Dominating Eastbourne’s promenade, this majestic hotel epitomises the Victorian seaside resort in all its grandeur. The Grand has an impressive selection of function rooms, suites and bedrooms – many with sea views – as well as elegant lounges. Event organisers are presented with a range of flexible suites, while both in-house restaurants have received many awards. The Western Lawns can be hired for teambuilding activities, while the sea’s available for powerboat rides.Venue review of Warren Weir
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The Grand Hotel Eastbourne
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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Venue focus: Royal Garden Hotel
Royal Garden Hotel
Overlooking St Brelade’s Bay, L’Horizon Beach Hotel & Spa has plenty of sunlight and sea air, as well as some top-class conference facilities. The beachside property offers contemporary rooms for private dining, meetings and conferences. With sea views, the Crystal Room is a charming spot for a private dinner or conference for up to 200. There’s an indoor swimming pool with ocean vistas too, as well as two award-winning restaurants. The team can arrange watersports for thrill-seeking corporate groups and the venue holds a civil wedding licence. There are at least 12 London flights a day from Jersey Airport, which is 10 minutes down the road.
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L’Horizon Beach Hotel & Spa
Opposite the MediaCityUK complex in Salford Quays, this arts and entertainment hub houses three adaptable theatres, a range of event spaces, a bar and restaurant. The landmark building also has space for the world’s largest collection of LS Lowry paintings. On its fourth floor, the glass-walled Compass Room has its own balcony, while Pier Eight is a flexibile choice for functions. Head to the North and South Rooms if yours is a smaller meeting.
Amberley is one of Britain’s most famous luxury hotels, and with good reason. The 19-bedroom property, situated in the rolling South Downs near Arundel, dates back to 1100 and the reign of Henry I.
Enclosed by a 60ft high medieval wall, it is well suited to private conferences, particularly those requiring tight security – there’s even a portcullis gate. Meeting rooms include the Great Room,
which can accommodate 40 among its tapestries and suits of armour, and the more intimate King Charles Room for groups of up to 12. There is a tree house, which can be hired exclusively, and
delegates can relax on an 18-hole putting golf course, tennis courts or the croquet lawn. More unusual teambuilding activities – such as medieval axe-throwing – are also available. Guests will be
well wined and dined at Amberley’s acclaimed restaurant, which has three AA rosettes.
Built in 1884 as a French chateau on the Thames, Whitehall Court now houses the Royal Horseguards Hotel and its One Whitehall Place conference and events centre. Highlights include the Gladstone Library – which is much as the old prime minister left it – and its interconnecting Reading & Writing Room, with fine Thames views. Originally a billiards room, the Whitehall Suite offers high ceilings, lots of natural light and more rivery vistas.
The Royal Horseguards Hotel
Built by architect John Gibson in the mid-19th century, this striking City venue lends its neoclassical charm to business events and parties. The Main Hall, with its marble columns and crystal chandeliers, is a natural choice for formal dinners and Christmas parties; it also doubles as a popular place to host trade shows and conferences. The art deco-style Garden Room is a relatively modern edition, and opens out onto a spacious outdoor space.
London’s newest ‘train station’ is a first-class opportunity to bring groups together for some immersive dining and a participatory theatre show. Close to Brick Lane, Pedley Street Station is inside a real railway arch, from where guests board a vintage dining car in which they are dined and entertained at tables of 6-8. Production values are high, with the carriage brought over from Europe specially, and the recently refurbed venue also housing a platform bar and full working kitchen.
Pedley Street Station
Set in tranquil Kensington Gardens, Kensington Palace became a royal residence in 1689. It was designed by Sir Christopher Wren, who was commissioned by William and Mary to create a retreat from Whitehall, and has hosted the courts of countless kings and queens over the centuries. This heritage is reflected in the grandeur of the event spaces. The bright Orangery combines with a marquee to hold up to 1,000 guests, while the Queen’s Gallery – with its rich 17th-century interiors and secluded Sunken Garden – holds 170 for pre-dinner drinks. There is also modern reception space for up to 300 guests in the clean-lined Hub on the ground floor.
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Here we have an award-winning major events venue in the capital of Scotland. In 2013, the venue was expanded, creating the Atrium and the Lennox Suite. The latter features an impressive moving floor that can transform the 1,600sq m event space from a flat-floor hall to a raked auditorium, an arena or a tiered cabaret setup. A string of attractive suites are where to look if you have seminars or exec-level meetings on the mind. The CSR conscious should pay attention to the venue’s Plan-it Green programme, which among its various strategies promises energy efficient lighting, heating and cooling options.
Edinburgh International Conference Centre
Staking its claim as the only Tudor castle in England that’s open as a hotel, Thornbury Castle sits pretty in its picturesque South Gloucestershire setting. The 27-room hotel has proudly embraced
its heritage, offering function rooms with plenty of old English character. The high-ceilinged Tudor Hall – a stone-walled room, complete with suits of armour, tapestries and a huge fireplace –
will accommodate 75 delegates theatre style, and 66 for an atmospheric banquet. The second of two event spaces on offer is the first-floor Baron’s Sitting Room, which overlooks the hotel’s vineyard
and gardens, and works particularly well for board meetings of up to 22 delegates. There’s plenty of natural daylight in both spaces and free Wi-Fi throughout. Thornbury’s grounds have plenty of
space for activities like archery, croquet and falconry. On a rainy day, groups can get stuck into a murder mystery activity around the castle.