Christmas Party Venues in London

Find and book unique christmas party venues in London

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Christmas parties are a great way to close off the year and celebrate the festive season with your colleagues, your friends, or your family. Whether you want to host an intimate celebration with the people nearest and dearest to you or have a large party with your office to re-energize and reflect on your shared achievements, Londoners are spoilt for choice when it comes to party venues. We've compiled some of our favourite Christmas party venues, a few insider tips and tricks for finding the best party venues in London and fun Christmas party ideas for your next holiday celebration!

A Guide to Hiring Christmas Party Venues in London

There are plenty of London Christmas party venues to consider, but it's important to find one that fits your location and your budget. Here are just a few that we can recommend for your festive celebrations:

The Oyster Shed, Thames City: This trendy seafood restaurant near Barbican is the perfect venue for a corporate Christmas party. They offer set menus with fresh seafood or more traditional British Christmas party fare. There are private Christmas party options for groups ranging in size from 8 to 80. The staff at the Oyster Shed go overboard with decorations at Christmas time, so you don't need to worry about bringing your own.

King House, Chelsea: Partygoers can enjoy a delicious festive menu with all of the traditional favourites as well as seasonal dishes. Keep the drinks flowing (and the office budget under control) with a customizable drinks package. The in-house DJ will get everyone in the holiday spirit, and there is a large cocktail bar available for exclusive hire. Alternatively, celebrate Christmas in the trendy Ground Floor space with sparkling wine and warming cocktails.

The Arc Centre: The Arc Centre in Islington is a contemporary space that can be rented for a private party. There are two large studios, a kitchen, an outdoor terrace and an on-site coffee shop. It's the perfect space for a more informal or self-catered Christmas event.

Southwark Cathedral, Central London: Sipping mulled wine in a church might not sound like much of a Christmas bash, but Southwark Cathedral is anything but boring. With eight versatile and light rooms to hire that can cater for almost any party size, Southwark Cathedral is a unique and magical event space. Their catering partner can provide delicious meals for your festive event, and the venue can arrange live music (including choir performances!) to get you and your guests into the Christmas spirit.

How to Pick the Perfect Christmas Party Venue

While we've curated only the best Christmas party venues in London, that doesn't mean that every venue will be perfect for you and your party. Before you pick your Christmas venue, make sure that the venue ticks the right boxes:

Determine your budget. Decide how much you can spend on the perfect Christmas party, including decorations, refreshments, cover charges, and entertainment. You should also decide what the non-negotiables are. A simple drinks reception with cocktail platters might be more feasible than a three-course dinner. You can save money by asking the venue to assemble a drinks package instead of allowing an open bar or opt for a shared Christmas party instead of hiring a private venue for the occasion.

Choose the type of Christmas party you want. Do you want to have a formal sit-down dinner, a casual cocktail party with a dance floor, or an activity-based team-building event? There are plenty of options during the Christmas season, so you should shop around.

Decide how big the party will be. No one likes to RSVP in advance, but you need to know how many guests will attend before you can choose a venue. Some venues simply won't cater for small groups, while others can't squeeze in more than a dozen.

Think about the location: Make sure that the venue is easily accessible via bus or underground and that it is conveniently located for your guests. You should also consider whether or not the venue can accommodate special dietary requirements and whether or not it's accessible for people in your party that may have disabilities.

Check the availability: Company Christmas parties usually aren't held on Christmas night. Check whether or not the venue can accommodate your group on your preferred date. Venues in London fill up fast, so start your Christmas party planning well in advance!

Consider the amenities: If you want to play a special video, or share a presentation at your work Christmas party, make sure that the venue has the right equipment on hand (and that it will be quiet enough!

Double-check the dress code: Make sure that the venue's dress code fits the type of event you'd like to host. If your guests show up in jeans and Christmas jumpers at a venue with a formal dress code, you risk getting turned away at the door.

Questions to Ask a Venue Before Booking

Once you've found a venue that appeals to you, it's time to ask some key questions, including:

  1. What is your maximum capacity?
  2. Can you cater to special dietary needs? (allergies, vegan, vegetarian, halaal, kosher)
  3. What is included in the cost of the venue hire?
  4. Are there any restrictions on decorations?
  5. What is your policy on outside catering/alcohol?
  6. Is there parking available?
  7. Is this space available on the XX date?
  8. Is there any sound or lighting equipment available we can use? Will there be music? Will there be an extra charge?
  9. Is there a dress code?
  10. Is cleaning included in your fee?

These questions will help you plan your event and set the right expectations for the day ahead.

How Much Do Christmas Party Packages Cost?

Different Christmas party venues will have different packages according to their type and the services provided. Casual gastro pubs offering cocktail snacks will charge a lower price per head than exclusive Christmas party venues with multiple courses in a private dining room. Most London Christmas party venues charge around £70 per head, which includes the venue, food, drinks and, if you're lucky, the Christmas tree and fairy lights!

Try to keep the cost below £150 per head. HMRC provides tax relief against the cost of hosting an annual event (including office Christmas parties) if specific conditions are met. If you'd like to take advantage of this benefit, the party has to be held annually, be available to all employees and not exceed the £ 150 mark.

Creative Ideas For Your Next Office Christmas Party

Finding the best party venues in London is a good start, but you'll need to apply a little creativity to make your next office Christmas party stand out. Need a little inspiration? Here are just a few ideas for your next event:

Rent an ice rink: Companies like Ice Queen, Ice Park and Glice Eco Ice Rink rent mobile skating rinks. It's a fun way to get in the Christmas spirit and build camaraderie, especially for first-time skaters!

Celebrate with a Christmas cruise: There are several cosy floating restaurants that will take you and your team on a cruise down the Thames at Christmas. It's a great way to see your favourite London landmarks and close off the year.

Enjoy comedy night: There's no better way to relax and unwind than to share a laugh at a comedy club. Make sure that the host knows if there are any taboo topics, though - you don't want to book a really risqué comedian for your office party!

See a panto: Nothing says Christmas like a pantomime. Book a private box or hire a theatre for an entertaining night out.

Take a festive light walking tour: London feels like a magical winter wonderland during December. Take advantage of a walking tour through the neighbourhoods with sparkling light displays, Bavarian markets and window displays. Most tours start at Covent Gardens and end at Regent Street, but there are several variations to explore.

Book a photo booth: Bring along some festive props and hire a photo booth. Your guests can take home awesome snaps of the night as a souvenir, and it's a great icebreaker.

The Best Time of Year to Have a Christmas Party in London

Most office Christmas parties tend to take place in early to mid-December, well before Christmas day. This gives employees the opportunity to celebrate Christmas and the end of the year together before they take annual leave to see their families or prepare for the holiday. Friends and families will usually have their event on, or close to, 25 December. Christmas party venues fill up very quickly from the 1st of December onwards, so book your party as early as possible.

The Most Popular Venues and Themes For London Christmas Parties

Hotels, restaurants, event spaces and bars remain really popular choices, but less conventional venues are also in vogue right now. Boats, comedy clubs, outdoor terraces and rooftops (that are heated!), and even drag clubs and museums are often used for year-end functions and holiday parties.

Your Christmas theme will depend on the type of venue (and who your party guests are!) Some popular themes we've seen in recent years include:

Winter wonderland: For this theme, think snowflakes, white decorations, fake snow and ice sculptures!

Ugly sweater parties: Time to dig out that reindeer jumper Nan knitted for you in 2016 as everyone dons their strangest sweaters to celebrate Christmas.

Popcorn Christmas: Dress up as characters from your favourite Christmas movies, whether it's Die Hard or Elf. String popcorn around the room and screen your favourite festive movie to complete the theme.

Fairytale Nostalgia: Draw inspiration from the Nutcracker and a Christmas Carol when choosing your decor and costumes. It's a great way to get in the festive spirit - and discover which stories inspire your friends, family and coworkers.

Opting a shared Christmas party versus an exclusive event

If an event space is shared, the venue will rent a table or section to your party, but the overall venue will be shared with other Christmas parties in attendance and likely the general public. An exclusive or private event means that the venue will be closed to the general public and other parties or that a private room or section will be allocated for your exclusive use. The benefit of a shared Christmas party is that smaller groups can enjoy the atmosphere of a far larger party.

Licenses Required For a Christmas Party

If you want to party until the sun comes up, it's best to check that your venue has a late licence. A late licence enables venues to stay open late. There are other policies you should be aware of before booking a Christmas party venue, e.g. whether or not you are allowed to bring in your own music, catering and alcohol.

FAQs Christmas Party Venues in London

When is the most popular time to have an office Christmas party?

The lead up to Christmas is always a busy one, thanks to all the Christmas parties and celebrations going on. The three week run-up to Christmas is when most companies or individuals book their events for, and the most popular days for an office Christmas party are Thursdays and Fridays. Due to their popularity, these days can also be slightly more expensive. If you’re looking for ways to save money on your Christmas party, opting for a less popular day of the week is an easy option.

When should I book an office Christmas party?

Christmas party dates book up quick, which is exactly why we suggest you starting to plan your celebrations in advance. We recommend starting your venue search in July to make sure you get your ideal venue and ideal date. If you’re looking for a last-minute Christmas party venue, you might get lucky with last-minute offers and deals, but you may not get your preferred diary date, or even your favourite party venue.

Which venues have late licenses for Christmas parties in London?

For those looking for Christmas party venues that can stay open late, you’ll need to make sure they have a late license. You can filter your search on Canvas by selecting ‘Licensing’ at the top of your search results, and ticking ‘Late License’. The same applies to venues with licenses for loud music, BYOB and civil ceremonies.

Where can I find large corporate Christmas party venues?

For a large corporate company, you’re going to need a large corporate Christmas party venue. At Canvas, we like to make your venue search as easy as possible. Simply use our search filter to input the number of guests attending and the relevant venues will show up in your results. Don’t forget to start planning early though – those large venues and corporate event spaces book up quick. We suggest starting your venue search early in the year to avoid disappointment.

Where do I find a Christmas party venue in Central London?

We are spoilt for choice when it comes to Christmas party venues in Central London. Depending on the type of Christmas party you are having, the size of your guest list, and the general look of venue you’re going for, you can search through our collection of London’s favourite venues to find something that suits you. Take your pick from some of the most unique venues for a London Christmas party.

What are the best ways to save money on a Christmas party?

Like with any event or party planning, there are some easy ways that you can save money. Whether you’re working with a small budget or if you just want to save in certain aspects of your planning to have more money elsewhere, there are several things you should consider. With your Christmas party venue search in particular, you could consider a dry hire venue and provide your own alcohol, or perhaps factor in the location of the venue and choose somewhere with more affordable prices. DIY is another easy way to save money, if you have the time (and the skills) to cater for your event, for example. Or perhaps make your own decorations to suit your Christmas party theme?

How do I organise a unique Christmas party?

You want to make your Christmas party stand out from the rest – but how do you make sure you’re planning a unique Christmas party? Consider every aspect of your event planning and think about where you can do something different. You can make it easy for yourself by choosing a unique venue – perhaps a London venue with a theme, or maybe just a super quirky event space. London is lucky enough to have a wide range of unique and unusual venues for you to choose from. Also take into account your catering and entertainment ideas, as these are two factors that can also really impress your guests.

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