21st April 2017

Historically and architecturally speaking, Southwark Cathedral is a wonder.

Historically, part of the intrigue arises from the fact that it's unknown when the original cathedral was first built – but it's thought to be sometime in the 7th Century. Of course, across the centuries, redevelopments occurred, especially after the Great Fire of 1212, then again in 18th and 19th Centuries.

This constant rebuilding also seals the architectural wonder of the place, with a beautiful blend of medieval, Norman and Gothic elements, to name but a few. This is part of the reason why Southwark Cathedral, today, makes for such a stunning event venue.

It's of course still a place of worship for many, and keeps its doors open for events of all kinds, too. Its location is hard to beat: just south of the River and just a short walk from London Bridge and Borough Market, it's convenient and in the middle of a vibrant part of the Capital.

Many of the architecturally diverse elements of the Cathedral can be hired – in other words, there are several spaces available for your event, meaning the individuality of your function can shine through. For meetings and business events, for example, there are a host of spaces. The Desmond Tutu Room is a modern space for intimate meetings, holding up to 12 for boardroom gatherings. Similarly contemporary, The Chapter Room has space for up to 30, and offers unbeatable views of the Thames.

For bigger business functions, such as conferences and seminars, venue bookers may consider the Garry Weston Library. It's a fascinating fusion of old and new, with Gothic architecture and an oriel window mixing naturally with all the facilities you'd expect from a conference venue: PA systems, AV facilities, and LCD screens (for an additional charge). The space, though, also lends itself well to seated private dinners, and standing receptions for up to 120 people. Catering is available for such social events, with a professional kitchen on site.

But for the full, glorious architectural experience, The Nave is the dramatic, awe-inspiring space for larger events. This is, after all, the centrepiece of the cathedral. It'll hold up to 800 for standing, canapé-style receptions, and 220 for seated banquets. Again, historic meets modern in this space, where the towering, almost dizzying Gothic arches join forces with the state-of-the-art lighting and production elements needed for many dynamic events. Concerts and exhibitions have found a beautiful home here, just as fittingly as have art installations and awards ceremonies.

Then, for the approaching summer season, of course, the cathedral opens up its two outdoor spaces for various events. The Millennium Courtyard will provide a spacious location for exhibitions and live performances in the summer months, with room for up to 400 guests.

On the south side, the Churchyard is a delight in the sunshine: a space in which 600 guests can enjoy the herb garden and other natural features as they socialise. Drinks receptions and barbecues find their natural homes here, with refreshments accompanied by jazz in the evenings – all with the backdrop of the monumental cathedral behind.

Whatever the event, and whichever space is chosen, the constant harmony between the contemporary and the historic truly makes for a unique London event experience.

Don't hesitate to get in touch with Southwark Cathedral to make an event enquiry for the one-of-a-kind venue.