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5 of the best venues for your next corporate event

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From luxury retreats that have hosted world-class events, to a racing-themed meeting, these are the best corporate venues to suit all tastes and budgets

The one for eco-conscious planners

Oceandiva London, a vessel based on the River Thames, will be the UK’s first CO2-neutral venue when it opens this spring. Spanning three decks, it provides event space for up to 1,000 standing and 500 seated for awards, charity events and conferences. The venue is powered by 100% renewable energy, supported by onboard solar panels and a back-up biofuel generator for longer excursions on the river, while smart technology allows the ship’s engineer to track and monitor all energy sources used, along with water consumption. Groups can choose from bespoke menus and sustainable catering options. Venue hire from £29,000 + VAT (based on a 12-hour hire);

The one for hi-tech meetings

One of the largest venues of its kind in the North of England, the Winter Gardens has welcomed plenty of big names over the course of its 145-year history, including the likes of Frank Sinatra and the Rolling Stones. Following an investment of £30 million, a brand-new purpose-built conference and exhibition centre opened on the site in 2022, offering a total of 2,400sqm across two floors and featuring the latest in hi-tech audio and visual technology, making it an ideal space for exhibitions and trade shows. The space can also be adapted with a blank canvas approach to cater to specific event themes and requirements.

The Winter Garden’s state-of-the-art multi-purpose event space opened after a £30m investment
The one for after-work fun

Known as the home of horse racing, Newmarket Racecourse in rural Suffolk offers the chance to combine a meeting with fun incentive activity thanks to its ‘National Stud Day’ package. Up to 100 delegates can go behind-the-scenes at one of the most famous studs in the world, exploring the 500-acre stud farm, to learn more about the history behind the venue. Depending on the season and daily activities, visitors can expect to see mares with their young foals in the paddocks, plus yearlings and stallions. Day delegate rate from £70 plus VAT per person;

The one for sports fans

If you have keen golfers in your company, then it doesn’t get better than Celtic Manor Resort. Set within 2,000 acres of panoramic parkland in the Usk Valley, South Wales, the countryside venue has played host to prestigious, world-class events such as The Ryder Cup and the Nato Summit – its Twenty Ten golf course was the first course in history to be designed and built specifically to host The Ryder Cup. There are a range of meeting spaces for small and large gatherings, and plenty of options for mid-sized groups of up to 250. Meanwhile, the adjacent ICC Wales, which opened in 2019, is a modern and wholly impressive option for larger events, boasting a 1,500-seat state-of-the-art auditorium. Day delegate rates at Celtic Manor start from £65 plus VAT;

The South Wales venue was once the host of the Ryder Cup
The one for high-end hospitality

Manchester’s Kimpton Clocktower hotel is housed in a historic, terracotta Grade II-listed building that was previously occupied by the Refuge Assurance Company. Dating back to 1895, the building’s striking clocktower is an iconic part of Manchester’s skyline and the hotel lobby has a stunning glass dome. The on-site restaurant, The Refuge, features decor blending glam and industrial themes, with glazed brick, tiles and stained glass, with private dining options for up to 12 people. There’s also The Den, a gaming/dining space for up to 100, with pool, foosball, sharing food and a private bar. The hotel has various spaces for high-end meetings too, including the oak-panelled Directors’ room and boardrooms. Daily delegate rates start from £59.00 including VAT per person;

The Kimpton’s striking clocktower has been an icon of Manchester’s skyline since 1895
Words by Kim Benjamin

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