Top 10 outdoor UK venue spaces to choose for summertime events

M&IT’s editor has chosen 10 of the UK’s top outdoor venue spaces, bound to make your event unforgettable, no matter how many summer-inspired cocktails your guests drink.

Trees are beginning to blossom, the days are getting longer and there is a certain warmth to the air. That can only mean one thing, summer is just around the corner.

Summer brings a whole new meaning to the meetings and events industry, awnings get put away, heaters are turned off and buyers get to choose from a wider range of venues. Then there’s the endless BBQs, birds singing and strolls along the beach; what’s not to love about summer?


Skylight at Tobacco Dock, London

Skylight at Tobacco Dock proves there’s no end to the fun that can be had on rooftops. With an ice rink, croquet pitch, fully-stocked bar and some of London’s best food traders, there are options to suit every taste.

Exclusive hire of Skylight provides capacity for 600 people and partial hire of the space can accommodate 50 to 200 people, starting at £75 per head.

This price includes access to the croquet and boules pitches in the summer or the ice rink and ice hockey in winter. Complimentary jugs of Pimms or mulled wine will be available on arrival; followed by three hours of unlimited beer, wine and soft drinks. Guest can enjoy a main and side portion of street food included in the package and make full use of cloakroom facilities.

Find out more here.

The River Terrace at Somerset House,  London

The River Terrace at Somerset House offers a central London location with views across the River Thames. The large and flexible outdoor space, capable of hosting 500 guests, is set directly beside the river.

It’s the ideal place for a sundowner event but if the British summer lets you down, a glamorous wet weather option is included – Seamen’s Hall with its Corinthian pillars and huge windows.

The River Terrace would suit summer parties, drinks receptions, entertaining clients, networking events and private parties. With Waterloo Station and Covent Garden just around the corner, it’s easy for guests to reach.

Find out more here.

Kensington Place Pavilion, London

Kensington Palace Pavilion was originally built as a temporary replacement to the Orangery during its major conservation project. However, the venue has gained a glowing reputation in its own right.

Situated in the heart of the Palace grounds, the Pavilion overlooks the Palace’s Sunken Garden and the east façade of the Georgian royal home.

There are two event spaces at the Pavilion, with the option of having 800 guests for a drinks reception across both spaces or 300 seated for dinner with a separate area for the bar.

Find out more here.

Pop Brixton, London

Shipping containers and plywood have never been trendier than they are in the 21st century. One venue that uses these materials particularly well is Pop Brixton.

Pop Brixton has transformed wasteland into creative spaces for local businesses in the area. It offers a network of venue spaces, but the main event is Pop Box in the heart of Pop Brixton.

The semi-outdoors space can host 200 standing, 90 in theatre configuration and 80 banquet style.

Hire of this space includes a PA system, HD projector and screen, DJ equipment, staging, tables, benches and chairs.

Find out more here.

Animal Houses at ZSL London Zoo, London

Give your event a furry twist at ZSL London Zoo. The venue has five dedicated event spaces but the real stars of the show are the choice of six animal houses including Penguin Beach, Land of the Lions and Tiger Territory.

These areas are available for exclusive evening hire when the public leave the zoo. The Land of the Lions can host up to 300 guests for drinks and canapes. Guests can also stay in the Gir Lion Lodge within the exhibit.

Another big cat encounter is Tiger Territory where guests can network next to Sumatran tigers.

For client’s looking for more of a feathery affair, ZSL London Zoo offers space for 300 guests next to Penguin Beach which homes adorably mischievous Humboldt penguins – you couldn’t ask for a better ice breaker.

The Terrace also provides outdoor event space with unbroken views across the zoo.

Find out more here.

Queen’s Garden, Kew Palace, London

A venue space fit for a queen and 40 of her closest confidants. Queen’s Garden sits adjacent to the red-brick Kew Palace, once the home to King George III and Queen Charlotte.

Everything in the garden, from the choice of plants to the style of seating is meant to compliment Kew Palace and show off the 17th-century landscaping design.

The venue is only available for evening hire when the historic attraction closes to the general public. Therefore summer evenings are the best time host events at this venue.

The cobalt blue and gold painted permeant gazebo at the centre of the garden provides a good space to make toasts or speeches.

Find out more here.

No.3 Restaurant and Bar at Smiths of Smithfield, London

Designed in a contemporary art-deco style, No.3 Restaurant and Bar at Smiths of Smithfield in Farringdon oozes elegance.

The fully-licensed venue can seat up to 50 guests for dinner and has a standing capacity for 150 people with the addition of seating and standing space on the adjoining terrace, providing 180-degree views across central London.

Find out more here.

The Black Cat at El Gato Negro, Manchester

An award-winning tapas restaurant and bar in a historic converted three-storey twin house on King Street in central Manchester offers event planners an open-aired intimate space on the top floor.

The dining and bar area in the roof is kitted out in decedent art-deco furniture, with quaint bar lamps, velvet padding and skilful mixologists who know how to get the party started.

The retractable roof means the venue is suitable in all weather, from summer through to winter.

The venue has space for 43 seated or 100 standing with the option of creating bespoke packages to suit the event’s theme.

There is no fee to hire this unique space, however, a minimum spend is required based on what day and time the event takes place.

Find out more here.

Ashley Hall Showground, Manchester

Whether it’s a summer party, incentive or exhibition you’re planning, Ashely Hall Showground has more than 70 acres of Greenfield event space.

The showground is close to Manchester’s major roads, rail links and the airport, making it an ideal venue for people travelling into Manchester.

The venue has capacity for 5,000 standing, Wi-Fi and camping plots, which is encouraging for event planners looking to host festivals, art exhibitions and incentive-based events with more of a party-theme than a corporate one.

Find out more here.

IET Birmingham Austin Court, Birmingham

At the centre of IET Birmingham, Austin Court is the sun-catching Courtyard surrounded by a landscaped garden, beside the contemporary atrium.

The Courtyard is an ideal spot to host summer parties, drinks receptions and breakout sessions during the warmer months.

With a capacity for 80 standing and varying seating options to suit any event, the Courtyard could easily make guests forget they are in the centre of England’s second city, and instead, transport them to a chateau on the French Riviera.

Find out more here.

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