From royal palaces and world-class museums to high tech venues and outdoor spaces, London is home to a diverse range of over 1,000+ venues, 20,000+ restaurants and 1,600 hotels to suit all budgets and tastes.
According to findings from a new report monitoring hotel capacity across European cities, London is set to add 11,600 rooms to its hotel market by 2020, providing meeting and event planners with an even greater choice of accommodation and meetings options. The growth of the capital’s hotel market is set to outpace a number of major European cities by 2020, including Paris, Berlin, Lisbon and Milan.
London was recently ranked as the top EMEA destination for meetings and event planners by two separate independent industry reports, with the UK capital claiming top spot in the 2018 Cvent Top 25 MICE cities report and the Carlson Wagonlit Travel (CWT) Top 10 EMEA cities for corporate meetings and events in 2019.
Both reports highlighted London’s strengths including: range of venues, hotel capacity, infrastructure, cultural attractions and the city’s position as a leading global business hub. Latest figures show that business visitors to London spent £3.5 billion annually, with the UK capital welcoming 3.5 million international overseas business visitors in 2017.
The UK capital has long been recognised as a city of heritage and innovation, where over 2,000 years of history meets invention and creativity. From the Tower of London and Kensington Palace, to the modern vistas of Sky Garden and the Shard, London continues to reinvent its MICE offer into 2019 and beyond.
Earlier this month, London’s Convention Bureau announced a new partnership with the Paris Convention and Visitors Bureau that will see the two cities join forces to offer a new range of exciting, two- in-one incentive travel products.
Tracy Halliwell, Director of Tourism, Conventions & Events at London & Partners said: “London is a dynamic city that offers MICE buyers a range of innovative event concepts and solutions. Looking ahead to 2019 and beyond, there are a number of exciting new venues, incentives and hotels to suit a range of tastes and budgets. From blank canvas warehouse spaces and trendy pop ups, to quintessentially ‘British’ experiences or a wellness-based stay, London has everything you need to host a memorable event or incentive trip.”
Chantal Vanes, Head of Sibos said: “We are very excited to be bringing Sibos to London for the first time, this year. London is one of the world’s great financial centres. It’s a city where business, creativity and innovation converge – and that’s why it’s the perfect place for Sibos 2019. While providing a great venue to do business, London’s ever-changing cultural offering, spanning world-class museums, theatre and the arts, will also allow delegates to enjoy their experience at the world’s premier financial services event to the fullest.”
Iype Abraham, Commercial Development Director at Edwardian Hotels London said: “Embracing the character of the surrounding West End, The Londoner will offer a vibrant urban escape and an exceptional hospitality experience for all guests when it opens its doors in spring 2020. Its central location in Leicester Square will allow our guests to curate their own unique London experience from our doorstep.”
Here’s a round-up of the most exciting new conferences, venues and experiences to look forward to in 2019:
Top 5 Unique Venues
The National Gallery Garden and Jubilee Walk (opened January 2019)
The National Gallery is one of the most visited and best loved art galleries in the world, housing works by artists including Van Gogh and Titian. Adding to the great range of event spaces on offer, these two new outdoor areas will be ideal for drinks receptions in the sunnier days of summer, with the garden providing a peaceful oasis away from the hustle and bustle of city life.
Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
This year will see the arrival of a brand-new London landmark in the events world. The new home of Premier League soccer giants named ‘Spurs’ – the stadium is hosting two NFL London Games in 2019 and will offer a variety of purpose-built event space, from total luxury at the exclusive H Club to behind-the-scenes action at The Tunnel Club in the heart of the stadium.
Illuminate at the Science Museum
The Science Museum’s world-famous exhibitions and gallery spaces combine to make it one of the most unique venues for events. In keeping with the Science Museum’s reputation as the home of science, technology and innovation, Illuminate – which can host up to 400 for conferences – will be a forward-looking new venue designed to anticipate and surpass the changing needs of the industry.
etc.venues 133 Houndsditch
Located just moments from centrally-located Liverpool St and Bank stations, this venue will offer a large conference suite and an additional 7 breakout rooms. It will contain free, high-speed wi-fi, as well as color changing lighting options and state-of-the-art laser projectors.
Magazine London (summer 2019)
This purpose-built, 24,179 sq m destination will be the largest of its kind in London, offering space for up to 10,000 people combined across its indoor and outdoor Showground space. Attendees will be delighted by the panoramic views of the Canary Wharf cityscape and the bespoke seasonal menus on offer.
Top 5 Unmissable Hotels
The Dixon Autograph Collection (opened January 2019)
Occupying a beautiful building that dates from 1906, when it served as the Tower Bridge Magistrates Court, The Dixon is a new hotel under Marriott’s independent Autograph Collection. While steeped in history, it captures all the culture, creativity and variety of the surrounding area. Its 193 rooms and suites, lounges and restaurant enjoy an eclectic design aesthetic and boutique vibe perfect for informal networking.
The Stratford Hotel and Lofts
Inspire by the timeless glamour of 1950s New York, this project is from the developers behind the stunning St Pancras Renaissance Hotel in London’s King’s Cross. Located in the heart of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, this 145-room luxury hotel will have a huge range of amenities, including restaurants, bars, a communal sky garden, a 24-hour gym and a wealth of culture at its doorstep for delegates to enjoy. With walk-in showers, organic toiletries and hi-tech features too, this hotel is all about those special touches to remember.
The Standard, London
London is delighted to welcome the first overseas adventure from this eminent and distinctive US chain. The Standard, London will be a five-star boutique hotel with 266 bedrooms and a world-class food offering for your group, with multiple destination restaurants run by critically acclaimed chefs Peter Sanchez-Iglesias and Adam Rawson.
Hard Rock Hotel London
Built in one of London’s most iconic locations – on the corner of Oxford Street and Park Lane – this new hotel from the legendary US chain is set to be a musical haven. The hotel will offer exclusive suites for Rock Royalty, together with two vibrant bars and a lively Hard Rock Café® – this is a place where business definitely meets pleasure.
The Londoner (spring 2020)
The much-anticipated opening of Edwardian Hotels London’s first purpose-built hotel, The Londoner, is set to open in spring 2020. Located in one of London’s most iconic neighbourhoods, Leicester Square, this five-star, 15 level hotel will have a host of leisure facilities, two Odeon cinemas, spa and wide range of conference facilities including a state-of-the-art ballroom which can accommodate up to 1,000 guests, making it one of the most exciting new openings for business travellers. With 350 bedrooms, including 35 luxury suites, as well as concept restaurants and lounges, this hotel promises unrivalled customer service and class.
Top 5 Tempting Restaurant Openings
Housed in a former art gallery in upscale Mayfair, known for its exclusive hotels and Georgian townhouses, IT Ibiza will feature emerging artists on the walls and will dish up ‘food, aperitivo and world-class DJs’ – the former from two Michelin-starred Naples chef Gennaro Esposito.
Bob Bob Cité
If you’re looking for something a little quirky and memorable for your stay, venture to Bob Bob Cité, the follow-up to cult Soho restaurant Bob Bob Ricard, famed for its ‘press for champagne’ buttons on the tables and lavish interior. A glamorous, yet fun addition to a business trip.
World-famous Parisian restaurant Caviar Kaspia – a favourite of celebrities such as Beyoncé and Jay-Z – is coming to London. The culinary landmark, lauded for its signature caviar-topped baked potato, is set to open in chic Mayfair this spring. Perfect for a luxurious dinner, the menu will feature classics, such as poached eggs with beluga caviar, as well as dishes created exclusively for the new London spot.
Nathan Outlaw at The Goring (May 2019)
Those with a taste for seafood will be delighted by the opening of a new brasserie-style restaurant at the five-star luxury hotel, The Goring, in the chic area of Belgravia, central London. Commanding views over The Goring’s majestic and secluded garden, the restaurant will be housed in an ornate orangery and will be run by Nathan Outlaw, one of the UK’s most loved chefs.
Corbin & King – the group behind some of the capital’s most iconic restaurants, such as The Wolesley and Brasserie Zédel – are due to open bespoke restaurant Soutine in St. John’s Wood, near to iconic Regent’s Park and Lord’s cricket ground. Located in an impressive period building, the front room and pavement will offer relaxed café and bar seating leading to a more formal space at the rear.
Top 5 Conferences and Events
London Games Festival (2-14 April 2019)
London Games Fest will take place at major culture and arts centre Somerset House, featuring 12 days of activity including the Games Finance Market, EGX Rezzed, the BAFTA Games Awards and more. Confirmed speaks include Brie Code of TRU LUV, the studio which developed #Selfcare – one of Apple’s Best of 2018 Trends of the Year selections – and Jodie Azhar, Game Director at Teazelcat.
London Tech Week (10-14 June 2019)
London Tech Week is a festival of live events across the UK capital, showcasing and celebrating the best of tech while providing networking, social, learning and business opportunities. 2019 will see the return of some of its most popular events, such as the Leaders in Tech Summit, as well as a whole host of new and exciting events. Stay tuned.
Sibos (23-26 September 2019)
Sibos is the annual conference, exhibition and networking event organised by SWIFT for the financial industry and this year it’s coming to ExCeL London – the capital’s largest venue. Sibos is considered the premier business forum for the global financial community, bringing together 8,000 business leaders and topic experts in 3 packed days of speakers, conferences and networking opportunities.
One Young World Summit (22-25 October 2019)
It’s official, the One Young World Summit will be coming ‘home’ next year to London, the city where it all began in 2009. This Tenth Anniversary Summit will be the largest ever staged, with 1,500 young leaders from every country in the world coming together at Westminster. London will provide the backdrop as the young leaders tackle global issues, from climate change to conflict resolution.
The European Society of Cardiology Congress (28 August – 1 September 2021)
The world’s largest gathering of heart specialists will return to London in 2021. Building on the huge success of the 2015 Congress, ESC will again take place at ExCeL London – the perfect venue for the ground-breaking work of the ESC delegates in the world of cardiovascular science. With the onsite Elizabeth Line station, delegates will be able to travel into London at record time.