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The perfect summer party at Secret River Garden

Nestled among gardens and woodland, a secret venue pops up during the summer months. The Secret River Garden venue is a wild riverside lawn and woodland right on the banks of the Thames that feels unchanged by time.

On selected dates two elegant marquees are installed, making it possible to host corporate events in an idyllic setting that is perfect for summer parties and escaping from the stresses of work. The venue is the epitome of wild and romantic and is the ideal space for a summer event with an Arcadian quality.

As a tidal venue there are just a few dates that we can guarantee no flooding so it truly is an exclusive venue. This month we transformed it into the perfect summer party venue for our client who were looking for a venue different for the standard central London outdoor spaces.

Our brief was to create a party that was highly engaging from start to finish. The client loved the natural elements of the venue such as the overhanging trees by the river and embraced the opportunity to create a rustic and stylish event filled with entertainment.

To make things as easy as possible we provided coaches to collect guests from the city and transport them to a magical world of secret doorways, undiscovered trails, walled gardens and hidden delights. As the garden really is off the beaten track and easily missed we also had to enforce an element of the practical just to be sure everyone arrived safely so we also provided human signage to point the way!

As guests entered the garden they were greeted by acoustic band Tommy & Sons who, equipped with their upright bass and banjo, delivered a lively set with their own brand of Mumford & Sons style covers and got everyone instantly in the party mood.

On the sweeping lawn we set up a number of games including table tennis behind the trees and tug of war & croquet on the lawn. A bar was also set up in this area so guests could also simply enjoy the afternoon sunshine and watch the boats go by through the dappled light of the willow trees. Those that wished to explore the area discovered giant chess and Jenga hidden in the woodland area and a swing hanging from the branches.

One of the things that sets the Secret River Garden apart from other venues is its riverside location. You can arrive by boat, take part in water activities such as rowing or paddle boarding, or you can simply enjoy the slower pace of river life and watch the swans glide by, glimpse herons diving for fish or if you’re lucky you might see the paddle steam boat pass by. As a nod to its watery location we filled an old rowing boat with ice and used it as a nautical themed help-yourself beer bucket. Wandering over to grab a beer almost counted as a strenuous activity for our guests who came determined to chill and relax.

As the afternoon turned to early evening guests were invited to follow a winding path through the woodland as the stunning main marque was revealed with an outside bar and BBQ set up. Dinner was served in the marquee which we’d styled with bunting and bunches of wild British garden style flowers and guests enjoyed a mixture of BBQ treats including Moroccan Lamb skewers, King Prawn Caesar Salad and mint marinated halloumi with chunky courgette, peppers & aubergine.

As the light started to fade we lit the real wood fire and served gourmet marshmallows by Marshmallowist who are known for their incredible handcrafted mallows which have a souffle-like texture and incredible flavours such as Blueberry & Gin, Strawberries & Cream and Passionfruit and Ginger. Guests loved releasing their inner-child and gathered round to toast them on the fire. And as night fell the band struck up again, tempting everyone onto the dance floor inside the marquee to celebrate summer.