Picture this. You’re on the tube. Maybe it’s been a long day, or you’re just starting it with your morning commute. You hop on at Bond St in the heart of central London - on your way to Wembley Park station. Close your eyes. Headphones on. Ready for the long haul journ--
“This is Wembley Park”. Oh. in about 15 minutes you’re here, call it 10 from Baker St!
That’s right. Just a stone’s throw from just about anywhere in central London is the magnificent Wembley Park where the DW team spent a fantastic 24 hours recently - all courtesy of the team at Destination Wembley. We were seriously impressed by this place, check it out..
7pm - Arrival and checking into Novotel
No matter how much we hype it up or tell you how cool we thought the vibe was - we won’t be able to do justice just how great our experience was. Wembley Park is something you have to try for yourself, prepare to have any preconceptions about it being an area that is just a football stadium thrown out the window.
So, after we disembarked said 15-minute train from the heart of the Capital, we arrived and walked out onto Wembley way and were greeted by that stunning, now iconic view. With fresh modern buildings flanking the famous road (which is actually called Olympic way, not Wembley Way… who knew?)
We wanted to get stuck into everything this destination has to offer right there and then, to be honest - but first, we had to check in for our stay at Novotel Wembley and get a good night’s rest before a big day of exploring. We had a great time at this Novotel, honestly, the main thing we couldn’t get our head around was the price! What a bargain for a night in the capital, knowing how close to the centre we truly wear, this is an amazing place to stay, even if you’re not planning on working in and around Wembley Park.
The staff at the hotel were wonderful and made sure our every need was met, the lobby and the rooms were fresh, sleek and clean. Perfect for our short stay. Before bed, we grabbed a cheeky Decaf from the Black Sheep Coffee over the road and headed to bed!
8am - Bread Ahead… for three sleepy heads.
We woke up after an amazing night's sleep and woke up and at-’em straight away after a nice little explore of all the Novotel had to offer. First things first, we hit Bread Ahead, a lovely coffee/bakery spot. We fuelled our start with a couple of ‘Delegate Wranglers Approved’ (for services to hungry Event Profs) croissants and a cup of coffee to go.
As we headed towards our next destination, we could really, for the first time get a proper feel of what the area around Wembley is like. Coming here, we wouldn’t have been able to tell you too much about the place, but as soon as we strolled around Wembley, we fell in love with the vibe - seriously. Everything here feels so clean, funky, professional, new. There’s something about it, the area was cool with a vibrance and a life to it that we really enjoyed.
9am - Celebrating Boxpark.
This place is iconic. You might recall the pints flying through the air after an England triumph with your eyes closed - if you don’t count the games we lost – but this place is SO much more than that!
What really blew us away about Boxpark was its total devotion to innovation - and all-round funky vibe - it’s a real boundary pushing venue with so much to offer, and a massively versatile vibe to it that we loved.
The ground floor alone, which you’ve probably seen before, can up to 2000, and features multiple huge, high quality and extremely reliable screens, with a massive bar in the venue’s centre that breaks the space up perfectly. Boxpark has 20,000 square feet dedicated to event space, making this the ultimate fan park arena, with a massively versatile ability to host any kind of large event.
Think Boxpark is just for footy? Think again, as we were shown around this place, we found the multitude of fantastic events that they host, from poetry to House DJ’s, to grime nights, you name it, they put it on, and draw fantastic visitors from all over London. We loved how fresh they kept things feeling, despite being a huge name in the event space world, Boxpark still felt like it was on the proper, proper forefront of the next thing, with its finger on the pulse of coolness.
And that’s just the downstairs, upstairs there’s BadAxe throwing, Golf, Meetspace VR (including an awesome arcade…). The upstairs balcony at Boxpark goes all the way round and is also a superb place to hold an event, maybe of a more relaxed environment - with gorgeous views over Wembley Park - this space can be hired out in sections - to suit your event’s needs.
11am The OVO Arena Wembley
If Boxpark is a modern iconic venue, then this is an all timer… who hasn’t played at Wembley Arena? Did you know that you can hire it for your events… and that this is a stunning venue for all big conferences from 1000 people upwards? We didn’t… well - until we visited.
On our visit, we checked out this massive, we mean massive, 12,500-seater venue right next to Wembley stadium. An Arena isn’t this venue’s only use, the food space can be set up into a fantastic -seater cabaret dinner space for private events - think huge awards dinners or industry meetups and networking.
One thing we really liked about the OVO arena was the great use of tech throughout, and it wasn’t just in huge flashy screens, which they of course had, or a world beating sound system, which it of course had, but it was the little touches - like really smart curtain/draping system that divided the room up and obscured unwanted views of empty space turning this place into a ballroom style venue, it just blew us away.
What was also made clear to us was that this fantastic space wasn’t just for massive events either, the lounges and lobby spaces were also really cool spaces for much smaller events, maybe a tighter knit conference or a smaller company get-together, spaces like the Sky VIP Lounge had a really cool sense of class and a premium feel to them. We can definitely recommend it here, this isn’t just a spot where every musical legend has rocked, it’s more… and that’s saying something!
1pm Loving the view from Hilton Wembley
After a morning of exploring that flew by, the end wasn’t in sight - and we didn’t want it to be.
Next stop was the really modern and vibrant Hilton Wembley – literally a stone’s throw away from Wembley Stadium. So, we definitely didn’t have to trek too far.
As we entered, we were met with their gorgeous, super bright lobby. It's a really lovely space with floor-to-ceiling windows. You can see straight away why this hotel is used by football teams and artists playing at Wembley Stadium or the OVO Arena Wembley.
As we had a bit more of an investigation around the place, we checked out some of this impressive venue’s event spaces…14 meeting rooms including an amazing Grand Ballroom which is just - wow. Really brilliant, different lighting setup with splashes of panelled wood around the walls really give this space a timeless, nearly regal feel - you could be anywhere in the world. The ballroom hosts dinner for up to people – and doesn’t have any pesky pillars to obstruct a fantastic night of socialising - there’s also a large foyer area outside for pre-drinks and the like.
The hotel itself has 361 bedrooms and while we didn’t have the pleasure of staying in one, the layouts were fresh, simple and light - can’t ask for more in such a fantastic location.
We stopped off quickly at the Hilton’s fantastic rooftop bar – Sky Bar 9 – it's an indoor/outdoor space with some of the best views of Wembley Park and beyond. But if you didn’t fancy it here, Icons Bar, Grill and Terrace as well as The Association Restaurant could both be fantastic spots to grab a drink and a bite, which we will for sure be checking out next time.
As we left the Hilton, we checked out the designer outlet village right nearby, with lots of fantastic shops and even more bargains, this was a really stylish corner of the area.
4pm: All around The Drum at Wembley
Every so often find places, event spaces described as hidden gems, the term almost feels cliche now. But we knew as soon as we stepped foot in The Drum that this really was authentically that, one of London’s best kept secrets.
Straight out of Silicon Valley, this huge space opens up onto a beautiful atrium as you enter, loads of natural light shines through this glass fronted section of the building in an entryway that is bound to give clients or delegates a wow, it sure did us.
Two of the most impressive spaces in he rum are the Conference Hall and the Grand Hall. starting with the latter, this gorgeous double height space provided an amazing spot, perfect for conferences, awards, dinners etc. Not just this, the room was perfectly circular, making this indoor events space, (see ‘he rum’) this room was unlike anything we’ve seen before. To top it all off too, there’s plenty of natural daylight which can easily be obscured for late night - or for that intimate, classy feel at your next event.
Alternatively, The Conference Hall is another space flooded with natural light. It’s a stunning room with a high ceiling, impressive, exposed beam work and a fantastic skylight that shines down on the space for meetings and work to get done.
A quirk we loved about this room in The Drum was that it often is used for filming and can double up as a courtroom or state enquiry room. And to continue along the same path in the Film Industry, this room is also often hired for screenings! Seating up to 50, if your event is big, but not GINORMOUS (see Wembley stadium/Wembley Arena) this is the perfect spot for you.
Adding further to the quirkiness of the Wembley area, The Drum also houses Brent Council, not that you’d know or feel it, the building relinquishes the antiquated old ideas about boring old council buildings + you honestly wouldn’t even know they were based here. That’s one of the things we loved as a key takeaway from this destination, the whole area, each venue coffee shop etc just feels unafraid to be bold and do something different - we love innovation and Destination Wembley legitimately felt innovative.
5pm on-point, off-pitch, premium perfection at Wembley Stadium
Okay. The big one, we really don’t need to describe the way Wembley Stadium looks from the outside, everyone knows it, even non-football fans.
We had anticipated the breathtaking views, perfectly manicured pitch, gigantic 90,000 capacity and boy, did they deliver. But what really blew us away was the incredible high-end meeting spaces that totally blew our minds, inside the stadium. The feel, the service, the amazing food (it was tea-time, we were hungry!) everything about this spot was just spot-on.
There were so many meeting spaces to choose from, it was hard to pick just one, so here’s a few of our absolute favourites here.
Firstly, the Bobby Moore Room, Wembley bill this as their ‘grandest’ space - and they’re spot on. Gorgeous two-way views, out onto the pitch and then back across the cityscape of North London, this two-tiered space can provide banqueting facilities for up to 1000 people, cocktails from the beautiful bars for 2000 or a conference for 750.
We found the staff across Wembley Stadium to be incredible, efficient and respectful. They were so friendly, always offering a helping hand, and experts at their job to serve up what Wembley clearly intend to be some premium level service.
Wembley stadium also has over 160, yep, you heard us, 160 executive suites for game day or general use, they felt perfect for a high quality away day/meeting space or a hybrid space to combine work and fun. Wembley also had some other slightly larger spaces perfect for teaching, pitching or presenting, like the Pitch Side Room, which had us with the pun, let alone the functional space, with some great kit.
Another space we adored was the Great Hall. We've covered plenty of great hall/ballroom style areas so far in this article from all across the Wembley area. There are so many options, but the Great Hall in Wembley Stadium has a few features which make it unique and fresh from the other fantastic options. Firstly, some incredible catering for the 1100 people that it can serve seated from Delaware North, who provide the HUMONGOUS scale catering across this building. Another well-loved aspect was the statement ceiling and lighting - and if you need any more convincing this is an unforgettable space, just turn around to see the stunning views over Wembley Way, Boxpark, and of the rest of the Capital in the background. As we looked over this amazing vista, it felt like a fitting close to a day spent across what might just be, our new favourite area in London.
We left the incredible structure and made our way to the station with the lasting thought that while Destination Wembley had so much more to offer than just the world-famous stadium, it was not hard to see why this space was the crown jewel in this areas crown, and a standard setting venue for high quality, immaculately executed events, whatever the size, or type.
As we took the train back home, we couldn’t shake the feeling that we’d just spent the day in not only one of the coolest, but also might just be one of the most functional areas in the UK from an events point of view, between all of these incredible venues, and so much more than we didn’t get to explore. There was such an amazing multitude of choices here that totally left us spellbound.
Destination Wembley has got to be on your list the next time you’re planning any kind of event, anywhere in town, with this lively hub just a few minutes from the centre of London.
Find out more about these fab venues here: