From quirky independent bars in the Old City to secret gardens in Clifton Village, there’s a host of unusual event spaces hidden across Bristol. Booking one of these is a certain way to add some extra intrigue and excitement to your next event.

Here’s a look at some of the best-kept secret event spaces in and around the city.

The Hide at Bristol Zoo Gardens

With a fitting name for a secret venue, The Hide is the lesser-known event space at Bristol Zoo Gardens. Delegates arrive at the restaurant via a wander through the Zoo, passing animals like red pandas, flamingos and gorillas en route. The wildlife theme continues inside with nature-inspired interiors and five themed zones based on animal habitats.

The Hide also has augmented reality screens, wall murals and animal sounds, adding an interactive element to your events. There’s room for up to 300 delegates, making a great setting for large networking events and parties alike.

The Hide event venue at Bristol Zoo Gardens

Image - The Hide at Bristol Zoo Gardens, credit Barbara Evripidou

The Strawberry Thief

Behind the doors of this Broad Street bar lies an inviting event space with bohemian interiors. The décor gives a nod to the street’s past as a hub for printmaking, with William Morris wallpaper covering the walls (the print is called Strawberry Thief, hence the name).  

They’re known for their award-winning selection of Belgian and UK craft beers here and can also cater your event with a menu of seasonal, sustainable food. Seating up to 70 people, it’s perfect for intimate events with a relaxed atmosphere.

Event space at The Strawberry Thief

Image - The Strawberry Thief

Thornbury Castle

How about hosting an event at a Tudor castle? Thornbury Castle has an amazing history – it was once the honeymoon retreat of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn. Among the many rooms are event spaces with real regal grandeur, including the Tudor Hall and Baron’s Sitting Room.

The castle is due to reopen this year with added luxury and sophistication following an extensive refurbishment. Residential packages are available so delegates can experience an overnight stay in sumptuous bedchambers and the stunning grounds are also available to hire for team building or corporate fun days.

The Baron's Sitting Room at Thornbury Castle

Image - Thornbury Castle 

The Gold Bar at Bristol Harbour Hotel

Based in the historic Old City and once part of the former Lloyds bank building, old meets new in this stylish bar with its high ceilings and exquisite masonry work alongside colourful Art Deco-inspired furnishings. Formed of a labyrinth of rooms, your delegates can move between cosy nooks as well as out to a suntrap terrace in summer, with a cocktail in hand. It’s a favourite for laid-back networking events as well as parties.

Seating at The Gold Bar at Bristol Harbour Hotel

Image - The Gold Bar at Bristol Harbour Hotel

De Vere Tortworth Court

Among the beautiful rooms at this Grade II* listed hotel is The Orangery. This ornate conservatory stands alone from the house and dates back to 1874, retaining many period features. Plan corporate events and private dinners alike under the ornamental glass ceiling, with outdoor dining and seating also available just outside too.

De Vere Tortworth Court is a popular choice for those after a rural residential retreat that’s still in easy reach of the city (it’s just a 20-minute drive to the city centre), as guests can bed down in the contemporary country-inspired rooms. The 30-acre grounds, where there's also a Victorian arboretum, make an inspiring setting for team building activities too.

The Orangery at De Vere Tortworth Court

Image - The Orangery at De Vere Tortworth Court

Bristol Old Vic

Treat your delegates to a behind-the-scenes look at the oldest working theatre in the English speaking world. Bristol Old Vic’s expert guides will let you in on backstage secrets, taking you to usually hidden areas and sharing fascinating stories from its 255-year history.

A less well-kept secret is the beautiful Coopers’ Hall. This Grade I listed room actually dates back even further than the theatre itself, first built as a Georgian banqueting hall in 1744. An elegant renovation has turned it into one of the most coveted event spaces in the city centre. Both the Foyle Room and Auditorium are also available to hire.

Front of Bristol Old Vic at night

Image - Bristol Old Vic, credit Jon Craig

No.4 Clifton Village at The Rodney Hotel

Two event rooms are hidden inside this Georgian townhouse hotel in the affluent suburb of Clifton Village. The Admiral is the grander of the two, seating up to 50 people, while The Galley is suited to intimate meetings and dinners. In either setting, you can order food from the award-winning kitchen, with menus made up of ingredients by local suppliers.

Outside, the charming secret walled garden is ideal for summer parties. It’s available to hire on Thursdays and Saturdays with BBQ food and drink packages to choose from.

Dining table at The Admiral Room, No.4 Clifton Village

Image - No.4 Clifton Village

The Milk Thistle

Transport your delegates back to the prohibition era at this clandestine cocktail joint. The Milk Thistle is unassuming from the outside, making your entrance into an eclectic speakeasy style bar all the more impressive.

Book one of the three event spaces here – The Attic, The Lounge or The Parlour – for a truly unique twist on corporate events. Known for their decadent cocktails, the team here can also offer drink making masterclasses and tastings, with food available from sister restaurant The Ox too.

The Milk Thistle cocktail bar set up for a business event

Image - The Milk Thistle 

Wills Memorial Building at University of Bristol

If you’ve ever visited Bristol, chances are you’ll have seen the dramatic Wills Memorial Building standing tall at the top of Park Street. What you might not know is that this iconic university building is also a conference and event venue. The grand neo-gothic Great Hall and Reception Room feature panelled walls, vaulted ceilings and lead windows, making for a memorable conference, exhibition or banquet space.

The Great Hall at Will Memorial Building

Image - Wills Memorial Building

Clifton Observatory

Host a meeting with one of the best views in the city at Clifton Observatory, looking out from one Bristol landmark to another – Clifton Suspension Bridge. Book the rooftop terrace, which has space for up to 100 people, and your delegates can network with a panoramic backdrop of the bridge and the rest of Bristol.

Clifton Observatory is ideal for a spectacular summer party but also training days, conferences, meetings and more, with top facilities inside the William West event space.  

The rooftop terrace with view of Clifton Suspension Bridge at Clifton Observatory

Image - Clifton Observatory

The Lord Mayor’s Mansion House

Based between leafy Clifton Village and Durdham Downs, this exclusive venue is the official residence of Bristol’s Lord Mayor. It’s not just the grand rooms in the Victorian mansion house that you can hire. The peaceful grounds are home to a stunning secret garden where you can plan your outdoor events too.

View of The Lord Mayor's Mansion House and surrounding lawn

Image - The Lord Mayor's Mansion House, credit Life in Focus Photography

To discuss hosting your event in Bristol or the surrounding areas contact the Meet Bristol and Bath team on conference@meetbristol.co.uk or make an enquiry

Read more about Bristol event venues: 

Related

The Hide at Bristol Zoo Gardens
Restaurants & Bars
The Hide at Bristol Zoo Gardens

Looking for a relaxed, informal, fun venue? Whatever the occasion look no further than The Hide Restaurant at Bristol Zoo Gardens. Guests will enjoy a stroll along the terrace, taking in the sights and sounds of the Zoo on the way down to The Hide.

The Strawberry Thief
Restaurants & Bars
The Strawberry Thief

The Strawberry Thief love the festive period as they trim up the bar with fragrant pine and mistletoe; and the bar comes alive with merry friends old and new enjoying their indulgent delights.

Thornbury Castle
Hotel
Thornbury Castle aerial view

Thornbury Castle has all the majesty of a royal residence. A wonderful retreat from everyday routine.

The Gold Bar at Bristol Harbour Hotel
Restaurants & Bars
Bristol Harbour Hotel Gold Bar weddings

This beautiful bar can now be hired exclusively to you for a range of different events. Be it informal after work drinks for 80 guests or a boardroom meeting for 10 in the stunning blue room the space is super flexible and sure to wow your guests.

De Vere Tortworth Court
Hotel
De Vere Tortworth Court exterior

De Vere Tortworth Court is a historic hotel in stunning surroundings – a place where a centuries-old story meets an exceptionally modern experience.

Bristol Old Vic Events
Creative & Cultural
Bristol Old Vic exterior

Opened in 1766, Bristol Old Vic is the country’s oldest continuously working theatre offering an historic venue, central location and flexible event spaces, ranging in capacity from 12 to 550.

No.4 Clifton Village at The Rodney Hotel
Hotel
No 4 Conference room

The Georgian townhouse hotel offers spacious and light accommodation and two fully equipped function rooms.

The Milk Thistle Events
Restaurants & Bars
The Milk Thistle Events

Hidden in plain sight and named as one of the UK’s best bars, spread across four floors of the historic merchant building, the Milk Thistle is the perfect location to impress your guests and give them a memorable experience.

University of Bristol
Outdoor Space
Great Hall Dinner

With its impressive property portfolio, the University offers a diverse array of excellent venues for conferences, meetings and social events.

Clifton Observatory Event Space
Outdoor Space
Clifton Observatory - Conferences & Events

Clifton Observatory has launched its new conference & meeting facilities for 2019. With DDR’s available for training days, conferences, meetings and more.

The Lord Mayor's Mansion House
Summer Parties
The Lord Mayor's Mansion House

The Lord Mayor’s Mansion is one of Bristol’s most exclusive and unique corporate venues & integrates the grandeur of the Victorian era with the luxury, style & service you would expect from the city’s most prestigious address.