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Something to tempt you out of a New Year detox: Whatley Manor has extended its cookery master classes for 2009, as well as offering a special event room rate starting from £185 (in February and April) and from £190 (in July and November) when attending a cookery master class. All classes are under the expert tuition of Michelin-starred head chef Martin Burge and range from Bread & Soups to Sauces and Entertaining at Home.
Offering a one-stop shop for events and training requirements, from conference co-ordination and teambuilding to business games and company fun days, Pearlcatchers has relaunched its branding and website. Take a look at the comprehensive list of teambuilding activities on offer to fire your employees up for 2009.
January 25 is Burns Night and to celebrate, the magnificent Cutlers' Hall in Sheffield is laying on a night of Scottish celebrations on the 24th. Arrive to a welcome drink and piper, then enjoy a traditional menu featuring the likes of cock-a-leekie soup, haggis, neeps and tatties and roast beef - all for just £39.95. The venue is also offering excellent reductions and 2-for-1 offers on DDrs throughout January and February.
Looking set to become a flagship venue for the region, Capesthorne Pavilion (tel: 08000 890777), located in the heart of Cheshire WAG country, is open for bookings for corporate events and weddings for up to 500. A contemporary space, the decor is neutral, enabling clients to dictate their own themes, and the Pavilion can be hired in conjunction with the majestic Jacobean Hall (offering an extra capacity of 100) plus 100 acres of gardens and parkland.
Three new hotels are set to open in Liverpool within the next year, all from the burgeoning Hilton stable. Hampton by Hilton is opening at John Lennon airport this summer, followed by Hilton Liverpool later this year and Hampton by Hilton Liverpool City in 2010. Click through to read our Liverpool Regional Focus feature.
Delightful medieval manor, Bailiffscourt Hotel in West Sussex, is having a January sale until the end of the month. Rates will start at £100 per person in a classic double room, including a complimentary upgrade, romantic three-course dinner in the candlelit Tapestry Restaurant and full English breakfast the following morning.
Funky mobile espresso bar company, Coffee Motion, is offering 15% off for all bookings made before the end of February. Serve up their delicious Naples-imported coffee at your next event from a range of quirky wagons, including converted retro French agricultural vehicles and dinky Smart cars, which you can even brand with your own logo.
Riding high in the Premiership this season, Manchester United's Old Trafford ground is also working hard at keeping its conferencing facilities at the top of their game by introducing Meeting Matrix software, so you can experience your event before it takes place. Design and view interactive room diagrams, take a virtual walk through the rooms and get the chance to virtually view every detail, even down to the table linen and flowers. New menus are also on offer for 2009, as well as good value DDRs.
Home to the world's largest collection of historic British motor cars, the Heritage Motor Centre has boosted its meetings provision by adding four new meeting rooms for 2009, including an exclusive MD's Suite seating 12. Watch this space too for news on the 50th anniversary of the Mini in May, to be celebrated with themed events and an exhibition at the venue.
Good news if you're looking to book meetings near Heathrow: the new Holiday Inn London - Kingston South (tel: 020 8786 6565) has just opened with a dedicated conference team and seven meeting rooms, seating groups of 10 to 250. The Riverview restaurant, looking out over the marina, is also a must for fans of pan-Asian cuisine.
Teambuilding & motivational event experts Catalyst (tel: 01295 680099), long based up in Cumbria, have relocated to Oxford to be closer to their clients and the venues they work with. Get in touch with them if you're looking for cost-effective innovative teambuilding ideas in 2009.
Ryder Cup 2010 destination Celtic Manor Resort has just won Top UK Conference Hotel for the third time in four years, as voted for by readers of Conference & Incentive Travel magazine. The Resort's Convention Centre is one of the largest of its kind in Europe, seating up to 1,500 delegates or 800 for a seated dinner. Second and third place went to The Hilton Metropole and The Grove.