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Get on board the Valiant, the National Railway Museum in York's newly acquired Pullman-style carriage. A nostalgic trip back in time, when trains were referred to as 'palaces on wheels', the carriage has been fully restored to glory and offers two flexible compartments for up to 30.
Grade I-listed Great Fosters has just opened The Coach House, a self-contained property in the hotel's grounds, enclosed by an attractive walled garden. With 22 bedrooms and three meeting rooms, holding up to 30 theatre style, there's also a conference lounge, and Wentworth and Ascot are just up the road if you want to combine business with pleasure.
Sundial property Highgate House has just opened the Terrace Restaurant in what used to be its swimming pool, and will use it as a space for evening delegate dining for up to 150, along with two new coffee lounges serving as convenient breakout spaces. Don’t forget, too, the existing five private dining rooms within the main house for groups from 18 to 204.
Merchant Inns has refurbished two of their coaching inns in time for autumn. The Talbot Inn in Surrey has 40 new bedrooms and early next year will gain a full conference suite, while The Lambert Arms in Oxfordshire now has a Michelin-starred chef and conference facilities for 120.
Following its first UK launch in Cambridge earlier this year, Doubletree is now opening its first Scottish hotel, in Aberdeen. Doubletree by Hilton Aberdeen City Centre (tel: 01224 633339) has 168 bedrooms and 3,300 square feet of flexible conference and event facilities, half a mile from the city centre. A London launch is next - watch this space.
Upstairs at the Bluecoat (tel: 0151 702 5324) has reopened after a temporary closure following a fire in May. The 180-private hire capacity Liverpudlian restaurant & bar runs alongside 11 other event spaces within Liverpool's oldest building, the Bluecoat, which itself underwent a £12.5m multi-award winning redevelopment, unveiled back in March.
First Cathedral Quarter, Derby's first boutique hotel; now just round the corner is QUAD (tel: 01322 285443), which looks set to put the city firmly on the event organisers' map. A purpose-built cultural centre with extensive corporate hire facilities, it also has a 42-seater screening room and is the first venue outside London to host a BFI Mediatheque.