Ministry of Sound

Things to do in London | Ministry of Sound

Ministry of Sound can only be described as a clubber’s paradise so if you’re planning that big night out in the big smoke, there’s only one guestlist you need to get onto. Known to have one of the best sound systems in the world and an award winning light system, this club continues to be a phenomenon in the dance scene. With so many famous DJs hitting the decks over the years, it’s a guaranteed good night. Need a place to get ready for the big night ahead? Book a room at our London Southwark hotel and they’ll be a comfy bed waiting for you (even when you come back in the wee hours of the morning!)

Rewind to the year 1991. What is now one of the world’s most iconic nightclubs was originally an old bus garage in South East London’s Elephant & Castle, inhabited with old buses and pigeons! But with a vision from famous DJ Justin Berkmann and with the help of two entrepreneur friends, they worked tirelessly for nearly two years to create an after hours partying dreamland focusing on house music inspired by the clubs in Detroit, New York and Chicago. Originally called ‘The Box’, it opened with just three lights, a speaker stack in each corner and a springy like dancefloor. It’s the dance floor that has been there since day one and up until the present day!  Nowadays, there are four bars, two VIP lounges and four DJ booths for ravers to dance the night away in. DJs who have taken to the decks over the years have included everyone from Paul Oakenfold and Jazzy M to David Guetta, Pete Tong and Tiesto.

Ministry of Sound

Ministry of Sound

Top tip

It might seem a little silly but London clubs are renowned for being hot on ID so make sure you pack yours. Security will have no qualms in sending you away regardless if you’re there with a ticket for friend’s birthday, hen weekend or celebration so just be prepared.

Essential information

With a total of five spaces indoors to party on down, a heated courtyard and VIP area, you can be prepared for an experience like no other.

Want to save a few pennies? Then you’re better off buying your tickets online for a discounted ticket price. Tickets can be bought on the door as well but head down earlier if you can to beat the queues.

If you’re more of a cash person than a pay by card type, conveniently there’s a cash machine positioned just as you enter the club. All of the bars do however take card payments so if the queue is a bit too long to wait in, there’s no need to fret. Before you go and dance your socks off, you may be searched on arrival and you will also be asked to show your ID- this is just the club’s policy and procedure.

The main hub of the club is The 103 area and has access to all the other parts of the club. With a capacity of 500, it’s home to a 45 foot bar (so getting a drink should be quite swift) and has a mezzanine for partygoers to dance on and people watch. Overlooking The 103 is The Loft with a capacity of 150 and private bar complete with huge disco balls hanging from the ceiling. And with the largest capacity of them all is The Box, holding 600 groovers and shakers and also known to hold live events and exhibitions in.

Both The Baby Box and The Box have disabled access, both of which are on the lower level floors.

Things to see

Known for its state-of-the-art technology, every room in the club boasts LED lighting, plasma screens, glittering chandeliers and disco balls. It’s at The Box where you’ll see some of the biggest names in the DJ universe with its award winning (and loudest) sound system in the whole of the nightclub. While originating in dance, trance and house music, club nights now at the Ministry of Sound span lots of genres from rap, grime and RnB nights so there really is something for everyone. Bear in mind that these events sometimes won’t kick off until around 11pm and can go into the early hours of around 7am so drink lots of water and be prepared for achy feet the following day!

Need to rest your dancing feet? Head to the VIP for a sit down on chic leather seats, an awesome cocktail list and time to recoup before you hit the tiles again. Remember, you’ll need to book a table in advance via their website or email.

Eating and drinking

While there are plenty of drinks to be had at the bars inside the club, there aren’t any places to eat - so don’t expect to see a hot dog on the dancefloor! Fancy a few cocktails before your dance marathon? Or maybe want to grab a bite to eat to set you up for the the evening? Check out our picks for where to go beforehand.

Sitting just under Union Street Cafe is famous chef Gordon Ramsay’s first ever destination bar. Serving cocktails galore including the Southwark Angel (perfect for gin lovers), spirits and beers, there’s an eclectic mix of furnitures and local artwork up on the walls showing their interpretations of the capital city. If you’re up for something a little bit on the kooky side then head to The Breakfast Club on Bankside, just a 10 minute walk away from the club. Housed behind a locked door in the restaurant itself, to enter, guests have to say “I’m here to get lucky” and you’ll be led through! Inside, it’s all pancakes, tequila and cocktails.

Nothing beats good, authentic food from a cafe that’s been around for decades in the Borough area of London. El Vergel is renowned for its fresh menu and hearty portions of Mediterranean and Latin dishes including steak sandwiches with guacamole, tacos, tortillas and salsa that’s got just the right amount of kick. You’ll find it down on Webber Street, just an eight minutes walk from the club. Next up is Chinese restaurant Dragon Castle serving the tastiest Dim Sum around as well as tasty dishes such as sizzling fillet beef in a sweet Mandarin sauce and a seafood claypot with fluffy Japanese rice. You really can’t go wrong here!

Getting to Ministry of Sound

If the music and vibrations don’t lead you to this super club, you’ll still be able to make your way there easily enough. Or just follow the crowds!

By car
We wouldn’t advise driving to the Ministry of Sound as there is only residential parking and no public parking spaces available. If you get a taxi though, ask the driver to drop you at Ministry of Sound on Gaunt Street and they’ll know just the spot.

By tube
Sitting just behind Elephant & Castle station, just take the university exit. From turn left and then take the second left onto Gaunt Street and you’ll no doubt see the queue right before your eyes! Thinking of heading home when the birds are tweeting? Remember on Saturday mornings, the tube station will be open from around 5.30am and on Sundays at 7am.    

By bus
Buses can drop you off right next to the club, just off from Gaunt Street on bus numbers 35, 40, 100, 136 and 343. Lots more stop next to Elephant & Castle station so just check the TFL website for more routes. If you’re having a late one, bear in mind there lots of night buses running that will stop close by to the club so you can dance into the morning before jumping on a big red!