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The Desert Dining Club was formed in 1981 when about 70 people interested in arid regions were invited to dine at the Royal Engineers Headquarters Mess at Chatham.  They came from many backgrounds and interests.  It was decided at that dinner by popular appeal that a dinner should be held every year thereafter.

Since that first dinner the Club has met annually in a variety of places such as officers’ messes, the Tower of London, the Royal Geographical Society (twice), clubs such as the Athenaeum and the Oriental Clubs, the House of Lords Cholmonley Room, Oxford and Cambridge colleges, and the Guildhall in Windsor. Occasionally joint dinners are held with The Rain Forest Club, for example, in the Tropical Conservatory at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
The full list of venues

The Club held its 25th Anniversary Dinner at the Royal Engineers Headquarters Mess on 3 November 2006.  52 members attended, and many joined a visit to the Royal Engineers Museum before the dinner.

The dress has always been Black Tie for men, and there is normally a short talk from somebody with recent experience and knowledge of some aspect concerning deserts.