfranchisement of women. The interiors are distinctly feminine with Middle-Eastern influences; richly-textured wallpapers, generous patterns and enchanting colours.
What events to host here Luxurious private dinners for up to eight people
Where is it? 9 Conduit Street, W1S 2XG
Epsom Racecourse, Epsom
We’ve all heard the tale of how, in 1913, notorious suffragette Emily Wilding Davison committed suicide by throwing herself in front of King George V’s horse in the name of ‘the Cause’. Where did it happen? Epsom Racecourse. The infamous incident (which many used to turn Davison into a martyr and symbol of the Suffragette Movement) was filmed, and modern technology and analysis suggest that her death was indeed not a suicidal stunt, but an accident. However, the suffragettes were there to campaign for the right for women to vote, and therefore it still marks an important historic moment for women’s rights.
What events to host here Hospitality on race days, private dining, conferences, banquets and meetings
Where is it? Epsom, Surrey, KT18 5LQ
The first woman to be elected into Parliament was American-turned-Londoner Nancy Astor. The MP was elected in 1919, representing the Conservative Party. As well as living on their lavish estate, Cliveden House, in Buckinghamshire, Nancy and her husband had a house in St James’s in London. This is now the home of the Naval & Military Club, one of London’s oldest private members clubs.
What events to host here Large receptions, parties and banquets. The Astor Room has 17th-century wood panelling and a private balcony.
Where is it? No 4 St James's Square, SW1Y 4JU
St Pancras Renaissance Hotel, King’s Cross
What’s missing from this picture? Yep, that’s right, the Spice Girls, Britain’s ultimate girl-power band. The hotel, and the decorative staircase in particular, featured in the iconic Wannabe music video, which taught us everything we needed to know about putting female friendship first.
What events to host here Private dining, parties, large banquets, meetings and functions
Where is it? Euston Road, NW1 2AR
Tonight Josephine, Waterloo and Shoreditch
Yes, the millennial pink explosion that is Tonight Josephine is basic bitches central and an Instagram hot-spot. But it’s also so much more. As well as forming the perfect picture backdrop, the pink neon sign that spells out ‘Well behaved women don’t make history’ represents the generation of modern feminists that demonstrate that you can be a pink-loving, cocktail-drinking babe while still fighting for equality. Bra-burning, be gone!
What events to host here Private and exclusive parties
Where is it? 111 Waterloo Rd, Lambeth, SE1 8UL (Waterloo), 39A Hoxton Square, N1 6NN (Shoreditch)
Kensington Palace has been a royal residence since 1689, and has been the home of some of the most empowering royal female figures of our time, including Queen Victoria, Princess Margaret, Diana the Princess of Wales, and Meghan Duchess of Sussex.
Queen Victoria (not the prudish frump she gives out to be in her pictures), was the longest-serving British monarch with her 63 years – until Queen Elizabeth II knocked her off the throne. The writer of TV hit Victoria, Daisy Goodwin, describes the queen as a feisty, strong female ruler, who wasn't one to suffer fools, was unashamed about loving sex and stuck up for other women.
Princess Margaret, Queen Elizabeth’s notorious sister and ultimate party girl, lived there, so did Princess Diana, the nation’s sweetheart. These are women who were bound by the shackles of aristocracy, but who rebelled against them to break free and demonstrate that female royals have their own personality, their own say and, most importantly, their own problems – something that women of their ilk and era can relate to.
What events to host here Grand receptions, dinners and parties
Where is it? Kensington Gardens, W8 4PX
Clare Smyth is the first and only female chef to run a restaurant with three Michelin-stars in the UK – she was chef patron for Restaurant Gordon Ramsay for four years. Core is her debut restaurant, which, since opening in 2017, has been awarded several accolades, including two Michelin-stars this year. The Northern-Irish gal also received the World’s Best Female Chef Award by the World’s 50 Best Restaurants. We could go on… The point is, Clare Smyth is a kick-ass woman, an inspiration, and you should visit her restaurant now.
What events to host here Private parties
Where is it? 92 Kensington Park Road, W11 2PN
This all-female member’s club was founded in 2017 to celebrate and champion women to inspire change, and we love it. The club has a digital academy aimed at arming women with the tools they need to achieve their goals and build confidence along the way. Its first venue opened in Fitzrovia in 2018, with some awesome spaces available for private and exclusive hire, and its opening a new venue in Mayfair. Men are welcome to events held here, too, because feminists are not bra-burning witches, remember?
What events to host here Private dinners, meetings, workshops, weddings and private parties
Where is it? 11 Rathbone Pl, W1T 1HR
London’s tea rooms became crucial for the Suffragettes, as that’s where they met up to organise. One of these tea rooms was the Criterion Restaurant (now a highly celebrated Italian restaurant), which was especially popular among the Suffs in 1909. The food here is exceptional, so why not pay a visit knowing that those same walls heard the voices of the women who made the Representation of the People Act of 1918 happen.
What events to host here Private parties and group dinners
Where is it? 224 Piccadilly, W1J 9HP