As new skyscrapers – a medley of steel and glass – shoot to the heavens at an ever-increasing rate, the grand halls residing at ground level prefer to dress in marble and oak.
The City’s prestigious livery halls are synonymous with opulence.
Indeed, as new skyscrapers – a medley of steel and glass – shoot to the heavens at an ever-increasing rate, the grand halls residing at ground level prefer to dress in marble and oak.
One would be forgiven for presuming the stunning chambers of the Square Mile’s livery companies – London’s ancient and now modern trade associations and guilds – were reserved for exhibitions, guided tours, and royal engagements.
But no, instead the halls, of which there are 40, are instead available for hire for both private and corporate functions.
Those at the City’s top table demand the very best, and these pillars of tradition are well equipped to turn dreams of a lavish evening – or day – into reality.
Most boast their own catering facilities too, streamlining the entire booking process to enable you to sit back, relax, and revel in a unique experience unmatched anywhere in the world.
Be it a wedding, fashion show, conference, fundraiser or more traditional black tie dinner, there isn’t an event these halls can’t
Check out this extensive list featuring some of our top recommendations:
A truly magnificent and accommodating location full of character, charm and rich history that will leave a lasting impression on guests, and it is no secret why.
Given that the Drapers’ Company was the original authority on cloths and textiles, it was inevitable that an eye for design and quality would be cast over the Hall.
While the Company is no longer involved in the textile trade, it has evolved, acquiring a new relevance through its philanthropic role as trustee of the charities that have been left in its care over the centuries.
Clerk Colonel Richard Winstanley OBE says: “Drapers today are immensely proud of their Hall which they are pleased to share with guests and clients, a tradition dating back to when they purchased the site from Henry VIII.
“Without exception, visitors express their surprise and delight at the size and beauty of the hall, neither of which are apparent from the street, and, of course, the treasures not only include works of art but the garden which is an area of beauty and calm in the heart of the City.”
The Drapers manage a thriving hospitality business in their Hall with their exquisite in-house catering and service provided by the experienced and dedicated team, ensuring that your event is perfect in every way.
Drapers’ Hall can seat 276 dining guests and comfortably cater for 700 guests for a standing reception when using all rooms, making it one of the biggest venues in the City for a luxury reception, conference, fashion shoot or wedding reception.
It even has the luxury of being able to fling open its doors, allowing guests to roam a quaint garden that too can be decked out
just in time for those fast-approaching summer soirees.
So, be it below ornate detailed finishes on the ceiling, or clear blue skies in the garden, Drapers’ Hall is a force to be reckoned with on more than one front when selecting the perfect venue for your next celebration.
Discover the spirit and modern rarity of one of London’s finest event venues, combining contemporary architecture with traditional materials to create a 21st-century venue of the highest quality.
Hired exclusively, the venue lends itself to all types of events including conferences, private dining and weddings for up to 200 guests; cocktail receptions, summer parties and Christmas parties for up to 450 guests.
The immaculate hand-cut lawn and water feature in the Courtyard set the tone on arrival with the adjoining Orangery offering
a light and airy space for registration and catering.
Between Foster Lane and Gresham Street there resides a hall that is described by the Goldsmiths as one of the Capital’s most lustrous hidden treasures.
Extravagance comes in spades at Goldsmiths’ Hall, and since the doors first swung open back in 1835 it has held the mantle of one of the City’s most opulent venues.
An interior lined with marble staircases, inviting fireplaces, and lashings of gold make for a grandiose setting, but what else could be expected of a hall created for an industry that exclusively works with precious metals?
But don’t let the Corinthian columns of scagliola and decorated moulded ceiling set in gold leaf fool you, the hall knows how to lay on a night to remember.
The Worshipful Company of Plaisterers prides itself on mirroring the City’s eclectic population of cultures, traditions, trends and tastes.
In that spirit, the grand hall it owns is specifically marketed as an ideal setting for Asian, Jewish and African weddings alongside lavish corporate events, Christmas soirees, and those much sought after once-in-a-lifetime bashes.
Keen to keep pace with the modern age, each room comes equipped with its own lighting and sound system, making it an attractive backdrop for conferences, fashion shows, photoshoots and exhibitions.
The hall stands as the biggest of its kind in the Square Mile, and can sit over 300 people for dinner.
Stationers’ Hall has a little bit of Hollywood about it.
Due to its proximity to St Paul’s Cathedral – the hall is based in Ave Maria Lane – the hall is often frequented by production companies seeking space for green screen shots, and rose to relative fame as the site for the promo shoot for a recent series of Britain’s Got Talent.
Completed in 1673, the suite of three impressive and interlinking rooms, combined with a large secluded garden, makes this hall well equipped for a wide range of events.
The Court Room is a wonderfully bright space, richly carpeted and, with Rococo ornamentation in gold adorning the walls, has an air of sumptuous extravagance.
Another draw is the hall’s resident caterers, CH&Co, who can whip up dining delights post haste; but keen to cater for all tastes, the hall also offers a long list of alternative caterers, making ordering flexible and personalised.
Despite all this, the garden retains the mantle of piece de resistance, and can comfortably hold 200 guests.
Commercial manager Kerry Pedrick says: “Our garden definitely has the ‘wow’ factor. We always try to guide guests through the hall during a viewing so that it is a surprise at the very end.
“When people are upstairs and looking down on the grounds you can see the amazement on their faces.
“The hall itself is very grand; the ceiling has just been redone, making it even lighter and brighter inside. But if you wanted me to pinpoint one thing we have that sets us apart it is the garden.
“Even when we are hosting winter events, guests will look out the window and say to themselves that they should have a summer party here.
“Once the bunting is up and the BBQ is out the summer party atmosphere is quite impressive.”
The hall is one of the largest of its kind in the City – seating up to 150 guests on round tables or up to 200 using long tables – and also boasts a Minstrels’ Gallery for up to 20 musicians.
And, rather uniquely, the Stationers are also responsible for the management of neighbouring St Martin within Ludgate Church.
This makes the hall a popular destination for wedding receptions, allowing the bride, groom and guests to seamlessly flow from the church to the hall’s stunning garden via a private interconnecting path.
The Armourers & Brasiers’ Company boasts a gleaming hall befitting of the wares this livery is famed for.
Recently refurbished, the hall has some of the most magnificent and elegant rooms available for hire in London, each one packed with historical interest, providing a perfect backdrop to staff party conversation.
The skill of the Armourers is plain to see upon arrival and a consistent theme throughout the Coleman Street venue; the striking interior featuring 16th and 17th-century weapons and paintings alongside full suits of armour that once belonged to medieval warriors.
But don’t get any bright ideas of drawing a long sword down from above the fireplace and skewering your boss because she didn’t give you that pay rise.
Saddlers’ Hall was built in a neo-classical style and impresses with bespoke period furniture, historical antiquities and paintings.
Taking centre stage is the Great Hall, which comes complete with exquisite stained-glass windows and a musicians’ gallery; a sumptuous venue for everything from conferences to weddings, large drinks receptions, and delicious banquets.
An added perk is the multitude of breakout spaces, which provide extra conferencing facilities, while the secluded courtyard can be used for alfresco summer entertaining.
As one of the very oldest of the City of London livery companies – records of a Guild of Saddlers in the Capital date from 1160 AD – the livery has had plenty of time to refine its offering.
Even after rebuilding jobs undertaken because of the Great Fire of London and the Blitz, this 14th-century gem delivers on all fronts.
Guests to Brewers’ Hall can expect to experience “a magnificent sense of style and tradition”.
Situated in Aldermanbury Square, Brewers’ Hall bills itself as “one of the City’s most sought after venues”.
As one of the oldest liveries in the Square Mile’s roster, the hall draws on centuries of experience to offer a vibrant space that exudes sophistication and elegance with a contemporary feel that adapts perfectly for any event.
In addition to an organisers office (the Committee Room), the event space, air conditioned throughout, can accommodate 120 guests for receptions and up to 100 for theatre style meetings.
Secluded among Brutalist Barbican structures, entering Ironmongers’ Hall is akin to Alice stepping into Wonderland.
Indeed, behind its modest entrance lies a fairytale venue decked in hanging chandeliers and ornate decorations.
“Our hall is visited for its ‘wow’ factor – we are so well hidden in the Barbican that some of the locals don’t even know we are here,” explains sales and events manager Léa Giligny.
“We have quite a small entrance, so when people enter they are stunned by the size of the space that opens up to them.
“They then go upstairs to our huge hall with chandeliers and are amazed at how silent it is; we are so well protected by the Barbican that no noise gets in.
“It’s a historical venue full of surprises that people remember.”
But it is not just tradition and splendour that has turned this venue into a desired destination for party planners, Ironmongers’ Hall also prides itself on its functionality.
“When people book with us they are offered exclusive use of the floor, which means privacy, and we are also fully equipped technology-wise, so we host lots of seminars, conferences, and plenty of talks on Brexit,” says Lea.
“All our chefs are based on site, which means everything is cooked here in the hall. People often comment that we are a living hall; we are open every day, Ironmongers work here, and you can feel that presence – it is what sets us apart from other halls.”
And it is that “living hall” element of their offering that Lea and her team are taking great care to foster, so much so that plans have been drawn up to make the hall even more attractive for more ‘casual’ visits.
Hall officials are rolling out their Monday Luncheon Club to selected corporate friends of the Ironmongers.
With pre-booking, any liveryman and guest are welcome to dine in the halls’ lustrous setting between 12.30pm and 2pm.
A two-course lunch costs £32.50 while a three-course lunch is priced at £36.50, inclusive of VAT. A carvery option is also available (pre-ordering required) for a supplement of £3.
Location, location, location; you won’t find a more central venue on this list.
Situated less than 100 yards from Bank station, the home of the Grocers’ Company boasts all modern conveniences and centuries of history within its walls.
In-house AV includes a PA system and speakers, hand-held microphone, portable lectern microphone, lectern, front projector with 5ft screen and staging… and that’s before we get on to bespoke packages tailored to individual needs.
Two stunning reception rooms – supported by three break out rooms for those particularly busy events – can cater for up to 240 guests at a time, and are delightfully described by its operators as “a private oasis at the heart of one of the busiest cities in the world.”
The Apothecaries – better known these days as members of the medical profession – run the Grocers close when it comes to location, with their HQ based just two minutes from Blackfriars station.
Guests “take a step back in time” when visiting a hall built in 1672, with many of its original features standing the test of time.
There are five event spaces which can be hired individually or as a package, and with such impressive surrounds, we’re confident guests won’t be pulling a sickie.
Mercers’ Hall is a lavish space adorned with relics of a different time – a labyrinth of antiquity to be marvelled.
Be it the glittering chandeliers, stained glass windows, expertly crafted busts, or period architecture, Mercers’ Hall is not short of conversation starters or backdrops for that perfect Polaroid.
Fishmongers’ Hall has an outstanding reputation, not just among its City neighbours, but much further afield for offering superb surroundings, delicious cuisine and first-rate service.
With an unrivalled riverside location, the hall is a Grade II*-listed building with a unique history, rich architectural heritage, and is home to a valuable and diverse collection of artefacts and paintings.
The focal point of the company’s charitable and fraternal activities, this elegant Greek Revival building dates from 1834 and was designed by architect Henry Roberts.
Offering unparalleled views over London Bridge and the Thames, the first floor rooms offer sumptuous surroundings for any events, with the crown jewel of Roberts’ singular architectural vision being the main Banqueting Hall.
Refurbished in 2018 and shortlisted in the ‘Highly Decorative’ category for the Painting Decorating Association Premier Trophy Awards 2019, this magnificent room can entertain 186 in a seated horseshoe, 220 in a top table with sprigs, and up to 350 for a reception.
This room can be used for all types of events, from fine dining to concerts and opera; from formal lectures and conferences to cocktail parties.
Despite its classical appearance, the hall is equipped with state-of-the-art AV to ensure that requirements can always be catered for, as well boasting personalised WiFi network capability.
The Court Drawing and Court Dining Rooms share the same level of historical splendour and offer commanding views of the Thames.
Despite large-scale restorative works to the ceilings and river frontage following damage sustained during The Blitz, these rooms drip with ambience when illuminated by candle light and offer the perfect setting for everything from pre-dinner drinks to a wide array of smaller functions.
The Fishmongers’ Company has an extensive art collection and the Court Drawing Room houses arguably the most famous portrait of Queen Elizabeth II, painted by Pietro Annigoni in 1954. The Court Room on the ground floor has a magnificent terrace overlooking the River Thames which is perfectly suited to receptions in fine weather.
Incorporated by Royal Charter in 1272 with the original purpose of overseeing the selling of fish in the City of London, the Fishmonger’s Company now strives to make a difference in today’s society, especially in the field of fish and fisheries and philanthropy and grants.
The current hall is located in the heart of the City and is easily accessible by a wide variety of transport links, with Monument, Cannon Street, London Bridge and Bank stations all within easy walking distance.
Merchant Taylors’ Hall
“Whatever the occasion, at Merchant Taylors’ Hall you can be sure it will be remembered with pleasure for years to come,” says the livery company.
A bold statement, but after 650 years on the same site – albeit with a rebuild following the Great Fire of 1666 and another after a blaze in 1940 – the Merchant Taylors have picked up a few tricks to keep the good times, and the bubbly, flowing.
The courtyard is a delight in fine weather, and as one of the Great Twelve Livery Companies, the Merchant Taylors are not short of jaw-dropping scenes inside either.
Even after the adversity of a double fire, the inside of 30 Threadneedle Street boasts 13m high ceilings, 3m tall windows, Chinese silk wallpaper, and stunning chandeliers.
With room for up to 280 diners, the only obstacle will be keeping your eyes on your plate and not the decor.
Sales and events co-ordinator, Marcia Wood, says the hall always leaves a lasting impression on guests.
“Our guests are always pleasantly surprised that behind the discreet blue doors on Threadneedle Street is a world of grandeur, steeped in history,” she says.
“The initial awe our guests experience when entering the venue continues throughout our nine venue spaces, providing memories for years to come.
“Our tranquil courtyard garden sets us apart from the majority of other livery halls; offering a peaceful outdoor space for all our guests in the hustle and bustle of the City.
“While in the Great Hall, we encourage our guests to soak in the architecture and our beautiful organ. We are the only livery hall to house a fully working organ and are proud to have rehomed it in 1966, long after it was built in 1722.
“Not only are we one of the only livery halls with an outdoor space and working organ, we are also one of the few with our own in-house catering team.
“We pride ourselves on our outstanding service, providing our own in-house catering allows us to ensure the high quality and consistency that our guests deserve.”