7 of the best... weird and wonderful UK venues for 2016

In need of inspiration for 2016? C&IT has rounded up some of the UK's weird and wonderful venues to make your next event unforgettable.

The Vaults, Southbank (© www.the-vaults.org)
The Vaults, Southbank (© www.the-vaults.org)

Dans Le Noir, East London

As sensory experiences go, there aren't many like Dans Le Noir, the ‘dining in the dark’ restaurant in East London. Unfamiliar with the concept? Here’s how it works: There are four options on the menu - fish, meat, seafood and a chef's surprise, all of which are eaten in pitch black and revealed at the end of the night.

Following a round of pre-dinner drinks, all mobile phones, watches, bags and coats (basically, anything that can reflect light) are placed in lockers, before the group is shepherded through to the dining room by the waiter to enjoy an evening full of surprises. The teambuilding element shouldn’t be underestimated either and delegates will be astonished at how much more they interact with one another when their visual preconceptions vanish!

The Vaults, Southbank, London

The Southbank venue can be found in an unassuming abandoned space down Leake Street, also known as ‘Graffiti Street’, under a Waterloo station tunnel. Enjoyed for its rustic appearance and versatile space, The Vaults has housed a variety of events for well-known brands looking to push the boundaries and dazzle their guests. The theatre can seat 176 delegates, with an additional gallery that can be used for gala dinners and drinks receptions.

The Witchery by the Caste, Edinburgh

Hidden at the summit of Edinburgh’s historic Royal Mile is The Witchery, a fine dining restaurant and boutique hotel steeped from head to toe in gothic décor. Entrance to the venue is through an ancient close, which leads to a restaurant buried deep into the Edinburgh Old Town. The cuisine is heralded as some of the best in the city, with a menu full of quality Scottish produce, including meats, seafood and, of course, haggis. Above the restaurant are nine theatrically designed luxury suites each with a different theme from Armoury, Library, Inner Sanctum and, the latest addition to the venue, The Turret, which opened in 2013 . For the price of a suite, guests can enjoy complimentary champagne and a breakfast hamper. 

No Man’s Fort, Portsmouth

Located in the Solent off the coast of Portsmouth, No Man’s Fort has been transformed into a high-end resort. Reached by boat, the 22-bedroom venue can accommodate up to 200 people for corporate functions, and regularly runs themed parties and events. Boasting its own lighthouse and a lazer battle arena, guests can enjoy a range of incentive activities including RIB rides, yachting and water sports. There are five function rooms in total for smaller groups, including the Mess Hall & Wine Bar which can seat up to 125 people.

The Glass Boat, Bristol

The Glass Boat in Bristol is renowned for its restaurant, but can also cater for corporate groups. Situated on the floating harbour in the city’s historic district, it makes a unique and picturesque spot for groups.  Offering spectacular views of the local river boats and swans, the restaurant can be hired for up to 150 guests. A function room on the lower deck of the boat can hold up to 60 delegates theatre style and is fully-equipped with Wi-fi and and AV system.

The Lost Village of Dode, Kent 

Bring the past back to life by holding your event at this this beautiful Norman building, which stands on the site of its former village on the North Downs of Kent. This ancient venue looks almost exactly as it did 900 years ago when it was first built, with the historic atmosphere providing a backdrop for events for up to 40 guests. Catering can also be provided inkeeping with the theme of the venue, with spit roasted lambs, hogs and poultry being especially popular.

Carnglaze Caverns, Cornwall

To really make an impression on your delegates, how about a conference around a subterranean lake? The Carnglaze Caverns in Cornwall offer a venue for intimate and unique events in underground caves containing a clear, blue-green lake, which events can be arranged around. The Underground Lake area can hold up to 40 people, though more can be accommodated for in some of the other rooms in the caverns.

More:

London C&I hotspots: Soho, South Bank, Shoreditch

UK Unusual Venues: 500+

Glasgow: Unusual venues for events

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