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Beyond Retro: Imperial War Museum

Beyond Retro: Imperial War Museum

If you’ve ever wanted to party like it’s 1940, you can this Christmas! And in the most perfect location to boot – the Imperial War Museum (IWM) London.

Together with Peyton Events, the museum’s catering and events partner, the IWM London is taking its party packages one step further this festive season.

Marta Cembala, general manager of Peyton and Byrne, goes into detail: “Every year, IWM London offer Christmas party packages, or alternatively a bespoke package option is available, tailored to the client’s budget and individual requirements. This year, we are offering a vintage Christmas party package and prices start from £98pp plus VAT for standing receptions and £156pp plus VAT for seated dinners.”

IWM London tells the story of those whose lives have been shaped by conflict, from WW1 to the present day, through permanent and temporary exhibitions. Now, several spaces – from the soaring Atrium to the sophisticated Orpen Boardroom – are available for exclusive hire to party hosts for either drinks receptions or more formal, seated Christmas dinners.

For receptions, along with prosecco served in vintage-style champagne saucers, organisers can opt for either canapés, bowl food or a combination of both, while those choosing a formal three-course meal can take their pick from starters such as beef fillet carpaccio and mains like slow-roast shoulder of pork with a caperberry, mint and basil dressing.

Whichever party option hosts go for, a lot of thought has clearly gone into ensuring guests are treated to an extravagant affair.

“High quality has always been the cornerstone of everything that Peyton and Byrne do and the company has built its reputation on offering the highest standards when it comes to catering,” says Cembala. “We pride ourselves on a very thorough selection process to ensure we always use the best produce, sourced from a small range of local suppliers.”

In addition to IWM London, Peyton and Byrne operates across a wide range of prestigious sites, including the Wallace Collection, The National Gallery and the Royal Academy, and the offerings are unique to each one.

Cembala elaborates: “Although we do share best practice and a range of products, each site has a very specific offering, created to fit with the venue as each has different requirements. At the same time, each venue is also able to provide bespoke catering through Peyton Events for special events, meetings, private celebrations or conferences.”

For events at IWM London, it can hold large seated dinners for up to 320 people or standing receptions for up to 1,000 across the whole venue; for more intimate numbers, there are smaller rooms suitable for dinners for up to 80. Along with the events that take place outside of opening hours, it can also hold daytime meetings for as few as 10 guests through to 200.

As far as experiential evenings go, spending Yule time at one of the capital’s most iconic venues is pretty special – but the opportunity to step back in time is truly next level. This was a time where bluebirds flew over the white cliffs of Dover, lipstick was a luxury and Land Girls danced with the Home Guard to the Chattanooga Choo Choo.

The Peyton Events team can even provide additional 1940s style treats, such as live big bands, performing classic hits from the era with a few modern favourites thrown in and pre-party dance classes for those keen to throw some authentic shapes on the dance floor. Guests can sip Champagne in the shadow of WW2 aircraft and dance to the swinging sounds of the forties, all within sight of an original Enigma code breaker. Where else can bring this era to life but IWM London!

With constant reports stating that consumers are more interested in things to do, rather than things to buy (in fact, compared to five years ago, spend on leisure has increased 17%), IWM London and Peyton Events have really created Christmas party packages to remember. With food and immersive experience more than covered, guests can see the year out not with a fizzle, but with a bang.


While evening events such as seated dinners and drinks receptions can be held at the museum outside of normal opening hours, the Café at IWM London is only open during the museum’s opening hours. As entry to the museum is free, visitors to the museum and the general public can use the Café at any time while also taking in the glorious views.

“The Café overlooks the main atrium so is the perfect lunch spot, while an outdoor terrace is also available,” says Cembala. “The terrace can also be used for an end-of-the-day private drinks reception for anyone holding a meeting, conference or event at the venue.”

Counter is the style of service and of the offering, she says: “The Café offers a selection of classic British cakes and puddings, sourdough pizzas, seasonal salads, handmade sandwiches, classic pies and hot food cooked on a charcoal grill. Drinks include a large selection of fine teas and speciality coffee, as well as fresh juices, craft beers and biodynamic wines.”

There is also a range of vegetarian and gluten-free options and, alongside the regular menu, there is the option for a special menu for group bookings and an afternoon tea package.


Stone-baked sourdough pizza – local English sausage with onion marmalade/mozzarella with tomato tapenade and pesto mayonnaise
Jamaican-style grilled chicken with grilled vegetables and choice of salad
Superfood spelt salad with summer squash and grilled asparagus
Oven-roasted pork chops with roasted root vegetables and choice of salad
Speciality sourdough baguette – grilled summer vegetables and fresh tomato jam/pulled pork with honey mustard dressing

Purple sprouting broccoli with toasted flaked almonds
Cinnamon-spiced grilled vegetables
Wild garlic and sumac potatoes

IWM afternoon tea
Selection of finger sandwiches
Homemade scone
Peyton and Byrne mini cake selection


Festive canapés – warm Stilton croustade with cranberry chutney/hot smoked salmon fishcake with crushed green apple salsa/venison pâté on Parmesan and juniper shortbread
Bowl food – pine-roasted carrots with parsnip/caper and cauliflower crumble/Newlyn squid with confit garlic mayonnaise/turkey with prune stuffing and a tarragon jus

Dedham Vale beef fillet carpaccio with wild rocket and Parmesan
Slow-cooked salmon with heritage beetroot
Winter vegetable salad with shaved chestnuts, salsify, game crisps and blueberries

Main course
Roast turkey and trimmings
Slow-roast shoulder of Suffolk pork with Jersey Royals, green beans and a caperberry, mint and basil dressing
Roasted squash with goat’s cheese and wild mushroom

Hazelnut and chocolate torte
Christmas pudding tart
Grilled apricot and thyme frangipane
Coffee and mince pies