Sir Frank Williams was the driving force behind one of Formula One’s most successful teams. Today, he lends his name to the Williams Conference Centre. At the F1 outfit’s Oxfordshire base, its modern event facilities are housed in the building that used to be the home of BMW’s Le Mans project. Once they are done meeting, training and networking, groups small and large can wander around Sir Frank’s private collection of more than 40 Grand Prix racing cars. Or they can get active, with guests going head to head on a giant Scalextric or taking on the Pit Stop Challenge together. However you want to structure your day, on-site event managers offer full planning support.
Williams Conference Centre
The five-star Royal Garden Hotel towers above Kensington Gardens, with spectacular views from its 10th-floor restaurant and many of the bedrooms. Event spaces range from meeting rooms equipped with up-to-date AV to large banqueting suites. The Balmoral and Highgrove rooms are popular for board-level meetings, while the Palace Suite suits grand affairs. It has its own entrance and bar with the potential to be split in two for multi-stage events.
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Royal Garden Hotel
Views over the Plaza Lawns towards the Parade Ring and
south side of the Grandstand make the Ascot Pavilion
a grand setting for events. As the largest of the famous
racecourse’s standalone function spaces (smaller only
than the main grandstand’s 3,000-capacity Galleria) it
can seat around 1,000 diners or host receptions for
anything up to 1,550 standing guests. With its own
entrance, Wi-Fi and air conditioning throughout, it is a
versatile space that can adapt just as readily to a largescale
conference as a dinner dance, awards ceremony or
drinks reception. Day delegate packages include room
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Pavilion at Ascot Racecourse
Forty-five minutes west of central London, on an island between the Thames and Jubilee rivers, is Grade I-listed Tudor manor house Dorney Court. Available to hire for dinners and meetings, the 500-capacity Coach House comes with a private courtyard in which large marquees can be erected, taking the total up to 1,000 guests. The numbers can be much greater if you have a marquee set up elsewhere in the grounds. The Great Hall has been hosting banquets since the 15th century, while the well-tended gardens are set up for teambuilding activities and moments of respite from a day’s conferencing. Dorney Court works with caterer Absolute Taste for events.Venue review of Weddings at Dorney Court
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The visible red-steel frame of the striking 1920s building is softened by greenery, while low lighting adds atmosphere at night. By day, the ground-floor café, which overlooks a cobbled courtyard, is a good spot for group lunches. Inside, the upstairs restaurant and bar can be hired exclusively, but for intimate dinners book the Mezzanine Room. Further spaces include the art deco Gallery Room and the Beaufort Room with its own bar.
With its 66 acres of grounds, Tylney Hall is a picturesque venue for conferences, banquets and corporate entertainment. Highlights include: the baronial Tylney Suite, with its oak panelling and minstrels’ gallery; the Chestnut Suite, a party space with adjacent reception area, bar and cloakroom; and the self-contained Hampshire Suite, which has a private garden. Outdoor activities are a speciality here, including treasure hunts, clay-pigeon shooting, falconry and archery.Venue review of Warren Weir
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Tylney Hall Hotel & Gardens
On a quiet square close to Moorgate, Brewers’ Hall is the 20th-century home of a 15th-century livery company. Across a marble lobby, at the top of a carved oak staircase, three interconnected function rooms marry a rich history to modern facilities. The oak-panelled Livery Hall is topped with chandeliers and heraldic crests. The pine-panelled Court Room is a useful reception area that’s grand enough to host standalone meetings and dinners. The homely Committee Room is for more intimate gatherings.
This grand Georgian venue has five function rooms and fine views towards the Tower of London. There’s a distinctly nautical feel to the decor, which features maritime paintings, ship models and the brass bell from the royal yacht Britannia. Our choice space is the Court Room, with a ceiling fresco by Pre-Raphaelite artist William Holman Hunt. Pick the Library for banquets and take the adjoining Pepys Room as an entertainment space.