Civil Partnership Receptions

Civil Partnership Reception Venue

Venue Hire

London Canal Museum is a great place to celebrate your civil partnership or to have your ceremony. We have a great track record with many civil partnerships having been celebrated in the museum in a variety of ways. You can arrive by boat for an extra special touch. Even if a cruise won't fit into your schedule, the attractive, tranquil urban beauty spot that is Battlebridge Basin is a great setting. Choose a reception venue to celebrate a milestone in your life that will be interesting for your guests, and memorable for the rest of it.

The ground floor is ideally suited to receiving your guests. There is ample circulating space and plenty to look at. Conversation between guests who have not previously met will be encouraged by our exhibits and the spectacular opening in the floor which reveals the preserved Victorian ice well below. The rear windows look out onto Battlebridge Basin with its colourful canal boats, and, weather and time of day permitting, guests will be able to take in the view and some fresh air by strolling out to the waterside. The first floor is the area where the main party is likely to take place. There is room for 120 people to be seated at tables, or a similar number can be seated theatre-style to watch a ceremony. If you opt for a buffet style unseated meal up to 200 guests can be accommodated.

Typically a reception-only event starts with a drinks party on the ground floor, then guests move upstairs to eat. If you have your ceremony at the museum this is likely to take place on the first floor, after which guests move to the ground floor to begin the celebration. After the meal, space is cleared for dancing. However there is a great deal of flexibility - you can plan the event in accordance with your own preferences, from a formal dinner to a drag show, or maybe a bit of both!

Key Facts

The Bar

You can set up a bar and we suggest you ask your caterer to arrange staffing. Tables are normally all that is needed. We have plastic tubs available to use as large ice buckets for chilling wine. Provided that the host is paying for all the alcoholic drink, you do not need a licence. Alcohol cannot be sold in the museum without a licence. If you wish to have a cash bar this can often be arranged with a local public house. Nearby bar and club Central Station has provided this service at the museum regularly. A cash bar is subject to the Temporary Event Notice procedure under the Licencing Act 2003. It cannot operate without this.

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Typical Timetable - Reception Only

A typical schedule looks like this, but it's your party - so you can plan it as you wish!

Approximate time Activity
1300 Caterers begin delivering to museum kitchen and meeting room (used as a temporary store)
1400 or 1500 Marriage ceremony at Registry Office, or other location
1500 or 1600 Optional boat trip to museum to arrive 1700 or later
1630 Museum closes to general public. Caterers begin setting up museum first floor with dining tables or other preparations.

Phase 1 - Reception

1645 or later Guests arrive at London Canal Museum. Champagne reception on the ground floor

Phase 2 - Meal & speaches

1745 or, usually, later Guests go upstairs. Meal and speaches
2030 Guests come downstairs. Cake cutting ceremony in photogenic position. Whilst this is taking place caterers clear the dining tables and fold some of them away to make extra space for dancing. Bar is set up on the first floor.

Phase 3 - Dancing

2100 Guests go back upstairs. Dancing on the first floor.
2300, midnight, or 0100 End of event. Bar closes 15 minutes or so before the finishing time. Guests depart. Minicab numbers and telephone are available at reception.

If the ceremony takes place in the museum this begins at 1700 or 1800 and the rest of the celebration follows

Doing Things Your Way

Within reason we are highly flexible and open to your ideas about decoration, entertainment, or other ways to make your special occasion different. We are happy to discuss your ideas for special lighting arrangements, furniture, video displays, or other features that will make the party special. Equally, if you want tradition, formality, and beautiful surroundings to be the hallmark of your day, we can help you plan that too!

Reasonable Charges

We charge a fixed price for venue hire and our rates are very reasonable compared to other high-quality venues of similar size and standard. Because you can choose your own caterer, you can shop around for the best deal on catering. The catering is often the greatest expense.

Planning Advice

Our long experience is available to help you, if you wish. Based on this experience we have a page of civil partnership planning tips available.

couple surrounded by friends, family, bacground of exhibits and narrowboat

Photo by In the Pink Photography

Arrive by boat

A relaxing cruise in the middle of a busy day; a charming and memorable feature of your wedding day; a delight to adults and children alike; something special that will make your special day different from all the others that your family and friends have attended: that's a what arriving by boat has to offer. The most common starting points are Camden Town, Islington, Paddington and Regent's Park. Marylebone (Westminster), Islington, and Hackney registry offices are within 15 minutes' walk of the canal. Guests can therefore travel from the ceremony to the reception by boat. You arrive at the museum's own wharf. Refreshments can be enjoyed on board by arrangement with the boat company. A large boat can carry around 90 guests or alternatively you could book a smaller boat for just the happy couple and a few VIP guests to be greeted by the other guests on arrival at the museum. There is no more romantic way to arrive at your reception.

Boat with traditional building in the background, other boats to the side, arriving at the museum

Other useful pages

Make an enquiry

Music Party Dates Available

Large Picture Gallery

Information Menu

A welcome assured

We welcome all types of client and do not discriminate on grounds of sex, sexual orientation, race, religion, age etc. and never have done. All our customers receive the same high standard of service.

Ceremonies at the Museum

The museum is licensed for civil partnership ceremonies and the Registrar from the London Borough of Islington will conduct a ceremony at 1700, 1800 or 1900. We charge an additional fee to host the ceremony and this includes labour for the preparation of the room and set-up of furniture. See ourcharges page. We can accommodate 140 guests for the ceremony (120 reccommended), which is normally held on the first floor. Small ceremonies can be held on the ground floor at 1800 or 1900.

Times and Availability

The museum is open to the public every day except Mondays, from 1000 to 1630. The museum is available for private functions from 1630 onwards. Our conference room is available to be booked for storage on the day of the event and also afterwards. This means you can have things delivered before 1630 on the day, your caterers can start preparing, and everyone can be ready more quickly once the hire period starts. If your guests are due to arrive before all the preparations have been completed, on the first floor, they will be happy enjoying a drinks reception on the ground floor whilst catering staff complete their work. Guests should not normally arrive before 1630.

chocolate cake in front of narrowboat

Green Civil Partnership Venue

Green Tourism for London logo, silver

We have been accredited as a green venue by the Green Tourism for London scheme, a part of the national Green Tourism Busness Scheme. We will make sure that as much of the waste from your reception as possible is recycled. Please discuss with us ways in which we can make your reception as eco-friendly as possible. For your travel to the ceremony, museum, and for guests' transport we suggest Green Tomato Cars, London's green private hire company.