Looking for a venue for your next corporate event in the Square Mile? The City's historic livery halls can host your office gatherings, conferences and Christmas parties in style.
The Square Mile’s historical livery halls continue to set the standard for opulent event destinations in the Capital. Few can rival their grand architecture and design. Even the most modern skyscrapers with their steel and glass frame lack the character and weight of the City of London’s livery halls.
People already come from all over to get a guided tour of the elaborate spaces, hear secret stories of their past, see exhibitions they host, and hope to get a seat at the royal engagements they throw on the odd occasion.
Today, more than ever, are these livery halls still being used for all kinds of events. They aren’t slowing down anytime soon, especially as summer is coming up. They’ve got the opulent interiors made for any weather conditions as well as lush private gardens which are perfect for photography sessions before and after the ceremony. Some even have rooftop terraces overlooking the City’s famous skyline.
But with over 40 different livery halls to choose from, settling on the right one is tough. That’s why we’ve put together this comprehensive guide to the very best ones in the area. Read on to find the one which is best for planning a wedding, fashion show, conference, fundraiser, or more traditional black-tie dinner.
This is one of the most exciting livery halls to visit right now, thanks to a multi-million pound refurbishment. It is located in the heart of the Square development near Smithfield Market, meaning it not only has some impressive interiors but stunning surrounds too. Diners will be treated to all the best food and drink – especially steaks. What else would you expect from the butchers Choose to hire either of the two floors or the ever exciting new rooftop roof garden which boasts views across the Square Mile.
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. 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. Moreover, the garden is the most stunning feature, comfortably holding 200 guests. This makes the hall a popular destination for wedding receptions, for the bride, groom and guests can seamlessly flow from the church to the hall’s stunning garden via a private interconnecting path.
The London Wall is home to one of the City’s oldest Livery Companies. Dating back to 1441, Barber-Surgeons’ Hall has kept its elegance and charm, providing a stunning backdrop for plenty events over the years. From Livery dinners to extravagant Christmas parties, guests are sure have a delightful experience at the hall.
Sadly, the original Hall was destroyed in the Great Fire of London. The hall was then rebuilt and lost again, this time to Luftwaffe in 1940. The current Hall, opened in 1969 by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, blends the historical connection with the comfort and practicality of a modern venue.
As a thriving events venue, the hall takes pride in hosting a range of events, from four course flavoursome dinners, to early morning coffee fuelled conferences. The individual spaces showcase the beauty of the hall. With four light, airy and versatile function rooms, and charming outside space for al fresco entertaining, it’s clear to see why Barber-Surgeons’ Hall is so popular with its guests.
The beautifully laid out red-brick is the third incarnation of the original Hall on this site, standing alongside the remains of the Roman-built London Wall. Offering natural light, Japanese oak panelling and Barbers’ Company treasures in all indoor spaces. The reception rooms are wonderfully laid out, leading to the focal point of the hall, the Great Hall. The Great Hall itself is flooded with natural light, bowed towards the west and dominated by a magnificent Holbein painting of Henry VIII uniting the Barbers’ and Surgeons’ Companies.
Smaller rooms include the Reception Room, a truly versatile and beautifully furnished space which houses the Barbers’ Company’s collection of barbers’ bowls. It is an ideal breakout space for the Great Hall, meeting room, or perfect space for an intimate dinner. The Court Room and the Charter Room can be used similarly to the Reception Room, with the Charter Room holding dinner for up to 12 guests.
The Barber-Surgeons’ Garden is one of the 10 livery company gardens remaining in The City of London dating back to 1555. The outside space offers a stunning terrace and a historic herb garden boasting the London Wall at its perimeter. The garden provides a beautiful backdrop from the terrace running the full length of the Great Hall and is an ideal space for summer parties and outdoor receptions, and with summer just a few months away their 2020 summer parties are raring to go. This year their theme focuses on multiple Great British Summer Sporting events.
Barber-Surgeons’ patio will be transformed into a ‘day at the races’, dressed in sporting paraphernalia, creating a fun and relaxed entertaining environment. The ‘Theatre’ will be supplied by chefs cooking on barbecues and guests can enjoy sporting themed canapés such as Henley River Trout Cornetto with Blood Orange Pearls presented on a variety of sporting equipment.
Barber-Surgeons are proud to have a dedicated in-house catering team curating delicious seasonal menus with carefully sourced, sustainable produce. Whether it is your anniversary, a gala dinner or a conference buffet, their commitment is to provide superb catering and exemplary service, which they always do.
This one is a truly magnificent and accommodating location full of character, charm and rich history that will leave a lasting impression on guests. 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. 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.
After 650 years on the same site – surviving through the Great Fire of 1666 and the London Blitz of 1940 – the Merchant Taylors have picked up a few tricks to keep the good times, and the bubbly, flowing. The tranquil courtyard is a delight in fine weather and sets them apart from most other livery halls. 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 the last 650 years, the inside of 30 Threadneedle Street boasts high ceilings, tall windows, Chinese silk wallpaper, and chandeliers. With room for up to 280 diners, the only obstacle will be keeping your eyes on your plate and not the magnificent decor. While on site they encourage guests to soak in the architecture surrounding them at every turn and in every one of the rooms.
A Merchant Taylors wedding is known to be a magical occasion too. The beautiful, historic building is nestled in the heart of the City of London, yet as guests step through the door, they will feel like they’ve been transported to a different world. The Great Hall dates to the 14th century and can cater for large numbers up to 280 people. Its high ceilings and windows give the room a fabulous sense of space and occasion.
They also have smaller rooms like The Parlour and the Drawing Room for more intimate wedding receptions. People are always pleasantly surprised that behind the discreet blue doors on Threadneedle Street is a world of grandeur, steeped in history. Not only is Merchant Taylors one of the only livery halls with an outdoor space and working organ, they are also one of the few with their own in-house catering team.
Accompanying the breath-taking location is our newly designed Christmas menu with all the delicious festive favourites along with an extensive wine list. They’ve been doing this for quite some time now. They have it down to a tee.
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 original features standing the test of time. It is even believed to be the oldest surviving livery hall in the City.
And although the entire hall underwent major redevelopment 200 years later, its external appearance has altered little since the late-18th century. Apothecaries’ Hall secret courtyard has been refurbished recently, to a stunning white with blue façade. 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. Choose from the Great Hall (for all your big and boastful events), the Court Room, Parlour, Library and Courtyard. No matter the size of your event, the Apothecaries’ Hall has got the space and menu sorted.
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.”
Fittingly, the Fishmongers’ Hall is located right on the Thames, with the main rooms looking right out onto the river. The views over the water, paired with luxurious interiors and top quality catering facilities, make this one of the top event locations in all of London – not just the City.
The historical elements of the Fishmongers Hall cannot be overlooked either. First off, it is a Grade II*-listed building with a unique past. This elegant Greek Revival building dates from 1834 and was designed by architect Henry Roberts.
And while the building as a whole has so many outstanding qualities, each room comes with its own character and unique kind of opulence. At every turn, you see yet another part of the hall’s valuable and diverse collection of artefacts and paintings. No stone is left unturned.
Take the first-floor rooms as an example. Each offer some mightily sumptuous surroundings for any kind of event, with the crown jewel of Roberts’ singular architectural vision being the main Banqueting Hall.
Refurbished back 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 also equipped with state-of-the-art AV to ensure that requirements can always be catered for, as well boasting personalised WiFi network capability. The historical setting has some truly modern amenities.
The Court Drawing and Court Dining Rooms also share the same level of historical splendour and offer some incredibly 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 candlelight and offer the perfect setting for everything from pre-dinner drinks to a wide array of smaller functions. You get a special kind of grand intimacy here.
The Court Drawing Room is yet another incredible option. For one, it houses arguably the most famous portrait of Queen Elizabeth II, painted by Pietro Annigoni in 1954. But it also has a magnificent terrace overlooking the River Thames which is perfectly suited to receptions in good weather.
The Fishmongers’ Hall is located in the heart of the City of London 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.
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.