Browsing Tag

Unique Venues

Latest venue discoveries in London

I really like the big venue selection in London. I rarely visited a venue twice, except few exceptions, and had the opportunity to attend events in venues which are top tourist attraction during the day, before the space is transformed to welcome event guests. There are countless openings and renovations, and unique venues are opening their spaces for corporate events and offering something new and exclusive.

This year I had five venue discoveries in London and are worth sharing.

The Royal Exchange

Located just outside Bank DLR Station and in the heart of the financial centre, The Royal Exchange contains offices, shops and restaurants, and is where I attended the EWL Club breakfast event about “Closing the gap between event education and experience”. Our session took place in the Sauterelle room, overlooking the Grand Café and light breakfast was provided by D & D London.

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EEF Venues Broadway House

Broadway House is part of EEF Group and is a conference venue just walking distance from the Westminster and Victoria tube stations and is where I held #EventPlannesTalk LIVE event about “the perfect pitch – what clients are looking for”. They have in-house catering and for the evening offered us an antipasti buffet with wide selection of healthy options. Walking from and to Westminster station attendees will have spectacular views over Big Ben and House of Parliament which is also not to be underestimated and adds to the whole experience.


Victory Services Club

Another very central venue but a hidden gem is the Victory Services Club, a private members club exclusive for retired and serving members of the armed forces. It’s very high end and bespoke establishment and just recently they did £1.5 million refurbishment of two rooms, El Alamein and Trafalgar Suite and held the “VSC Vineyard Event” to showcase the renovation. They have their own in-house catering and during the event we were treated for a wide selection of canapés, finger food, cone food, fork buffet, bowl food and desserts to pair with selected wines.


Victoria and Albert Museum

V & A Museum is one of London’s top tourist attractions in South Kensington and a must visit, and I’ve been there several times before as a tourist during the day. But this year I attended the International Corporate Event Awards (ICE Awards), recognising in-house event planners, and the museum was privately hired for us. The evening started at 7pm with drinks reception at John Madejski Garden, continued with dinner and awards ceremony at the Raphael Gallery and desserts buffet and bar were offered at the Dome. I was really impressed by this venue and if I have to pick one from this list of venues this will be my favourite. It was absolutely unique and exclusive to have this venue privately hired just for us.

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The London Marriott Hotel, County Hall

The Westminster Suite – the presidential suite at the The London Marriott Hotel, County Hall was the venue of #EventPlannersTalk LIVE event about “The role of airlines, added value and the decision making process in MICE travel”. The hotel is located just walking distance from Westminster tube station and is overlooking the Big Ben and House of Parliament. If you want to host a formal event but still give it an informal, relaxed and exclusive ambiance and encourage networking opportunities between attendees this can be the right choice for you. For catering we had a selection of starters from their buffet menu.


What are your favourite venues or latest discoveries in London and around the world this year?

Events at Trinity House

Overlooking Tower of London and the River Thames, Trinity House is one of London’s most elegant event venues, offering its space for corporate functions and weddings.

Upon arriving to the venue to attend Association of National Tourism Office (ANTOR) event, I was greeted by Edgar King, Events Manager at Trinity House and headed to The Library where the exhibition took place, with 27 international destinations exhibitors and welcomed over 85 media representatives from travel industry and consumer press.


We were offered a tour of The House which was conducted by Geoff Boyd, City of London Guide. The tour was very insightful and interesting, highlighting key historic milestones and showing us all the function rooms. I was very impressed that almost every piece of furniture, décor and pictures was carefully selected to reflect venue’s story and maritime history.


Trinity House is a Charity set up to improve the state of navigation in our waters and to provide support and training for mariners. The venue’s history goes back to 1794-96 when the original house was built by Samuel Wyatt, Surveyor to the Corporation but gutted in 1940 during World War II when an incendiary bomb destroyed all of the original building except the Trinity Square façade. By using photographs of the rooms, taken by Country Life magazine, Professor (later Sir) Albert E Richardson was able to reconstruct The House to almost its original form and it was re-opened after the War in 1953.

The building is Grade I listed and is refurbished on an annual basis with half a million pounds spend over the last year (August 15 – August 16) on new carpeting and redecoration, improved air-conditioning and working fire places.


The tour began in the Entrance Hall showcasing the different pieces from the nautical industry, including different vessels, acetylene-regulating clock and a “catoptric” lamp reflector, covering periods from 1610 to 1763. We continued the tour to hear about the Lower Passage and Stairs, where on each side of the staircase stands a statue of a benefactor of the corporation – Captain Robert Sandes and Richard Maples – and in front of the statues two globes, the terrestrial to the right, and celestial to the left, dating back to 1824, created by John Cary. The beautiful twin-curved staircase leads us to The Quarterdeck, which showcases a fine collection of paintings from the 18th century and the Bell from The Royal Yacht Britannia which was given to The House when The Royal Yacht was decommissioned.



The first room we viewed was The Courtroom, the second largest which can accommodate up to 130 delegates for a standing reception and smallest groups of 30 delegates boardroom style. It’s a very impressive room with high ceilings and a selection of full length portraits of royals on the walls so it gives it the character of a drawing room in a great country house.



The Library, where the ANTOR exhibition took place, is the largest and can accommodate up to 180 delegates for a standing reception, 130 delegates seated and smallest group of 46 delegates boardroom style. Even though called The Library, the precious collection of rare books is safely protected behind the room’s panelled doors. The direct view over Tower of London makes it the most attractive choice for corporate meetings or wedding receptions.

Previously, I attended another event organised by the Event Marketing Association which took place in this room. The furniture was supplied by Great Hire, we had sofas and tables and we were about 30 participants, all set very comfortably for the presentation. The Courtroom was used for drinks reception.


We continued our tour to view The Luncheon Room which can accommodate up to 40 delegates for a standing reception and smaller groups up to 18 delegates in boardroom style. The smallest room, The Reading Room, is perfect for intimate gatherings or meetings and can accommodate up to 20 delegates for a standing reception and 10 delegates in round tables setting. All rooms are located on the Quarterdeck which runs virtually the length of the House and this makes it very convenient for organisers who maybe want to use one of the smaller rooms as their office or for short speaker briefings or ‘break-out’ rooms.



It was beneficial to attend two different events in Trinity House and experience the venue in various settings. The venue does not offer in-house catering but has 12 approved catering suppliers. Other suppliers include florists, entertainment, photography, insurance, audio visual services and hotel partners. Because the venue has a great variety of suppliers it gives the organiser great flexibility in terms of price and quality they want for their event.

The House has very rich history, and therefore I would highly recommend offering guided tours such as the one we had with a guide from City of London Guides to unlock its story.

This post is sponsored by Trinity House. You can contact Trinity House in the following ways:


Twitter: @TrinityEvents

Contact person: Edgar King – Events Manager

Phone: +44 (0) 20 74816931


Reading Room
The Staircase and Entrance Hall

ANTOR Reception

The Quarterdeck

Trinity House façade

Photos by Sandeep Rai

#Event18 birthday celebration in pictures

Event Magazine, leading UK Publication for experiential and live events, celebrated its 18th birthday on 4th June at Borough Market and I had the opportunity to join the celebration together with over 200 event professionals. It was great seeing many colleagues and celebrating with Event Magazine and the industry this milestone.

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Catering on the night was provided by Harbour & Jones, offering three station – cheese and charcuterie stall as well as Mexican and Korean. 

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Cake was delivered by Daisy Brydon Creations

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Event editor-in-chief Yasmin Arrigo welcome speech, highlighting some of Event’s milestones

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With Deborah and Emma from London & Partners

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With Amy from Harbour & Jones

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Kevin Jackson from George P Johnson interviewed by Event TV

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Original signage on the night

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March special feature: venue of the day

Thanks for joining me this March for the “venue of the day” feature. After visiting so many venues over last two years, I have realised that I still have so much to share with you, be it a story or a picture that didn’t go on the blog. So, sharing with you these venues on Instagram and Facebook seemed as the right way to go to complete this gap. All the venues you have seen I visited on different occasions and while some are very luxurious and exclusive, such as The Shard, others are very casual for community events, such as Timberyard Old Street.

All 31 venues are listed below. I really hope you have enjoyed this feature, as much as I did, and I will be back soon with more surprises (and venues, of course). If you liked this and would like to see more of it, or have any suggestion, please let me know by commenting below. I am constantly aiming to make this blog the best source of information and inspiration for you, enjoy!

1 – Old Billingsgate

Kicking off “venue of the day” feature when every day I’ll share with you venues for small and big events or even just for an after work get together. I want to start with the Old Billingsgate – a venue I’ve been to several times for the Square Meal – Venues & Events show, an exhibition for event planners and suppliers. I love this venue because it’s very central with stunning views over London Bridge and the Shard and reminds visitors of the historic London. Did you know that it used to be world’s famous fish market before it was transformed into event space? In 1982 the fish market was relocated to Canary Wharf.

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2 – Regent’s University London

Have you ever considered an academic venue for your event? If not – think again. Back in January I attended the International Partners’ Conference at Regent’s University London and it exceeded all my expectation. Modern facilities, five event spaces & large number of classrooms with fully equipped AV, multiple catering facilities on site, very central location and extended list of preferred suppliers! That’s where I studies International Events Management so high standards and know-how guaranteed, too.

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3 – ExCeL London

This conference centre is one of my favourites and I usually visit it during the World Travel Market. It isn’t central, but easily accessible from London city via tube/ Docklands Light Railway (DLR) and even cable car. It has stunning views over The O2 Arena and Canary Wharf. I like the venue because it’s easy to navigate between the exhibition halls and they have great seminar rooms upstairs and dedicated media centre. But what I like the most is the varied and value-for-money catering offer they have on-site.

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4 – The Scotch Whisky Experience

When in Edinburgh don’t miss out on including The Scotch Whisky Experience in your programme. After our tour (back in 2012) and whisky tasting class we had a very delicious lunch at their on-site restaurant. The venue is just next to the iconic Edinburgh Castle – so you can do both in one go!

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5 – Public events

Shout out to all public events in London! National celebrations, public viewings, sports and community events, there is always something for everyone. With a small picnic and good company of friends every event rocks! My favourite event is BNY Mellon Boat Races, which takes place this year on the 11th of April. It’s recommended to arrive about 4 – 5 before the race and enjoy the cheerful atmosphere!

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6 – The Shard

The Shard has officially announced its opening for corporate and private event hire last week! The space is located on the upper levels 69 and 72 from where you’ll have the most stunning views over London. But the experience begins already when you enter the venue. You’re exposed to animated maps, screens and graphics storytelling the historic context of The Shard and its surrounding before taking the lift to level 33. Then at the “Transfer zone” you’re led through an all-enveloping graffiti word map of London. If you have some minutes to spare before the transfer you can test your London knowledge as you go through. 

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7 – 8 Northumberland Avenue

8 Northumberland Avenue is the first to offer 3D Holographic Technology on-site in London. It creates very unique experience and I had the chance to see it back in 2013 during a site-visit. To experience it you don’t even need 3D glasses and can capture the images with your camera. Perfect for product launches, presentations, pitches and even concerts.

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8 – Tobacco Dock

I visited Tobacco Dock only once for the FEAST food festival last year and absolutely loved it! Dating to the early 19th century and built in the propose to serve as a warehouse for the receipt and storage of goods, it was re-launched in 2012 as an event space. I particularly liked the fact that over two floors you can run different event functions (dining, music, entertainment) and the outdoor space which is excellent for sunny days. The ship statue by the entrance reminds of the venue’s history. Great for large scale events.

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9 – Manchester Metropolitan University

In recent years academic venues become more and more popular for events. Not only they offer competitive rates but they have fully equipped conference facilities and established relations with catering, AV and other suppliers. Last year I had the chance to visit the Benzie Building at Manchester School of Art in Manchester (Manchester Metropolitan University Conference and Events) and it’s a real gem. It almost felt like being in a museum rather than a university! One of the things that caught my attention was the concrete wallpaper pillars in the main event hall and the pattern on them – I’m sure that this and other pieces of art created by students will impress you, too.

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10 – L’Abbaye de Fontevraud

If you read my blog on a regular basis you know that I like to feature unique venues. I’m happy to see that more and more venues recognise the benefits of offering their space for events and reach out to larger audience. This time I want to present L’Abbaye de Fontevraud near Angers, France. What used to be a cloister is now transferred to be a destination, Cité Idéale (ideal city). At first, when we’ve been told that it used to be a monastery, my first thought was that it’s the “retreat” type of venue. But that was the complete opposite. It’s a destination up to the highest standard you can imagine. It’s where you find heritage and technology, modern and ancient, past and future, tradition and innovation, simplicity and luxury. The design of this dining room where we had our group dinner gives a gentle reminder of the monastic atmosphere of the past. Can’t recommend enough!

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11 – The Banking Hall

The Banking Hall in the heart of London’s financial district is truly charming venue which I discovered last year when I visited the London Christmas Party Show. Hope to host my own Christmas party there one day!

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12 – Hilton, Munich Airport

This venue is from my very first blog article in 2011 – Kempinski Hotel Airport Munich – which I visited for the first ever Kempinski Career Day and wrote the article about the event and hotels facilities. Recently I’ve found out that since January 2015 it officially belongs to the Hilton group. The real palm trees in hotel’s Atrium are the highlight of this venue!

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13 – Ace Hotel London Shoreditch

Looking for a venue with a view? Ace Hotel London Shoreditch is a chic and modern boutique hotel with this stunning view perfect for a summer BBQ (visited the venue back in September). Not long to go until we can enjoy drinks on the terrace, spring is in the air!

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14 – Château de Crémat

This venue is for all fashion enthusiasts. Did you know that Château de Crémat in Nice, France, is the birthplace of the worldwide famous Chanel logo? Legend says that Coco Chanel was good friend of the owner and attended many parties at the castle. Their CC logo inspired her to use it for her new perfume, which later on she registered as a trademark and the rest is history.

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15 – Den Blå Planet

Truly amazing venue I visited during the MIND event last December. It’s an absolutely unique experience having dinner among hundreds of these beautiful and fascinating species and at the same time relaxing and educating.

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16 –  Google Campus

The old good Google Campus is the favourite venue for all #eventtech community events. Was honoured to be part of the panel on two occasions and share my blogging experience with event planners.

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17 – Crowne Plaza Copenhagen Towers

The team at Crowne Plaza Copenhagen Towers has lots of creativity! Instead of the standard site-visit during MIND event last December, they set up three rooms in different themes. This one is a room of a business traveller, another had a romantic set-up, and last one had a Fifty Shades of Grey theme (which I’ve published last month ;)) No way you forget this site-visit, such a great idea!

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18 – The Cavern Club

The Cavern Club in Liverpool is where the Beatles were playing every night before they got discovered and received international exposure. On my last trip to Liverpool in 2011 we had a fun team building activity singing and playing on the same stage as the Beatles. We had a fantastic lead band which supported the activity and we even discovered hidden talent among the team.

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19 – Level39

Level39 is another venue, besides google campus, famous for start-up events in London. Nothing beats this spectacular view. Just WOW.

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20 – Zelo’s

Zelo’s in Monaco is a chic and modern restaurant and events space which is located just above the congress centre Grimaldi Forum. It’s a favourite party location on weekends but can be also privatised for events. And the view is truly amazing, too!

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21 –  Zefi

Weekend’s pick is Zefi in west London where I was for friend’s bday. Casual, great atmosphere and company (sorry for the bad image quality!) 

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22 – Four Seasons Canary Wharf

The Four Seasons Canary Wharf is one of three in the UK, other two are London Park Lane and Hampshire. I had the pleasure visiting the venue on two occasions and network with other event planners and meet some of their partners. Be it a corporate event or personal celebration, Four Seasons offers modern luxury for today’s savvy customers.

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23 – Nice Observatory

By now some of you might have seen this venue in the latest movie by Woody Allen, Magic in the Moonlight. I’m not sure what makes this venue more unique, the fact that it was in Woody Allen’s film or that it’s an observatory, but the venue is a real gem. It’s located high up on the summit of Mont Gros from where you have a magnificent view over Nice, France!

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24 – Société des Bains de Mer de Monaco (SBM)

The Société des Bains de Mer de Monaco (SBM) is a major player in the Monaco tourism, culture and entertainment industries and is a ‘one stop shop’ for MICE in Monaco including ,among others, a Beach Club, 23 tennis courts, 18-hole golf course overlooking the sea, 5 casinos and 2 night-clubs. The SBM group has so much to offer, would be impossible to visit all of the venues in five days I spent there last summer, but good reason to come back!

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25 – Château de la Perrière

In Angers they save the best for last. After three intensive days of site-visits and exhibition we had a surprise event at Château de la Perrière and all got dressed up! Instead of a formal dinner (as you would expect in a castle ;)) it was a rich buffet of cold and warm appetizers and desserts, sushi station and open bar. Shortly after everyone arrived the DJ opened the dance floor and we just enjoyed ourselves, great way to finish corporate event!

P.S. – This picture was taken by a drone to capture the castle in the background. Lately we talk about this event tech and this is a perfect example how to use it at events. Photo credit to Helidrone Ouest.

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26 – ArcelorMittal Orbit

Some people love its design while others don’t understand it. I visited it back in 2012 during the London Olympics and indeed it has beautiful views over the Park and London. As event planners we always look for interesting and unique venues and The Orbit perfectly falls into this category. It was created by Sir Anish Kapoor and Cecil Balmond as an entry to a 2009 competition to design an iconic tower for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games and when accepted it cost £22.3 million to build! During the day it’s open to the public and afterwards operates as an event venue.

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27 – Château Soucherie

There’s no trip to France without some good wine tasting, right? Today “travelling” back to Angers and presenting another unique venue, the vineyard Château Soucherie. During the two hours we were there we tasted only two wines and the rest discussed flavours, regions, did blind tasting accompanied with good food. To conclude our activity we opened a bottle of Prosecco with a knife, a common French tradition called Sabrage and usually used for celebrations. That was such a perfect day, with blue sky and good wine, couldn’t ask for more.

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28 – Timberyard Old Street

Not only Timberyard Old Street is one of my favourite coffee places in London, downstairs they have space that can be privatised for events (that’s how I discovered it). Perfect location for small community events and excellent coffee guaranteed!

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29 – Sunborn Yacht Hotel

One of the latest venue openings in London is the luxurious Sunborn Yacht hotel which I visited during World Travel Market last November for Rio CVB event. Ideal location if you want to combine your event with major events at the ExCeL so it’s just a walking distance for your attendees.

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30 – The Dartmouth House

The Dartmouth House in the heart London’s Mayfair is a luxurious and historic venue for corporate events and private celebrations. If you want a truly authentic British experience that’s the right venue for your event!

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31 – One Horse Guards

One Horse Guards, part of One Events collection is a lovely and central venue, overlooking London Eye and just walking distance from Big Ben. With this venue I’m wrapping up this venue of the day March feature, hope you’ve enjoyed it and I’ll be back soon with more surprises (and venues, of course).

If you liked this and would like to see more of it, or have any suggestion, feel free to let me know. Thank you for your ongoing support and I’m constantly aiming to make this blog the best source of information and inspiration for you.

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Which one is your favourite?

Events in high definition

What never stops astonishing me in this vibrant and dynamic city is that everything is possible. People come to London from all over the world, exchange ideas, create business opportunities and creative ideas become reality – such as making one of the most popular tourist attractions available for private hire.

The View from the Shard was officially opened to the public on 1st February 2013 and last week it officially announced its opening as an event space available for corporate and private hire and hosted an official launch party to give the guests a taste what it is like to host events 800ft above London. For those of you who are less familiar with London, it is the latest landmark on London’s skyline and offers the best views over the city. It is also the tallest building not only in London but in Europe. The Shard accommodates offices, restaurants, bars, the luxurious Shangri-La hotel, residences, retail and The View from The Shard visitor attraction. The latest, spreading over level 69 and 72 is the highest you can get in the building of 87 levels in total.

The entrance is just next to London Bridge tube station and what is during daytime a top visitor attraction was now “privatised” for us. After an airport like security check-in I am in the venue, exposed to animated maps, screes and graphics storytelling the historic context of The Shard and its surrounding. Then I enter the lift which takes me first to level 33.

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I change here, at the “Transfer zone” and led through an all-enveloping graffiti word map of London. If you have some minutes to spare before the transfer you can test your London knowledge as you go through! I later-on discover that the lift travels at six metres-per-second and makes the total lift journey time from Level 1 to level 68 only about 60 seconds.

When I finally arrive to the 69th floor it is already buzzing with excitement, The Diamond Boys band playing and entertaining the guests and the lovely catering team from The London Kitchen offering selection of drinks and canapés. I can’t resist my excitement and go directly to get a closer glimpse of the stunning view. On this level you get a 360 degree views for up to 40 miles (64km) over the major London landmarks such as the The Gherkin in the north, Tower of London and Tower Bridge in the east, Battersea Power Station in the south and The London Eye in the west, to mention a few. After this I go up to level 72, which is an open air viewing platform where I can hear city’s vibe below and have even more breath-taking views.

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The evening follows by a talk from Duncan Welsh, events sales manager at The View from The Shard who reveals that this summer starting from June the venue will be transformed into a pop-up garden and will team up with department store Fortnum & Mason to offer picnic packages to customers. So far the venue offers Yoga classes on Saturday mornings and Silent Disco in the evenings.

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The venue can accommodate up to 400 guests in summer and 300 in winter, depending on the setting of course. Because it is open to the public during the day, breakfast functions can take place until 9.30am and evening from 7pm.

That was an absolutely amazing and memorable experience and I can’t wait to be back and hopefully one day to host my own event there!