An iconic landmark, Southwark Cathedral is a beautiful fixture of the London landscape. With history dating back to the Romans, the Cathedral might not be an immediately obvious venue for modern-day businesses. But, Southwark Cathedral has a secret identity - it's a fantastic location for conferences!
Whether you're looking for a space with historical flair, or a blank canvas to make your own, the Cathedral has several spaces that will fit the bill. Here at Hire Space we're excited to tell you all of the reasons we love conferences at Southwark Cathedral.
A Prime London Location
One of Southwark Cathedral's most obvious draws is its prime location: it's only a stone's throw away from London Bridge! Anyone would find it hard to miss the Cathedral, as it's easy to get to regardless of where you're travelling from.
Your conference guests will most likely be travelling to London Bridge Station, which can be reached by over ground from nearly anywhere in the country! For guests already in the city, or staying in accommodation, London Bridge's tube station is just next door. If anyone gets lost, just point them to The Shard! They'll find both stations right next to the tallest skyscraper in London.
As the Cathedral is on the bank of the Thames, it benefits from being practically on top of the actual London Bridge. The bridge connects directly to the heart of the City, so guests arriving from Central won't need to travel far. As Southwark Cathedral boasts both London Bridge and Borough High Street in its immediate vicinity, there is a constant stream of buses going through the area all hours of the day.
Afterwards, maybe your guests can grab a bite to eat in Borough Market? Or sip a luxurious post-conference drink on the fashionable South Bank?
Steeped in History
If you ever find yourself asking "what did the Romans ever do for us?" Southwark Cathedral can answer that question. You can thank Southwark Cathedral's convenient locale on it's over two-thousand year old origin as a religious site.
Did you know that the Cathedral's dramatic history includes the Normans? Or that it was once burned down in a fire? The Cathedral's beloved architecture came about as it was rebuilt post-fire, which transformed it into London's oldest Gothic masterpiece.
The location's rich history makes it a great talking point for your conference attendees. We heartily recommend leaning into the Cathedral's historic side, and two rooms in particular come to mind. Your conference attendees will love the true Gothic vibes of The Library: boasting stylish Gothic-inspired arches which harness the Cathedral's charm, it's the perfect space to make your conference one for the history books.
But if you're looking for a slightly smaller space with the same vibe, you'll want to try the JTW Room for size. Also featuring the rustic charm of the Cathedral's Gothic beams, this room is flooded with natural light, and has a river-side view that'll make even the hardiest Londoner swoon.
Technology at the forefront
This 1400 year old building has completely embraced modern necessities. Whilst holding your conference in The Library or the JTW Room is a great way to revel in the Cathedral's legendary history, you won't be sacrificing on cutting-edge technology. In these rooms, you will have full access to an integral PA system, Wi-Fi, and top-tier AV equipment.
If blank canvasses are more your thing, you'll love the Susannah Barford Room. This flexible and multi-purpose space is ideal for making your own, as its fresh style won't detract from your conference's personality and branding. In the Susannah Barford Room, your conference will also reap all of the benefits of the Cathedral's comprehensive AV package.
Not only will all of this tech help your conference to run smoothly, it will also make it completely hybrid-ready. As post-pandemic events continue to rely heavily on hybrid, your guests will thank you for providing a virtual option. Southwark Cathedral's brilliant tech abilities will make your conference completely compatible with hybrid event platforms like Arena.
Practicalities you can't ignore
Whilst Southwark Cathedral's tech has your conference's AV and virtual sides sorted, several other practicalities are also noteworthy. It can be difficult to find accessible venues for all of your guests, especially if you want to host in a historical building. Thankfully, Southwark Cathedral has mastered the art of modernisation whilst maintaining its historic features.
Accessibility is often skipped over when choosing a venue. But, for some of your guests, your conference's accessibility will be a make-or-break reason for their attendance. All of Southwark Cathedral's meeting rooms are accessible, but it's worth noting the locations of The Library and The JTW Room. These rooms are located on the first floor, which results in easier accessibility for all of your guests.
Of course, we need to factor in one of the best parts of a good conference - the food! Southwark Cathedral has catering sorted, due to its on-site professional kitchen. They even have a partner caterer, LEAFI, who are able to cater for all of your guests. So, if you have conference attendees with halal or kosher requirements, LEAFI have your back.
Hosting at Southwark Cathedral is truly the best of both worlds: you'll get the Cathedral's Gothic-inspired charm, and the ease of accessibility and catering.
Plenty of space
When it comes to planning conferences, having enough room for your in-person guests is absolutely crucial. With social distancing measures now commonplace, space is a hot commodity. Southwark Cathedral (by virtue of being a Cathedral) is built to host a lot of people. Thankfully, this also goes for its conference spaces!
If you're picking a larger space, you'll want to look at The Library. At full capacity, this space can host up to 80 in-person guests with no issues. This includes a variety of different layouts; whether you're aiming for a theatre style or boardroom, this Gothic room will be perfect.
The Cathedral's blank canvas space, the Susannah Barford Room, also offers a flexible layout. In a theatre style, you'll reach the room's capacity at 45. This room is ultra flexible, so you'll also make use of its generous capacity in a boardroom or cabaret layout.
The Cathedral has options for all capacities. So whilst The Library and the Susannah Barford Room are excellent examples of the larger spaces, check out the JTW and Queen Elizabeth Rooms if you're looking for something smaller!
There you have it: Hire Space's reasons why Southwark Cathedral is an excellent location for fantastic conferences. Whether you're going hybrid or taking a fully in-person approach, the Cathedral is an unusual and perfect pick. If you would like to find out more about hosting conferences at Southwark Cathedral, get in touch with one of our venue experts.
From gala dinners to virtual conferences, Catie uses her experience in the hospitality sector and love for writing to highlight the world’s most outstanding venues and virtual events.