A party venue with a view
The party planner’s nightmare has to be the need to find the right venue that communicates that special message, whatever ‘that special message’ might be. Nowadays, the ‘jolly’ event at these party venues is less frequent than it used to be before the recession in 2008. Now when we are looking to host an event it usually has a reason and a message that needs to be subtly communicated to its guests for commercial reasons. The organiser will be looking for that venue that will help convey messages like thank you, aren’t we impressive, trust us and give us your business; the list is endless but there are many reasons why the event planner needs their venue to act as a draw to get people along to it.
So how do we choose the right venue to help us achieve these objectives and ensure our event is successful, memorable and also commercially brings that return?
There are always the usual considerations to be made; the location, the price point, size of the space, is there catering at the venue and can the caterer match your needs? But something that impresses more than any of these attributes is an iconic, landmark venue with amazing views to act as an icebreaking talking point as well as an impressive address to arrive at.
London has many stunning landmark venues; many of them museums, art galleries, educational establishments or visitor attractions. As the sun goes down, they all close their doors to their day visitors and core purpose, and then transform themselves into the stunning backdrop and an event space, and they are open for hire. These events can range from product launches, fashion shows, receptions or full dining banquets. They create the wow factor for you the minute the guests arrive at the destination which is then carried on through to when they walk into the room and see the splendour and style of the venue space.
Many of these venues are listed buildings so there is a compromise on using the space and consideration must be taken when planning your event. You may be advised that you will be restricted on the style of catering and drinks offered. This is usually to avoid damage to the floors or surroundings. No popping of Champagne corks near priceless works of art. Some venues have time restrictions because they have residential dwellings nearby and there is a noise restriction. There are even some venues that won’t allow some dishes on the menu, particularly those with a lasting odour that doesn’t bode well for the next day when they revert back to their daytime responsibility!
All of the above though is worth working through and still worthwhile as it gives you the opportunity to host your event in such majestic surroundings. Most caterers within these venues have the expertise to understand these restrictions and will help you work around them.
One venue that has embraced this transformation from working bridge and daytime visitor attraction to a very successful and busy event venue is Tower Bridge. Initially built as a bridge, the Walkways were introduced to allow pedestrians to walk safely across it and protect themselves from the elements. Nowadays guests can hire these historic Walkways and they make the perfect destination for receptions and dinners. Beneath you, visitors can still see the working bridge lift to allow boats through; this is a fantastic site and if your event coincides with this, your guests will get an additional thrill at no extra cost!
The Walkways also have the added novelty of the glass floors. These have been a recent addition and give the visitor a view of the Thames below them, almost like walking on the river, (not for the faint hearted but a brilliant talking point).
There are other spaces that have been utilised within Tower Bridge.
The old Engine Rooms offer an interesting backdrop for events and take guests back in time amongst the old pumps and mechanical structure. This space hosts a variety of Christmas parties and smaller dinners and is a real hit with those that have an engineering or mechanical pedigree to their business – guests can admire the bygone workmanship throughout their whole event.
Also a smaller space can be found within one of the Victorian turrets of the bridge, the North Tower Lounge. This functional space has the added benefit of being available even through the day, which is an unusual benefit for a historical venue.
The most impressive benefit of Tower Bridge has to be the most spectacular views across the Thames. There are very few other venues that can compete with these views, particularly when you consider those glass floors allowing an almost 360 degree view of the Thames! The working bridge still lifting as a matter of the river’s daily business is just fantastic and just out of interest this is the only bridge in the world you can dine on!
Most event organisers will say when holding events in these spaces that the benefit of using an unusual venue is to get their guests to their event in the first place. Who wouldn’t want to dine in these majestic landmarks venues? Sometimes these special events allow one to see parts of the venue ordinarily they would not.
This has been proven many times and clients return year after year to take advantage of these historic venues with iconic addresses and magnificent histories, and most of all some spectacular views across London and beyond.