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The new Great North Museum (tel: 0870 421 4868) in Newcastle-Gateshead can be hired exclusively for up to 1,300 and makes a fascinating event space with its life-size T-Rex and antiquities from ancient Greece and Egypt. The Planetarium can host private viewings and various smaller spaces cover groups from 40-100, including the Clore Learning Centre, which opens onto a hireable outside terrace. Sodexo Catering has signed a three-year deal to deliver events and catering.
Wiltshire-based Bowood Hotel, Spa & Golf Resort has launched into the luxury hotel market with a new four-star 43-bedroom offering. The three-storey, purpose-built hotel has six suites, a new 80-seater restaurant The Shelburne, a bar and two lounges. The new opening provides a much-needed accommodation option for those attending events in Bowood House itself or the adjoining Country Club. A luxurious new spa is a further appealing addition.
Combine a wine tour with a delegate package this summer at Ockenden Manor. The 22-bedroom hotel has teamed up with English Vine Tours to offer an array of 24 hour and day delegate options, involving full or half-day tours of local vineyards. These are followed by a tutored tasting and for overnighters, a Michelin-starred meal in the hotel’s excellent restaurant.
Get down to Suffolk to try Food Safari’s,/b> (tel: 01728 621380) 'Field to Fork’ days. Learn how to butcher a pig and make your own sausages, pluck and prepare pheasants, skin a rabbit or carve up a haunch of venison. The more squeamish might prefer an off-shore fishing trip with lunch cooked on board or a brew-your-own-ale day. Groups of up to 16 (or 25 on request) can be catered for.
Events for small groups make a lot of sense this year but it’s easier said than done, with many venues unwilling to cater for numbers under 10. Three cheers for Mithril Racing for not only bucking the trend and dropping the minimum number for their ever-popular Goodwood Experience event to five, but also holding 2008’s prices. Let’s hope others follow their good example!
Radisson Blu has rebranded the existing Royal York Hotel as the Radisson Blu Hotel, Brighton (tel: 01273 766 700), with three meeting rooms accommodating up to 50. New builds for the brand are also opening this month in Cardiff (tel: 0161 436 1931) and in July in Bristol (tel: 01179 349500), each with dedicated meetings and event space for up to 300.
The illustrious Victorian Ulster Hall (tel: 02890 334400) has reopened in Belfast, following a sympathetic refurbishment and refit. New seating in the 1,000-capacity Grand Hall is complemented by upgraded lighting, heating and toilet facilities. The hall is perfect for large-scale presentations but smaller groups can be accommodated equally well in a suite of five meeting rooms, holding up to 60 theatre style.
Four-star country-house hotel Down Hall, near Stansted Airport, is hosting an informal cocktails, canapés and conversation (The Three C's) evening. Taking place on 30 July from 6-8pm, the event will showcase the hotel's impressive conference facilities. Click through for more details or to RSVP by 24 July.