Drinks Reception and Gala Dinner

Drinks Reception

About the Venue

Portsmouth has a strong naval tradition and maritime heritage. Delegates will be able to experience some of that history at the Drinks Reception onboard the legendary HMS Warrior.

Warrior, launched in 1860, was the pride of Queen Victoria’s fleet. Powered by steam and sail, she was the largest, fastest and most powerful ship of her day and had a lasting influence on naval architecture and design. Work and life on board reflected both the changes the Royal Navy experienced as it evolved into a professional service and shifts in Victorian society.

Painstakingly restored in Hartlepool and back home in Portsmouth since 1987, Warrior is a unique survivor of the once formidable Victorian Black Battlefleet and now serves as a museum ship, visitor attraction, popular private hire venue and more.


The Reception will start at 6.45pm on the 1st of April 2020.


Delegates will be asked to indicate their intention to attend the drinks reception when registering for the conference.

As the HMS Warrior is located on a working dockyard, delegates will need to provide photo identification in order to access the venue.


Due to the historic nature of the ship, access can be difficult. Ramps provide access to the upper deck, although tides may make the gradient steep. A stairlift is available between the upper deck and main gun deck for wheelchair users. Stairs are generally steep throughout the ship. Braille and large print deck plans are available on request.

Further details on accessibility are available here.  

Toilet Facilities

There are limited toilet facilities on board the HMS Warrior. There is one toilet on the lower deck and an accessible toilet on the main gun deck.

Gala Dinner

About the Venue

Portsmouth Guildhall, a majestic building at the heart of Portsmouth, is most famous today as the city’s premier entertainment and events venue, but it has a long and rich history. It was originally completed in 1890 and designed in the neo-classical style by architect, William Hill, who was inspired to improve upon an almost-identical model that he had designed as Bolton Town Hall in 1873. After the Second World War, the building was rebuilt and re-opened by HM The Queen on 8th June 1959.

The very walls of the Guildhall reflect the building’s central place in the city’s identity. The glittering Star Chamber holds a mural which shows some of the city’s most famous historical moments, while the Chamber itself was inspired by the city motto, Heaven’s Light Our Guide. The Guildhall is also home to some of the city’s best loved historical treasures, including the city of Portsmouth’s Civic Plate, which is nationally renowned as one of the finest collections in the country.


The Conference Dinner will take place at 7pm on the 2nd of April.


Delegates will be asked to indicate their intention to attend the gala dinner when registering for the conference.