In this edition of unusual venue of the month, we talk to Leanne Kesterton, Sales and Marketing Manager at M Shed. M Shed is a world-class cultural landmark set on the harbour side in the heart of Bristol.


Lime Venue Portfolio: Hello Leanne, thank you for taking the time to talk to us. Please could you tell us all about M Shed and what does it offer for conference and events?

Leanne Kesterton: M Shed is a true Bristolian landmark and is much loved by residents and visitors alike. Originally a 1950’s transit shed, it lived as an industrial museum for many years before being completely renovated 5 years ago to become ‘Bristol’s newest museum’. The museum is dedicated to the heritage of Bristol, its people and their stories which is reflected in the three main galleries ‘Bristol Places’, ‘Bristol People’ and ‘Bristol Life’ which offer an unrivalled experience of all things ‘Brizzle’. Clients love the fact that we are a museum about Bristol, for Bristol and that their delegates can get a real taste for Bristol and its culture when visiting. However, it is our unparalleled view that is our most prized possession – our Events Suite and terrace offers guests panoramic views across the harbour and city scape making them feel like they are at the beating heart of the city.


LVP: That’s certainly a big change from a transit shed to ‘Bristol’s newest Museum.’ What sort of clients do you work with?

LK: Our client portfolio is extremely varied, it’s what makes working at a unique venue so interesting. One moment we could be speaking with a school prom committee on how to enhance their dinner dance and the next moment with a director at a multi-national company on their technology/ presentation sets for their guest speaker at a 5 day conference. The great thing about working in events is that you get to communicate with all different individuals and be involved in all styles of events, it’s very rewarding.


LVP: A school prom committee and a director at a multi-national company, undoubtedly are polar opposite clients. What do delegates and guests love about this venue?

LK: Delegates who come to the M Shed love it because we can offer something different. Not only can we offer a very modern event space that has a private terrace overlooking Bristol harbour side but we can also offer those little extras such as private exhibition views, crane rides, a steam train trip and boat displays. It gives the organiser and their delegates a different perspective on how conferences and events can run, rather than being based in bland hotel rooms. Our event space is based within the museum so guests can also learn about the history of Bristol while they are here.


Events Suite - M Shed


LVP: Crane rides, boat displays and a steam train trip, are definitely not things a hotel can offer to their delegates. Do you enjoy organising events at unusual venues?

LK: Organising events at unusual venues is amazing as it takes things away from the “everyday” feel. Organisers have told me in the past they like using unusual venues as their guests look forward to attending the venue as they enjoy something different. They arrive a little more ready for the event as their interest is already perked by the location, let alone the stunning views. For the clients who are looking for something a little more outside of the box, we may organise a delivery by crane for their guest speaker, a boat tour around the harbour or maybe a steam train ride onto their dinner venue!


LVP: Delivering your guest speaker by crane would unquestionably get your guests excited. What events work well at M Shed and why?

LK: M Shed offers a multipurpose suite so it can be suitable for a boardroom conference for 10 to a banqueting dinner for 180. We also have syndicate space that can be used for meetings with multiple sub meetings. Guests love it here as the private terrace overlooking the beautiful harbour side is breath-taking. The location is in Bristol city centre so it is easily accessible to guests who are travelling from another location by car, train, bus or plane. In a nutshell, when a client is looking for a true Bristol venue, we tick all the boxes!


The wedding of Marc and Richard


LVP: The view from the private terrace is breath-taking. In your opinion, what is the importance of food within a day delegate rate?

LK: I’m personally extremely proud to be able to offer catering that is locally and sustainably produced. Our chef is very passionate about creating menus that can cater for all dietary requirements and make the life of the event organisers simple. Our day delegate package, supplies catering at all milestones of the day from arrival and morning breaks, lunch and also afternoon refreshments – all freshly baked on site. Hydration juices are also part of the package as we want to help support the event by ensuring the delegates are made comfortable and refreshed.


LVP: Catering is one of the most important factors when it comes to conference and events; M Shed certainly has that covered.  What are your 3 top tips to anyone wanting to join the events industry?

LK: For anyone wanting to join the events industry I would advise the following;

  1. Be ready to work hard. The industry is very rewarding but it also comes with a fast paced environment.

  2. Pick a venue that suits you. There are many options for event venues around but pick one that will work for you and suits your personality. People buy off people so you need to be happy with your environment in order to get results.

  3. Understand the market. The events industry moves so fast so you have to know your trends and marketplace to stay ahead of the game.

Don’t be the last to follow the trend but be one of the first to start it!


LVP: Thank you for those tips Leanne! What do you think the future holds for live events?

LK: Technology is forever growing in this market so it’s hard to say how far it will go but it is growing and it’s exciting to see what developments come up in the future. Events will become more advanced in many ways because of this I’m sure about.

One thing I do know is that location and catering will always be the most important factor. A delegate may not be aware of things that happen back of house but they will walk away from a conference/event and have a lasting thought to if the venue is memorable and if the catering was to a high standard.


Back to articles