Christmas party crisis? Festive event planning ideas from bowl food to ballrooms.

As event and venue-finding experts, we’re big advocates for proper planning and preparation and a big event in the corporate calendar that requires forward thought is your work’s Christmas party!

If you’ve ever had to plan a Christmas party, you’ll know there’s lots to consider if you’re going to make it a fun, memorable event for all your colleagues. Despite the (usually) sunny weather, July tends to be the time of year where venues share their offerings for Christmas at industry events such as the Christmas Party Show, and popular venues will get snapped up quickly.

Worry not if this has landed at your door – we’ve got some top tips to help you plan the perfect celebration and we’re sharing some of our favourite venues across the UK.


Let’s talk turkey…

December can be a turkey-intensive month but, for some, the traditional Christmas party with turkey and all the trimmings is non-negotiable. If that’s a firm favourite on the menu for your business, we’ve found lots of great places that do this incredibly well.

However, if you’re looking for something less formal or want to wow guests with a completely different experience this Christmas, side-step the sprouts and explore some alternative options.

Many businesses have evolved over recent years to include remote or hybrid working, which can change the way colleagues want to come together. Rather than being seated at a table, guests may prefer to mingle freely, either at a relaxed private party or by joining a larger, interactive event.

Catering for everyone doesn’t just mean considering dietary requirements anymore (although that’s still important). The right venue for your business could include alcohol-free zones, photo booths, team activities, or spectacular entertainment. Choosing a venue that includes everything you’re looking for can take away a lot of stress when you’re organising a Christmas party.

Take a look at some of our favourite Christmas party venues for 2023…

It’s showtime.

For an electric atmosphere and an immersive party experience, booking a venue that provides world-class entertainment is sure to be remembered, even with a hangover!

Cirque de Lumiere at Manchester Central is putting on a dazzling spectacle with tightrope walking, trapeze artists, flying hoop, contortion acts, indoor fairground rides, and a disco. Bookings can be made for small private tables of eight up to larger companies in the 100’s and include a canape reception, a three-course seated dinner, and a midnight breakfast.

For a Central London circus experience, Bloomsbury Big Top’s Cirque de Paris is back by popular demand and can be enjoyed as an exclusive booking or as a shared party. We love their sustainability initiatives that include biodegradable napkins, food waste donations, and some of the proceeds go back to the park.

Out of this world

If you want something totally unique, 8 Northumberland Avenue are masters in creating out-of-this-world experiences and they have two magical themes for Christmas parties this year.

Transforming one of the finest and grandest venues in London, you can wow guests among golden moonrock and dance the night away under the stars at their Golden Moon Ball, or board the first-class flying party with Sky Lion and celebrate like you’re onboard a luxury jetliner!

With polished glassware and exquisite finishing touches, both events are indulgent and include a drinks reception, three-course meal, unlimited house wine, beer and soft drinks, and a disco with DJ.

For something a little bit more down-to-earth, Dynamic Earth in Edinburgh combines a more traditional turkey menu and disco with a quirky pre-dinner drinks setting in their Earthscape galleries, where you are transported through the rainforest to the Sahara desert and then an iceberg.

Work hard, play hard.

If something less formal would work better for your team dynamics, Boom Battle Bar brings high-energy fun with games and activities to suit everyone.

From American Pool, electric darts and shuffleboard to axe-throwing, crazy golf and beer or prosecco pong, this style of Christmas party is all about getting active and playing with your teammates.

This option would work well for smaller parties and there are multiple locations across the UK, including Birmingham, London, Bournemouth, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Leeds, and Manchester.

Throw in some grazing boards and a little competition and you can’t help but spread some Christmas cheer.

A cocktail of elegance.

Looking for something more sophisticated? Bombay Sapphire Distillery in set in a beautiful building on the site of a former paper mill in the Hampshire countryside and can cater for Christmas parties of up to 400 people.

As well as exploring the glasshouses, enjoying a three-course meal and hitting the dance floor, you can also include a bespoke Christmas cocktail masterclass using their famous gins. Cheers to that!

Top tips for organising a Christmas party.

Hopefully you’re now feeling inspired about taking on the Christmas party planning for your workplace. Whatever your budget or group size, here are some handy things to bear in mind when choosing your venue.

  • To manage your budget, consider allocating drinks tokens to guests rather than having an open bar, so everyone gets the same amount of paid-for drinks.
  • When choosing a menu, remember to consider all dietary requirements including plant-based foods, gluten-free and nut-free options. A selection of individual Bowl Food is a good option if you need to satisfy lots of needs, as guests can choose from a variety of dishes *clearly labelled for allergens.
  • If you’re booking a DJ, let them know your crowd’s musical tastes in advance so they can entertain your demographics. They’ll welcome the playlist and fill the dancefloor!
  • If your business has a green policy, the Christmas party is a great opportunity to further embed your sustainability values by opting-out of party hats, crackers and plastic novelties. You should find plenty of venues that offer locally sourced food, and you could consider lighting and projectors to set the scene, rather than throw-away decorations.

Feeling inspired?  Get in touch with the ExecSpace team and we’ll be delighted to find your perfect party venue, whatever your celebration looks like.

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