On the banks of the Thames, in the heart of one of London’s most fashionable districts, stands the Royal Hospital Chelsea. It’s beautiful and historic architecture makes it an incredibly unique venue for any event, both inside and out. Rocket has been catering at Royal Hospital Chelsea for over 10 years, and in that time we have hosted many magical parties.
We know the venue like the back of our hands, but no one knows things better than the RHC insiders. So we asked Felicity Hobbs (Events Manager at Royal Hospital Chelsea) to share with you her top tips for throwing an event at this iconic setting.
This stunning grade I and II listed site has been hosting events for over 300 years and is home to the Chelsea pensioners, where some 300 army veterans live today. The beautiful architectural legacy that is the Royal Hospital Chelsea is full of heritage and guests are always entranced by the history surrounding the site and hundreds of years of culture that seeps through the grounds. Often some of the simplest events are the best as the venue spaces speak for themselves and don’t need too much fuss or decoration!
Royal Hospital Chelsea is home to the hugely loved Chelsea Flower Show. A week of floral madness descends on the grounds every year, where spaces are hired for the most luxe and exclusive events of the week. In the Great Hall, the high ceilings and wood panelled walls provide the perfect backdrop for stunning, soaring floral displays, and in the sumptuous State Apartments the tables are exquisitely laid for intimate, low lit dinners. It is always such a treat to see plans and designs come to life!
… we would recommend filling in the event enquiry form. The best way to reach us is to fill out our quick and easy event enquiry form via our website and one of us will get back to you as soon as possible. We can then advise on availability, which venue is best and recommend suppliers etc. Or just give us a call direct 020 7881 5350!
… we have everything covered to make it a smooth experience. We include security, porters and cleaning in the venue hire fees as well as a dedicated Event Manager per event so there aren’t any hidden costs when we quote. We want the client to know the fees up front so they can budget for their event easily.
… we cannot take bookings during May, June or July. Every year we host The Chelsea Flower Show and it totally takes over the space! So we can’t take any weddings during May, June or July as the grounds aren’t up to scratch but by August/September things are usually a little more normal.
… the Royal Hospital Chelsea is suitable for both intimate and grand events. We have seven different spaces to hire, so tell us your vision and we can recommend what will work best with your capacities and type of event. From small civil ceremony weddings in Wren House, to a stunning Gala dinner in the Great Hall, we can host it! What makes us so unique is that we also have Ranelagh Gardens, an outdoor space that fits a marquee for up to 400 guests in which is pretty rare in Zone 1.
… there are a few protocols to stick to. As a heritage venue with so much history that is still in use as a care home for war veterans, we do have a list of protocols we stick to for all events. For example, no red wine or beetroot canapés in Figure Court as the white stone is incredibly easy to stain! Also, we can’t allow dancing in the State Apartments as the floor is antique wood and high heels do damage.
"Great event last night. A massive success. Venue inspiring. The catering was fantastic particularly the Jambon. Please pass my thanks on to all the team."
… Royal Hospital Chelsea works with an accredited list of suppliers such as Rocket, many of whom have worked with them for many years. They know the spaces, our protocols and give great advice so they really help the client make their event incredible. We also have florists, marquee suppliers, AV and entertainment companies that we have great relationships with. To help client’s decide the best fit for them, our team of four RHC Event Managers can recommend a supplier easily based on your event’s requirements.