- Function Rooms: 8
- Max Meeting: 0
- Max Dinner: 0
- Max Reception: 0
- Outdoor Capacity: 300
- Bedrooms: 47
We didn't pick the best of days for our photo shoot at The Royal Society’s new country pad but grey skies didn’t stop this Grade I-listed Georgian stately home from looking fabulous. Set in 75 acres of immaculately kept grounds just outside Milton Keynes, Chicheley Hall has just emerged from an £11m redevelopment that has transformed this long-time private home into what will now be known as the Kavli Royal Society for the Advancement of Science. Launching on the events market as we go to press, the venue will also be available to hire for residential conferences and social events, with space available both in the main house and its converted Coach House. The latter still had the builders in on our visit (artist’s impressions hint at a clever mix of old and new, with breakout space in a glazed atrium at the front) but we managed to have a good look around the rest of the property. The house itself offers formal function space in the ornate 100-capacity Main Hall and gorgeous, wood-panelled Dining Room, which seats up to 26 in the largest of an interlinked suite of rooms that runs the width of the building, overlooking the marquee lawn and private lake. Upstairs are a further three 20-seater meeting rooms and 13 period bedrooms.
The rest of the accommodation (there are 47 bedrooms in all) is located in the more modern North and South wings, where rooms are smaller and more functional but still very attractive and, crucially, ensuite. Catering will be provided by Harbour & Jones, with a strong emphasis placed on seasonal, local ingredients – there are even plans to put the kitchen gardens to good use – and all proceeds from events go directly to the Royal Society, which invests in the future of science. DDR starts at £60pp, with overnight rates from £185.
This article first appeared in Square Meal Venues & Events magazine, summer 2010