Attending events have never been so deep-rooted in our professional and personal lives. In a world where events are constantly being thrown at us, it has become increasingly important and equally trending to pick unique and unusual venues in London with a lot of personality in order to stand out from the pace to create an out of the ordinary experience for guests.
In a tough market place such as the city of London, the increased popularity of unique and unusual venues both for professional and personal events have led to an influx in venues popping up to meet this demand. Despite the fact that hotels and conference centres may still hold the volume, more than often, it is this sector that holds the value.
Unique and unusual venues in London are a melting pot of ideas, concepts and designs that usually tick ‘outside of the box’ experiences, are different from the norm, don’t exist anywhere else or in the particular area, so you are unlikely to have sampled it before. It is letting creative ideas flow; does it have a view to die for or does it offer a money-can’t-buy experience? This sector is now growing in confidence and in stature within the events industry and it is now a ‘must have’ and an integral part of the events journey, so it is not surprising that one of the UK’s most popular venue searches is for unique and unusual venues in London.
London has an incredible variety of venues to offer, encompassing the British heritage, cultural mix and its hobbies. So, when it comes to choosing a unique and unusual venue in the capital, it can be somewhat difficult to see past the haze of venues on offer, so differentiating a venue as ‘unique’ and ‘unusual’ can be the key to a successful event.
So, what is it that gives unique and unusual venues in London their particular appeal? Participating venues in London that fall within this categorisation cover a broad spectrum, such as museums, theatres, ships, castles, visitor attractions, distilleries and many more. Whether you’re after a hidden gem or a one-of-a-kind concept space, an old bowling alley or a dis-used underground tube station, you’ll be surprised what you can find in London. The place is uniquely wonderful and can be unusual too.
What’s cooler than being cool?’ Let’s take the ICE BAR London as our first example. Where else in London would you be able to step into a permanent sub-zero world, made from tonnes of ice and designed into iconic ice sculptural displays? Absolutely everything is made out of ice, with teams of ice artists, designers and mixologists with their ice bar creations such as ‘God of thunder’ or ‘Bifrost bite’ served at -5°C. Guests are kitted up in thermal capes and warm gloves to keep toasty. This venue undergoes a yearly transformation to ensure the ice sculpture design is completely revamped for a fresh new appeal. There is no other place in London to deliver this perfect chill and it is often chosen for unique corporate parties or private dining in the city.
Image Credit: ICE BAR London
‘Experience the sights, smells and sounds of life at sea’. Another unique and unusual venue in London, is the Cutty Sark. A celebrated historic sailing ship, fastest of its time and an award-winning visitor attraction in Greenwich. This awe-inspiring ship suspended dramatically above the Dock, can be hired exclusively for events, offering an incomparable setting for dinners, product launches, drinks receptions and more. It is one of the world’s most famous and impressive ships of all time and the world’s sole surviving tea clipper. Originally built in 1869 to carry tea from China, it has since travelled every corner of the globe, visited every major world port and survived the high seas. The ship features exhibitions on the history of the ship and its captivating travels. In the summer, guests can breathe in the magnificent river views on its main deck, whilst watching the sunset over the London skyline. This stunning unique space is now a world heritage site and often used to wow guests.
Image Credit: Cutty Sark
‘If these walls could talk, they’d have a story to share!’ A unique and unusual venue in South East London for corporate events, press shows, private dinner parties, product launches or weddings, is the quirky, distressed Asylum. With a history stretching back to 1826, Asylum is a one-of-a-kind Grade II listed building that was bombed in WWII and lost its roof and floor, which were replaced in the 60’s. It has distressed interiors, largely in shell condition but with concrete floor, and the original stained-glass windows and memorial plaques linger. The Asylum’s Chapel is licensed for weddings and civil ceremonies so couples looking for a unique and unusual venue, this normally ticks the box. It’s a completely blank space so imaginations can run wild with this place.
‘Where spirits are high and drinks never run dry’. We all know you haven’t seen London unless you’ve stepped on a tube! For train enthusiasts, this unique and unusual venue is a dream come true and perfect for private and corporate events. Cahoots bar is Soho’s new underground home, once used as an air raid shelter during the war. It has now been transformed into one of London’s finest quirky cocktail bars, transporting guests back in time to post-war 1940s to an abandoned underground tube station backdrop, featuring vintage tube carriage paraphernalia, old tube maps detailing the walls, old-fashioned wooden escalators, mismatched furniture, staff dressed in vintage clothes, menus printed as old newspapers and the sound of the piano and singalongs in the background. The concept for this bar was inspired by actual events that occurred in post-war Britain; an air-raid shelter and a safe haven for Londoners and in order to keep morale high, there would be plenty of liquor and singalongs. Everything about this venue screams nostalgia.
Image Credit: Cahoots
‘It’s showtime folks!’ One of London’s oldest, coolest and most iconic venues is award-winning Troxy. This stylish and quirky cinema that has retained its Grade II-listed art deco features, was built on the demolished site of an old brewery in 1933 with a capacity of 3,520 making it the biggest cinema in the UK at that time. It is now renowned for hosting immersive cinema events, music concerts, film screenings, fashion shows, award ceremonies and even indoor sports events, amongst many others. Back when it was first opened, a night out at Troxy was a unique treat and things were done with a sense of style; guests expected glamour and glitz and staff wearing their best glad rags would spray perfume during film screenings to add to the sense of luxury. The first ever customer was presented with a gold watch on Troxy’s opening night. Nowadays, the venue still carries an air of historic glamour and sophistication. Its ornate art deco fittings, unusual booth seating and historic style, along with its impressive mezzanine give guests a snapshot of the 1930’s.
Image Credit: Troxy
‘If we could only turn back time’. Located in the heart of Covent Garden under glass roof and cast-iron pillars, London Transport Museum provides the perfect setting for unique and unusual events. Yes, you’re never far from a museum when in London including some of the finest in the world, but where else would you find under a stunning Grade II listed building, a unique collection of London’s transport history highlighting the powerful link between transport and the growth of modern London, culture and society for over 200 years, since the 1800? There are thousands of objects on display showcasing the story of London and its transport system including the first Metropolitan Line carriage, and an impressive collection of thousands of photos documenting the changing face of the city. These galleries are known to have been transformed into stunning spaces for events such as seminars, conferences, film screenings, with perfect fluidity between rooms. Guests are immersed into years of London’s transport history and various contraptions to clamber aboard.
Image Credit: London Transport Museum
‘Dining with a twist’. Famed for its concept ‘eating in pitch black’, Dans le Noir is a unique and unusual venue in London that can be hired for private and corporate events, typically for a company lunch or dinner experience, or a team building exercise. They say, 80% of the information we perceive goes through the sight, which trigger our emotions and influences our decisions. Blindfolded from the moment you arrive, this venue offers a unique way for constituting a real sensory experience, enhancing creativity and breaking hierarchy barriers. Served by many visually impaired people, the experience will make you focus on sharpening your senses, so you can discover a complete sensory journey and a unique and unusual way to socialise. For a profoundly sensory food adventure, this unique and unusual venue in Clerkenwell definitely falls under London’s mad and sprawling dining scene.
Image Credit: Dans Le Noir
The list is endless and we all have different ideas about what makes something ‘unique and unusual’. The very nature of these types of venues means they are predominantly historic or heritage, and more than often, providing a unique blank canvas event space for any creative celebration. London is a consortium of these types of venues, and finding and choosing them can lend an extra dimension and pull to a curiously unique event. Demand for unique and unusual venues in London is certainly on the rise and is likely to continue to grow, but more than often, only the most unique and unusual venues in London will make the cut.
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