Venue Files: Unusual exhibition spaces - It pays to be flexible

Six venues that organisers would not normally associate with corporate exhibitions.

OLD BILLINGSGATE

Where is it? On Lower Thames Street in the Square Mile.

What is it? A 19th-century, Grade II-listed building that provides a blank canvas, perfect for exhibitions or events. It offers 6,000sqm of floor space.

What's it got? Three individual spaces that can be hired separately or combined. The biggest, The Grand Hall, has an area of 2,610sqm, while The Vault offers 1,715sqm and The Gallery 832sqm. The Grand Hall also boasts original architecture that can help lift an exhibition's atmosphere. In the past few years the venue has attracted leading exhibitions from major publishers, including the Square Meal Venues and Events show (pictured).

Who do I talk to? Tom Pinchin on (020) 7283 2800

Web: www.oldbillingsgate.co.uk
Largest space: 6,000sqm
Tube: Bank/Monument
Postcode: EC3R 6DX
Cost: From £68 (daily rate)

OLD TRUMAN BREWERY

Where is it? In the East End of London on Brick Lane.

What is it? An 11-acre site with 19 different-sized buildings.

What it's got? Owned and managed by The Zeloof Partnership, it combines commercial and event spaces that range in size from 186sqm to 2,230 sqm, accommodating between 120 and 1,000 guests. All the spaces are available on a dry-hire basis and some can be combined to create even larger exhibition areas. Using both floors in F Block, for example, provides up to 6,875 sqm. The venue also boasts additional space in its outdoor yards for those exhibitions that incorporate alfresco elements. Recent exhibitions have included TENT London, Future London's Footprints of a Generation and the Saatchi 4 New Sensations exhibition.

Who do I talk to? Sarah Jones (020) 7770 6001

Web: www.trumanbrewery.com
Largest space: 6,875sqm
Tube: Liverpool Street
Postcode: E1 6QL
Cost: From £1,500

VINOPOLIS

Where is it? Vinopolis is situated on London's Bankside, next to the iconic London Bridge and foodies' paradise Borough Market.

What is it? A wine-tasting visitor attraction that provides an intriguing space for a wide range of corporate events.

What's it got? Ideal for smaller exhibitions, Vinopolis offers a collection of themed and blank canvas event spaces, including the Great Halls, Mezzanine, Gallery and Vineyard, which range from 73sqm of space right up to 6,415sqm. Trade shows that have taken place recently at the venue include Wines of Portugal, Wines of Germany and the Square Meal Wine Show.

As an indication of its versatility, Vinopolis can accommodate up to 1,250 guests for a cocktail reception or 800 for a seated dinner, while also offering a range of wine-tasting experiences.

Who do I talk to? Rupert Ellwood on (020) 7940 8322

Web: www.vinopolis.co.uk
Largest space: 6,415sqm
Tube: London Bridge
Postcode: SE1 9BU
Cost: POA

LEVEL 2 AT THE SCIENCE MUSEUM

Where is it? On Exhibition Road in South Kensington.

What is it? An award-winning museum that has established itself as one of the capital's most popular event venues. One reason for this is its ability to constantly evolve and provide interesting and interactive event backdrops, with numerous installations that are often based on entertainment and educational topics.

What's it got? As an exhibition space, Level 2 allows organisers to build and set up while the rest of the museum is open to the public. This is unlike most other museums, where set-up is normally only allowed once the venue has closed to the public, leaving organisers with little more than two hours to get everything ready. The Science Museum offers up to 950sqm of space and so far has hosted exhibitions including James Bond, Lord of the Rings and Titanic. The events team only recently acquired Level 2 as an exclusive space for corporate hire, enabling clients to book it on a short- or long-term basis.

Who do I talk to? Events team on (020) 7942 4340

Web: www.sciencemuseum.org.uk
Largest space: 950sqm
Tube: South Kensington
Postcode: SW7 2DD
Cost: POA

THE BREWERY

Where is it? In the City, on Chiswell Street.

What is it? A Grade II-listed building and holder of a City Heritage Award, The Brewery is set within its own private courtyard and was once a fully functioning brewery.

What's it got? Six rooms that can be hired together or individually. The main space for exhibitions is The Porter Tun, which has 778sqm of unobstructed space that can accommodate up to 40 stands. Slightly smaller is The King George, which can host up to 30 stands, while four other rooms are ideal for feature areas that require an intimate or private exhibition space. Companies including Incisive Media, Emap, Arcadia, Finextra and the National Council for Voluntary Organisations have held exhibitions at the venue, which boasts its own in-house, award-winning caterer.

Who do I talk to? Dan Hart on (020) 7638 8811

Web: www.thebrewery.co.uk
Largest space: 778sqm
Tube: Barbican/Moorgate
Postcode: EC1Y 4SD
Cost: From £69 per person

IMPERIAL WAR MUSEUM

Where is it? On Lambeth Road, conveniently near to Waterloo station.

What is it? This Grade II-listed building houses 20th-century wartime exhibits, photographs and paintings and was built in the early 1800s as the main portion of Bethlem Royal Hospital.

What's it got? A newcomer to the exhibition industry, the Imperial War Museum has hosted a number of dinners and creative events over the past few years, its temporary historical exhibitions providing interesting backdrops.

However, the venue is now keen to establish itself as a space for small exhibitions. With a capacity for up to 1,000 visitors in the glass-roofed atrium, the museum also boats smaller spaces that include a conference room and cinema that can be used for hosting innovative feature areas. The cinema can also be accessed from the atrium, thereby making visitor-flow that much easier.

Who do I talk to? Samantha Cox, Alana Buckley or Olivia Pearcey on (020) 7416 5413

Web: www.iwm.org.uk
Largest space: 159sqm
Tube: Waterloo
Postcode: SE1 6HZ
Cost: From £550


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