London’s Livery Halls – the ultimate Christmas event venues
Livery Companies were the earliest trade associations or guilds, which existed to protect and regulate their respective trades. There are still 110 active Livery Companies in London, and 39 of them still own property – primarily in the sought-after Square Mile. Socialising and networking were always central to the functioning of the Livery Companies, and by extension, their Livery Halls are some of the biggest, most spectacular, event spaces in the city.
What makes these venues all the more special is the fact that a large number of them were completely or partly destroyed by the Great Fire of 1666 and in the raids of World War II. Despite this, they remain largely unchanged in architectural design and still house an incredible number of historical artefacts and art pieces.
The best part? The majority of the remaining Livery Halls are available for hire for events and functions, with some great Christmas event packages available. Their unique history, ideal locations and undeniable beauty make Livery Halls some of the most sought-after venues for Christmas events. So what are you waiting for? Browse our selection of some of the best Livery Halls in London and get in early to secure your booking for a Christmas event your guests will never forget:
Perfect for: A sparkling wine reception, garden party, banqueting and dancing
One of the most eclectic and modern Livery Halls – a fusion of contemporary design and tradition, belonging to one of the oldest Livery companies. The Haberdashers’ Hall was designed by renowned British architect, Sir Michael Hopkins. The venue has a beautifully manicured courtyard with a sculptural water feature. A reception gallery overlooks the outdoor space and flows into the medieval-inspired Livery Hall where guests will be wowed by the vaulted ceiling and oak panel walls.
Perfect for: Cocktail evenings, intimate seated dinners
Located on one of the oldest streets in London, Founders’ Hall is another of the more contemporary Livery Halls. It features large porthole windows looking out onto the gardens of the St Bartholomew the Great church (one of the oldest in London). The venue can host up to 120 guests and offers another two rooms which can also be used for any function.
Perfect for: Elegant lunches, dinner dances, cocktail receptions
Make an impression with this perfectly located venue with the right combination of historical elegance and contemporary flair. Warm and intimate, this Livery Hall accommodates up to 120 guests. The venue features a marble lobby, carved oak staircase and intricately hand-carved architraves. Enjoy a fabulous sit-down meal or open it up for dancing.
Perfect for: A candle-lit Christmas dinner, a traditional ball, elegant garden party
One of the most sought-after venues in London. This Livery Hall is one of the largest of its kind and was completed in 1673 after the Great Fire of London. It features three interlinking suites and a private garden which can also be used for your event. The Livery Hall features stunning stained glass windows, gleaming oak floors and carved oak panelling. It’s also one of the few venues that allow the use of candles – making it the perfect for a cosy Christmas event. The Hall also features a Minstrels’ Gallery for up to 20 musicians – and has enough space for a dance floor. Well-known for its excellent catering.
Perfect for: Intimate lunch or dinner, private drinks receptions
If you’re looking for an intimate, warm and unique historical venue for your Christmas event, Coopers’ Hall oozes character and charm. Located in a Pre-Georgian Town House (originally built as a merchant’s house in the 17th century), it’s the smallest and one of the oldest Livery Halls. Fully refurbished, its heritage has been expertly preserved and the exquisite period-style décor will transport you back in time.
Perfect for: Live music and dancing, traditional banquet, sparkling drinks receptions
If exclusivity and opulence are what you’re after for your Christmas event, the stunning Clothworkers’ Hall is hard to beat. This majestic Livery Hall has a capacity for up to 350 people and its historical splendour gives any event a true sense of occasion. The grand travertine marble staircase and striking glass dome of the entrance hall set the tone, while beautiful stained glass windows set the backdrop for your event. Also features a Minstrels’ Gallery for live music, as well as grand piano.
Perfect for: Grand receptions, dinners, cocktail receptions
Still the centre of government in London, Guildhall boasts a history spanning over 800 years and offers several remarkable venues for events. The Livery Hall at Guildhall was actually a museum until the Second World War and was renamed the ‘Livery Hall’ in 2008 to reflect the City of London’s ties to Livery Companies. The Great Hall is the largest and most impressive venue at Guildhall, with medieval architecture and huge gothic windows. The venue also features the Old Library and the largest surviving medieval crypts in London – which can also be booked for receptions and dinners.
Perfect for: Canapé receptions, formal dinners, luncheons
You’d be hard-pressed to find a statelier or more opulent setting for your event. The Goldsmiths’ Hall has impressive Corinthian columns, a moulded ceiling with gold leaf, matching chandeliers of English glass, and rich, intricate tapestries. A must-see.
Perfect for: Intimate dinners, lunches, banquets
The Worshipful Company of Armourers and Brasiers have used this site for gatherings since 1346 when it was just an inn. Rebuilt in 1839, it houses an impressive collection of 16th and 17th-century armour, weapons and artworks. The Livery Hall has a stunning Gothic barrel-vaulted ceiling, stained glass windows and a hanging brass candelabra. It also has a table candelabra and is one of only two Livery Halls where guests can dine by candlelight. A uniquely historical setting.
There are two more halls that are not strictly 'Livery Halls' but are still stunning nonetheless so we thought we'd include them for you.
The Law Society
Perfect for: Banquets, seated dinners, cocktail parties
This wonderful building at 113 Chancery Lane boasts eight different rooms for hire. The Dressler Common Room is the largest and most prestigious of them all with glittering chandeliers, stained glass windows, mahogany panelling, and green marble pillars. It can seat up to 200 guests banquet-style and is accessed via a dramatic sweeping staircase – ideal for photos. The Bayes Reading Room is another of the larger rooms available, featuring soaring marble columns and a vaulted ceiling with an abundance of natural light. Smaller rooms are also available for more intimate functions, each with its own character and charm.
Perfect for: Gala balls, formal dinners, cocktail receptions
The Hall at Gray’s Inn has beautifully preserved features from Elizabethan times. Several of its exquisite stained glass windows date back to 1462, and its walls are adorned with historic paintings and heraldic shields. An effortless fusion of intimacy and grandeur, it’s a truly historic venue for a memorable event.
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I came across this fascinating article on Livery Halls on the BBC. It charts the history and role they play in our community and economy.