Unusual Event Venue Ideas
Host an event with a BANG! A brand-new venue with a difference, Clays takes the wonderful world of competitive socialising to another level with its fully-digitised clay shooting experience using world-class technology, alongside tantalising dishes and drinks to tickle those taste buds. Whether you're a keen shot or you've never played before, we guarantee fun and games all round! We cater to Birthday parties, Stag and Hen parties, Corporate events, Weddings, Graduation parties and much more!
Bermondsey Social is a unique space set under a railway arch in South Bermondsey. An Ideal spot for private parties, club nights, corporate events, Christmas parties, Birthday parties and much more BSC boasts to have one of the best outdoor areas south of the river along with a state of the art light rig and amazing DnB sound system. We can accommodate up to 120-140 guests for events and have staging on site should you need it for a live band to play or to present an award. We also have a projector and screen. Our License is till 4am 7 days a week.
If you need a modern, well-equipped theatre space for a business conference, meeting, presentation or product promotion event, contact Hire Space to book the Weston Theatre today. If a breakout, exhibition or refreshment area is required, the theatre can be hired alongside The Clore Learning Centre.
For the most premier of occasion, opt for The Rooftop. Enjoy a delicious array of convivial small plates and carefully crafted cocktails complete with stunning views of the city skyline as the ultimate backdrop for your event. Opt for the premium al fresco dining of The Gallery. Alternatively relax at The Deck for a cocktail reception, our sun-drenched conservatory. Available for exclusive & non-exclusive parties.
EartH Theatre is a great alternative change to your typical conference or panel event space. It's 1930s art deco features can compliment your business / products launches and also be a great wow factor for your guests. We have hosted international brands, tech product launches, panel talks, AGMs and more. It has a large stage so your event can be as creative as possible to really engage with your guests or audience. Using the full venue you are able to take advantage of the multiple breakout spaces in a creative way.
Located in the celebrated heart of the UNESCO Maritime Greenwich World Heritage Site Cutty Sark is the ideal location for memorable corporate events and entertaining, offering the only event space under the hull of a ship in the world. With 4 distinct event spaces the ship can be used for any style of corporate hospitality. Ideal for seasonal parties, product launches, private dining, conferences with a WOW and press releases. This iconic British Institution offers commanding views over the mighty river Thames and an evening beneath her gleaming hull is truly one of a kind.
The V12 room accommodate a variety of events such as private dining, wedding receptions - seated and standing, corporate meetings, team building days incorporating our classic cars, training days and product launches. We can accommodate dining on round tables and long tables for up to 150 people. The room can fit in a dancefloor and DJ for more formal events. The room is filled with sculptures, art on the walls and a viewing gallery that shows off our classic cars. This gives the space that unique edge that makes your event different from the rest.
Looking for a quirky and unique venue then the Monster Bars are perfect! Built within the vaults of London Bridge these are really versatile event spaces. Their exposed brickwork, freaky decor and 2,000 years of history provide the perfect backdrop for your event. Perfect for product launches, networking events, drinks reception, movie nights, team building events, birthday parties and celebrations and many more. Scary screenings, spooky Halloween nights fancy dress parties all welcome too!
Wallacespace Clerkenwell Green is the latest addition to the Wallacespace conference venues. The Copper Room is a great space for a board meeting, a small seminar, a workshop, or a training session. The room accommodates ten to twenty people, and is bright, contemporary, and airy, with plenty of light pouring in an expansive, floor-to-ceiling window. The room is set up with full AV equipment that includes a large, portable plasma screen. Our friendly, helpful staff is trained in event planning and organisation, and is available to assist both in the planning and on the day of the meeting.
Village Underground is one of the last fully versatile event spaces in London. The scope to truly dress and add production to the venue event space is the reason why so many brands and clients love to use the space. We have hosted a wide range of product launches, networking events, birthday parties and celebrations. The music led venue is already set up for any AV/ PA requirement but is also adaptable to be able to change the configuration to meet most event requirements.
TOCA Social - the world's first interactive football and dining experience. Play, dine and score this summer by hosting a one-of-a-kind event. all under the iconic dome of London's O2 Arena. Build a game-winning package that fits your needs or let our legendary events team guild you through your journey. Just like all great moments, unforgettable events need iconic locations. We can cater up to 700, split over two floors. Our flexible spaces can adapt to provide a more intimate and private event. From birthdays to hen and stag dos, give your next event a spectacular home.
Harmsworth Room is packed full of history, with electric generators full of dials and switches! The room holds the atmosphere of a wartime bunker yet has all the comforts of a modern venue, making it the perfect space for an unusual drinks reception, christmas party, or a memorable intimate dinner!
The main event space in the National Maritime Museum is the 'Great Map'. Set at mezzanine level and spanned by a glass roof, this event space is flooded with natural daylight and is ideal for corporate receptions, award ceremonies and networking. Whether you're looking for a seated gala dinner or a more relaxed standing bowl food affair, this epic space can accommodate up to 580 seated or 1000 standing. With some of the museum's most treasured items on display within the event space, or the option for guests to explore our engaging galleries, this is one event your guests won't forget.
Disappear behind the wine shelf, revealing a secret entrance to The Living Room! Guests will descend the stairs to the hidden private dining room below, featuring eye-catching, tropical wall treatments Booking a seated dinner event within The Living Room, offers a truly unique event space in London. Meraki utilises smaller round tabletops and lush velvet seating in rich, jewel-tone colours, with a sharing style menu concept, enhancing the opportunity for guests to socialise during the meal. No more getting stuck with the same person all night!
Make our funfair your very own private playground by taking over the whole venue exclusively for up to 600 guests. Enjoy our expansive riverside terrace, 3 bars and all the space you need for your inner-child to run wild.
The Main Space at the Roundhouse, which is renowned for its stunning architecture, is an exclusive and unique venue ideal for large events such as awards ceremonies, gala dinners, red carpet events and tech conferences. This magnificent venue has a sound system, lighting rig and staging, which can be used if necessary. The Roundhouse has played host to many incredible events including; the Q Awards, Empire Awards, Save The Children Charity Dinner, BMW car launch and many more star studded events. What our clients think; ITV "Stunning - the perfect backdrop for hospitality"
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Your Guide to Hiring Unusual Event Venues in London
Why are unusual venues popular?
Hiring an unusual event venue comes with a whole host of benefits, so it’s not surprising that they’re so popular.
First and foremost, unusual venues are a great way to showcase your brand personality. Remember, your brand is something that resides in the mind of a consumer. It’s not something that you can see or touch like a product or a logo, but rather a psychological idea and feeling that your brand represents, as Kuba Wieczorek (co-founder & former CMO of eve sleep) outlined in his workshop 'A Holistic Approach to Marketing' for EventLAB 2021.
By hiring an unusual event venue, you leave yourself room to create a whole new experience for attendees that they’ve never encountered before, using your venue as a way to demonstrate your brand’s identity and values.
Unusual venues also have the added benefit of being memorable. If you assume that your attendees go to a number of events each year, then making yours stand out is no easy feat. By hiring an unusual venue, your event will be different from the outset, giving it the best possible chance of living on in your attendees’ minds long into the future.
Finally, unusual event venues are often spaces that your attendees wouldn’t regularly have access to in day-to-day life, or at least that they wouldn’t expect to have exclusive access to (consider museum venues, which your attendees may regularly attend with the crowds at the weekend but wouldn’t expect to sip champagne in after hours). This gives them an exclusive feel that comes with plenty of social media photo opportunities – helping you to spread the word of your event far beyond your attendees, and to create a real fear of missing out for those not present.
What kinds of unusual venues can I find in London?
As you’d expect from the UK’s capital, London is host to a huge range of unusual event venues. Here are some types that you can easily hire in London, along with an example or two of each.
Unusual party venues
London is a great place for a party and we can guarantee you’ll find no shortage of unusual party venues here. A couple of our favourites include the National Gallery (imagine wandering around here after hours!) and Hijingo (a futuristic nightlife utopia centred around immersive bingo!).
Unusual Christmas party venues
When it comes to the holiday season, you need a Christmas party venue that’s not only unusual but also full of festive cheer. There are plenty in London. However, none is more suitable than après ski-themed pop-up venue The Curling Club, where your team can have fun competing at a fast-paced version of curling right in the heart of the capital.
Unusual meeting rooms
Meetings can sometimes be boring, but your meeting venue doesn’t have to be, especially in London. We love the Harmsworth Room at the Churchill War Rooms for a meeting – this atmospheric wartime bunker takes the idea of crisis planning to a whole new level. Or if you’re after somewhere upbeat to bounce ideas around in, check out Bounce with its winning combination of ping pong tables and state-of-the-art meeting facilities.
Read our blog on quirky London meeting rooms to inspire creative thinking for more examples.
Unusual conference venues
There’s a whole host of possibilities if you’re looking for an unusual conference venue in London. Our top quirky conference venues include the Eventim Apollo – an old art deco cinema that’s played host to stars including David Bowie and Kate Bush – and ZSL London Zoo. We’re pretty sure the latter requires no introduction!
Unusual awards ceremony venues
If you’re after an unusual awards ceremony venue in London, you’ll be spoilt for choice. One fantastic option is to host your awards ceremony on a ship, in which case you’ll love Cutty Sark in the heart of the UNESCO Maritime Greenwich World Heritage Site (we’ve even written a blog about how it embraces the unusual!). Alternatively, we suggest checking out The Postal Museum’s quirky Mail Rail, which even features an immersive ride through the secret rail tunnels.
Unusual wedding venues
If you want your wedding to be memorable, choosing an unusual wedding venue in London is a great shout. There are lots of fantastic and unique wedding venues for hire, from the Galleries at the Museum of London (surrounded by over 45,000 years of history!) to the atmospheric Crypt on the Green (exposed brick, arches and mood lighting galore).
What kinds of events does an unusual venue work best for?
Any event can be hosted at an unusual venue. However, unusual venues tend to work particularly well for events that are centred around showcasing your brand personality. That’s because an unusual event space gives you more scope for individuality and allows you to make a statement about your brand’s style and values.
Event types that are particularly well-suited to unusual venues include brand activations, product launches and performance-based events such as fashion shows or art exhibitions.
When you’re considering whether an unusual event venue is a must for your event, ask yourself what your goals are. If your goal is to increase brand awareness or to access new markets then an unusual event venue is likely to be an important way to display your brand’s values (unless you want to send out the message that your brand isn’t too different from what’s already out there!).
On the other hand, if you have other goals in mind, such as to educate (for instance, through a meeting or conference), then an unusual event venue might not be your priority. Of course, that’s not to say it wouldn’t add to your event, and you might have secondary objectives that include brand awareness or accessing new markets. However, it’s less likely to be a non-negotiable.
What kinds of venues work well for unusual events?
There are all sorts of unusual event venues in London, and the best one for you will depend on your event and your audience.
That said, as the UK’s capital, London has lots of museums available to hire for events and these make fantastic unusual event venues. Firstly, there’s an exclusive feeling to being in a museum after hours. And secondly, being in a museum usually means being surrounded by objects and artifacts that you wouldn’t find anywhere else.
The Museum of London Docklands, National Maritime Museum and London Transport Museum are all wildly different museum venues that team fantastic facilities with an individuality perfect for an unusual event. Our blog about quirky London museums has even more examples for you.
Other venues that work well for unusual events are cinemas. There are loads of cinemas in London and many are available for hire on Hire Space. They all come with different styles, capacities and locations, from the rich creative hub of Rich Mix in the East End to the blockbuster feel of Cineworld Leicester Square.
That said, it’s important to always consider your audience and your event format when thinking about an appropriate venue for your unusual event. Let’s look at format first.
If you’re hosting a film screening, a cinema is unlikely to feel like an unusual venue. In fact, this is where you’d expect a screening to take place! On the other hand, if you’re hosting an event type that’s typically more formal and corporate, like a conference, a cinema would feel much more quirky and unusual (and with their big screens and well-thought-out auditoriums we believe cinemas make brilliant conference venues!).
Similarly, you’ll need to consider your audience. The Engine Rooms is one of our favourite unusual event venues as there’s nowhere else we can think of that requires guests to walk through a fancy car showroom to get to the event space! It’s likely to be an especially huge hit if you have car fanatics in attendance. However, if you’re hosting an event for cycling enthusiasts, a cycling-themed venue might be more appropriate (you can take the cars out to make a blank space and it’s lovely like this too, but then it loses some of that quirkiness we know you’re after!).
How much does it cost to hire an unusual venue in London?
On average, costs to hire an unusual venue in London start at around £1,000 for a venue that has a capacity of roughly 100 standing.
However, different venues will charge you in different ways. For instance, those that offer set packages will frequently charge you per attendee and will therefore be more expensive. The exact price you end up paying will vary based on a number of factors, such as:
The size and capacity of your event. Event venues with larger capacities will typically cost more.
The time and season of your event. Hiring a venue mid-week or in the daytime can often cost less than hiring it on a Friday or Saturday night. Similarly, peak times of year (such as around Christmas) can be more expensive.
Whether you choose dry or wet hire. Wet hire (also known as all-inclusive hire) will usually be more expensive than if you’re only paying the venue for the space itself (however you will have to source your own suppliers which could add up!).
Location. Even within London, the cost of hiring an unusual event venue can vary based on location. For example, a well-connected venue in the City of London will often be more expensive than a West London venue that’s not near a tube station.
What are the main considerations when looking for a unique venue in London?
Here are the main things to consider when you’re choosing a unique venue in London.
1. Wet hire or dry hire
Wet hire, also known as all-inclusive, is when a venue includes everything you need for your event in the venue hire. Exactly what is included will vary a little from venue to venue, but often you’ll benefit from catering, branding and AV, as well as an in-house event coordinator to deal with the logistics of the day for you.
In contrast, dry hire is when you only hire the physical space itself from your venue. That means you’ll be able to control every element of your event yourself, which is often great if you’re planning an unusual event as it allows you to make it completely bespoke. However, it does require a lot more organisation than wet hire so might not be for you if you’re pushed for time or working with limited resources.
While lots of venues (including ones that aren’t very unusual) operate via dry hire, you’re even more likely to come across this if you’re looking for an unusual event space. That’s because you may find yourself looking at venues that aren’t designed to be event venues, or that aren’t frequently used in this way. That said, you can find unusual event venues with in-house event coordinators and state-of-the-art facilities too. Read our guide on dry hire vs wet hire to learn more.
2. Hybrid events
Consider whether you’d like to make your event hybrid, in order to be able to cater for people who can’t access your event in-person. If you decide to cater for an online audience, you’ll need to make sure the unusual venue you hire is well set up to be able to host a hybrid event. Three primary things to look out for are:
A strong Internet connection. Without a reliable and strong internet connection, you simply won’t be able to broadcast your content to an online audience in real-time.
Technology. Hybrid events require technology and equipment. You’ll either need a venue that has access to this equipment and ideally an in-house team to organise the virtual side of the production. Or you’ll need to ensure that the venue allows your technicians access to the event space in advance, and that it has a suitable loading area for them to bring their equipment safely into the venue.
Good lighting and acoustics. Your event space will need to have good lighting to give your remote attendees a professional experience. You’ll also have to make sure it has good acoustics so that your speakers can be heard clearly without competing with background noise.
Our step-by-step guide to choosing a hybrid event venue has more information.
Remember that you’ll need more than just an unusual event venue to give your attendees a unique experience. You’ll need to make sure that all the other aspects of your event match up, which means choosing your suppliers carefully.
If you’re going for an unusual venue and you’re sourcing your own suppliers, we’d recommend considering experiential suppliers that can add to the quirkiness of your event.
For example, check out Sixth Sense Events. One of our favourite suppliers to work with, Sixth Sense offers creative food and drink experiences, such as an ice cream factory attraction where guests can assemble their own ice creams and bespoke themed bars. Think plenty of smoke and theatricality!
Remember, one of the key benefits of an unusual venue is how memorable it is. So, it makes sense to work with memorable suppliers that can help you to ensure your event sticks in your attendees minds for all the right reasons!
If your unusual venue of choice isn’t typically used for events then it may be lacking in some facilities that a more traditional event venue would typically come with. Make sure to check for facilities such as:
- Professional kitchen
If the venue you’re considering comes without these elements that doesn’t mean you can’t host your event there. However, it does mean you’ll have to work harder to put all the necessary facilities in place for your attendees, which means you’ll be dealing with more unknowns.
It’s also important to consider the infrastructure surrounding your event venue, such as transport links. You’ll need to be sure that the area is set up to be able to accommodate the number of guests you’ll have arriving all in one go. If not, it’s important to put measures in place that will reduce the demand on the surrounding infrastructure, such as staggered start times. Of course, staggering start times might be a good idea in today’s climate anyway, in order to curtail the spread of Covid-19 – download our Safer Events white paper for more information on the steps you can take to make your event Covid-safe.
If you really want to make your mark, you might decide to hire a blank canvas venue for your unique event. Blank canvas venues give you even more opportunity to stamp your personality and identity on the event space, so it’s no surprise that many unusual venues are also blank canvas spaces. The quirky lofts of Lumiere Underwood is a great example.
However, if you’re hiring a blank canvas space, you’ll need to check that it has the facilities you need to truly make your event space bespoke in the way you want to. For instance, if your idea requires a big build, you’ll need to ensure that you can get into the space far enough in advance and that there’s room for loading and unloading.
What are the main challenges of using unusual venues for an event?
Unusual event venues mostly come with all the same considerations that traditional venues come with. However, there are a few things that you’re a bit more likely to encounter if you’re choosing an unusual venue that’s not purpose-built for events or frequently used in that capacity.
Facilities. If your event venue isn’t purpose-built for events, it may be lacking some facilities that would make it easier for you to host your event slickly and seamlessly. For instance, you might find that it doesn’t have a professional kitchen, toilets, a cloakroom or a licence to serve alcohol.
Availability. If your venue’s primary use isn’t as a corporate event space, it may have limited availability for hire. For instance, an active theatre may only be available for daytime hire or on Sundays if it’s currently showing a production. Similarly, a museum will only usually be available after-hours. This could also restrict the time you have to set up for your event beforehand.
In-house event planners. If you’re hiring a venue that’s not usually used as an event space, there often won’t be an in-house event planner to support you in your event’s delivery. Many more traditional venues will also come without an in-house event planner, but the chances are higher with an unusual venue.
Should I use an unusual event venue?
If you’re still umming and ahhing about whether an unusual event venue is right for you and your event, here are some questions to ask yourself.
What’s my main objective? If your event’s purpose is to boost brand awareness, launch a new product, generate leads or access new markets, an unusual event venue could help you reach your goals by showcasing your brand’s personality and values.
Who is my target audience? Consider your target audience and whether they would appreciate an unusual venue. While an unusual event venue would be much appreciate by some attendees, a more traditional corporate audience may prefer a more traditional venue to match.
What time and resources can I allocate? Many unusual event venues (especially those that aren’t commonly used to host events) will be hired out on a dry hire basis. Consider whether you have the time and resources to be able to source all your own equipment and suppliers.
How do I find an unusual venue to host an event?
Once you’ve made the decision to host your event in an unusual event venue, you just need to kick off your venue search. Here are the steps we’d recommend taking.
Compile all your important details. Gather together all the information about your event, from your target audience to your event type, date, budget and any extras you need. This information will be crucial in guiding your search as there’s no point in looking at venues that don’t meet these requirements.
Find the perfect location. Before scoping out venues, we’d recommend narrowing down your search area so you know where you’re looking. For example, instead of searching the whole of London, you could focus on finding an unusual venue in North London or East London. Make sure to consider things like where your audience is located and how easy it will be for them to get to you (are there good transport links? Parking?).
Start your search using Hire Space. Now you know what you’re looking for, it’s time to start your search! Hire Space can help you to browse venues that match your criteria exactly with our handy filters. Remember that the perfect event venue may be something completely different from what you had in mind, so stay open-minded – that’s the beauty about unusual event venues after all!
To learn more about how to find an event venue, head over to our venue finding guide. Or feel free to get in touch with our venue experts, who’ll be happy to help you find the ideal venue for your event.
Add an extra unusual touch with experiential suppliers
Finally, don’t forget that hosting a memorable event isn’t just about finding an unusual venue. Instead, it’s important to make sure that the other elements of your event align with the venue you’ve chosen, to create a cohesive experience that your attendees will remember for all the right reasons.
There’s a whole host of experiential suppliers that specialise in creating unusual and memorable event experiences for your guests. These cover all sorts of weird and wonderful activities, ranging from scavenger hunts to mix-your-own cocktail bars and experiential workshops.
That said, don’t forget about the little things as well. Everything from event technology to production and branding and furniture and theming can have an impact on how your event is perceived and remembered. So, we’d recommend complementing your unusual venue with suppliers that can offer services with a bit of a twist across every element of your event. That way, you can be absolutely sure that your event will be like nothing else anyone has experienced before!
About Unusual Event Venues
On the hunt for an unusual event venue for hire? Our Venue Expert team has trodden many a city pavement, tracking down a multitude of secret spaces to create the largest venue resource in town. People are increasingly looking for a venue with the 'wow-factor' and we understand the need to impress whether for corporate events and conferences or an exclusive party. London is full of amazing iconic buildings that are available for private hire, from historic palaces steeped in history, to sporting venues, arenas, galleries and museums...the list goes on.
We've chosen a few of the best from the huge selection from across the city to guide your search. If you like the look of one (or more), just enquire directly through Hire Space. If you need more guidance, our Venue Experts can help too, they'll take your brief and handpick venues that perfectly suit your requirements, with best prices negotiated, and all for free. Pulling off a unique, memorable event has never been easier, so get in touch to kick off your search today.
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