Ok, ok, the weather might just be hotting up, but in the world of events, seasons have no bearing on schedules! Summer parties are planned when sunshine seems like a distant dream, and Christmas events? Well, let's just say that if you leave it too late, you'll be on the receiving end of a lump of coal from your guests come festive season!
London's best Christmas venues get snapped up early on, and it's often all too clear when an event's been planned last-minute. So, to help make sure the most important party of the year goes smoothly, we've put together a selection of the top locations for festive events and a couple of tips to make sure your event is as fa-la-la-labulous as it can be!
After some venue inspiration?
Here are some of our top picks for this year's festivities, from grand, impressive ballrooms, to quirky, one-of-a-kind spots which are sure to spark the Christmas spirit in any team.
The Vaults, RSA House
If you're anything like us, by the time Christmas rolls around your team will be dying for a dance, and there's nowhere better to cut some shapes than in the atmospheric vaults of RSA House. Conveniently located on the Strand, less than a five minute walk from Charing Cross, this historic venue has scooped up awards left, right, and centre, including for its on-site catering options - ideal for after you've worked up an appetite on the dancefloor!
Location: Charing Cross
Capacity: 220 standing
The Barbican Centre
Christmas parties at The Barbican are enchanting affairs. With a conservatory that brings a tropical environment to events at any time of year, as well as a theatre, cinema, and high-up conservatory terrace for smaller parties, this is a truly spectacular festive venue which is guaranteed to bowl your guests over (and that's before they sample the food provided by in-house caterers, Searcys!). Wherever the celebrations take you, this central London sanctuary is sure to banish the winter blues, and with space for dining and dancing under a glass roof, it's sure to be a night to remember.
Capacity: 200 reception
8 Northumberland Avenue
Be right in the centre of things (literally: at just a stone's throw from Trafalgar Square this is as central as venues get!) at 8 Northumberland Avenue, a venue that combines state-of-the-art technology with classic Victorian architecture to make any party a timeless triumph. The team have earned a reputation for serving up a great atmosphere, and the unique space is sure to impress colleagues and clients alike.
Location: Trafalgar Square
Capacity: 500 dining, 700 reception (Ballroom)
If you're after something out of the ordinary, which no one's likely to forget in a hurry, Hijingo is the answer you've been waiting for. Revolving around hi-tech bingo with a side of delicious cocktails, this stylish, futuristic hang-out is kitted out with LED walls, sociable table layouts, and a hefty dose of robot-managed fun, making it the perfect setting for a team reunion (with some healthy competition thrown in). Ideal for companies looking for a fun festive night out, with great food and drinks, curated playlists, and booths for socialising away from the dart boards, this is is the ultimate playground for adults!
Abbey Road Studios
Abbey Road Studios' star-studded history means this venue hardly needs any introduction - we guarantee it'll get guests excited before they even step through the doors! But this iconic spot isn't just on our list for its tinsel-town credentials; it's the real deal for a cracking Christmas party too. A blank canvas space that can be dressed to the nines for any style of event, it's a huge, versatile, and stunning venue in its own right (though of course, it doesn't hurt that guests can boogie the night away to the Beatles right where the songs were recorded). For a festive do that'll go down in company legend, it certainly won't let you down!
Location: St John's Wood
Capacity: 225 dinner dance; 335 reception
Searcys at The Gherkin
For an event that's head and shoulders (plus almost 180 metres) above the rest, check out Searcy's event space at the top of the Gherkin. Offering one of the most incredible and exclusive panoramic views in the city, dinner in this sought-after venue is an experience to savour. Opt for sky-high dining for up to 140 people, or open the doors to 260 to enjoy drinks with a view. We're such fans of this venue we hosted our clients here for Christmas in 2018. Just make sure your guests all have a head for heights!
Location: City of London
Capacity: 140 dining, 260 standing
For a party that really gets off to a swinging start, look no further than Bounce, a spacious and stylish venue dedicated to the art - and sport - of ping-pong. With an aesthetic somewhere between art gallery and state-of-the-arts sports hall, the venue can host up to 550 with plenty of room left over to swing a bat at any of its 17 ping-pong tables. With a professional kitchen and gin palace bar, this is a venue for the young at heart, and a sure way to score some points with guests (literally, as well as figuratively) this festive season.
Location: Holborn (also at Old Street)
De Vere Grand Connaught Rooms
The epitome of luxury, the Grand Hall and Balmoral Suite at the De Vere Grand Connaught Rooms together provide one of the most breath-taking settings in London for a Christmas party. With arching art-deco ceilings and lavish chandeliers, this beautiful venue transforms into a winter wonderland over the festive season. A magical backdrop for a black-tie event, the grandeur of this venue provides a welcome excuse to bring your glad rags out of retirement!
Location: Covent Garden
Capacity: 1000 buffet, 1200 reception
With a colossal maximum capacity of 5000, Evolution London provides an incredibly versatile venue for a large-scale event from its privileged position at the heart of Battersea Park. Its blank canvas design allows the venue to be customised entirely, and it can host theatre and cabaret performances alongside a reception. At 5,500m2, this venue is ideal for bringing together teams from across the country to celebrate the end of the year, and being back together, in seriously show-stopping style.
Capacity: 2000 dinner dance, 5000 standing
Top tips for planning your event
1. Don't forget the trimmings!
Having a stunning venue is all well and good, but if you haven't decked it out or brought in any entertainment, it won't be much of a party! Always find out from the venue whether they provide decorations and entertainers themselves (and whether this is included in the fee), or whether you'll need to source these separately. We're talking music, photobooths, and cocktail mixologists mingling with your guests - after all, it's a night everyone's been looking forward to for the whole year!
If you're in the market for some inspiration, check out our trusted suppliers for ideas on all kinds of entertainment, catering, and more. With aerial artists, champagne pourers, and hilariously charming "complimentary drinks" on offer, you'll be spoilt for choice when it comes to adding some sparkle to your event!
2. Consider virtual options as a fallback
There are plenty of engaging alternatives to the traditional Christmas party, and 'virtual' doesn't have to conjure up images of stuffy Zoom calls. From Broadway Roulette performances and private audiences with comedians and celebrities, to intimate 'cook-along's and wreath-making socials, our curated selection of festive virtual experiences will ensure any team is catered for.
And if you're after something really show-stopping, our immersive virtual extravaganza, Big Top, has created a stir with its limitless potential to bring together unforgettable experiences. Big Top has even won features in Forbes, the BBC, and the Financial Times for its revolutionary virtual tech. So even if in-person isn't an option for you this year, with hundreds of customisable options to choose from, Christmas definitely won't be cancelled.
Hire Space Top Tip: If you're still planning to go ahead with an in-person party but you know some of your guests won't be able to attend, or don't feel comfortable in attending, you could also consider hybrid options for this year's festive bash. That way, everyone can still enjoy the team celebration and you'll be showing off your tech skills, too! Read our ultimate guide to hybrid events to get our expert advice.
3. Don't dismiss a shared party
If you've got a relatively small team but you want to go all out for your event, why not consider attending a shared party? These can be great fun, and with a reasonable price per head that includes all the entertainment, food, and drink you could ask for, it takes a lot of the pressure off your hands! Get in touch with us to find out which venues are offering shared parties this year and we'll give you some pointers on the best in the business!
Whether it's a small, intimate event you're planning, or something a bit more extravagant, these venues offer some of London's finest spaces, particularly when decked with boughs of holly for a festive celebration. Just don't miss out on making their nice list: get ahead of the curve and booking your perfect venue while there's still room at the inn!
If you need some help planning this year's Christmas party and other events you have up your sleeve, Hire Space 360 is a great solution which offers everything the modern event planner needs to create memorable events, in-person and online.
Jessamy channels her passion for sustainability and cultural events into shining a spotlight on innovation and inspiration in the events world, and heading up Hire Space's sustainability committee.