Five Amazing London Christmas Party Venues

On the hottest day of the year so far, Spitalfields Venue played host to the London Christmas Party Show. Billed as a boutique exhibition that ‘brings together a mix of the best Christmas venues’ it promised to showcase some of London’s most interesting, unusual and trendy venues, so Conference Care Team Manager Karen Rogers popped down to check out what’s hot for Christmas in the capital for 2017.

Whilst we know it’s May, and we’re all looking forward to summer holidays, at Conference Care we know it’s never too early to get ahead of the game! So following her visit Karen has laid out for us her top five favourite London Christmas Party Venues for 2017, and why she thinks they stand out from the crowd…

  1. Shaka Zulu

In the heart of Camden Market, Shaka Zulu is London’s largest South African Restaurant, and for a Christmas party with a twist they promise to take you from Camden to Cape Town. The lower floor of this stunning venue is surrounded with huge 20ft high warrior statues and the mezzanine level hosts a champagne and cocktail lounge which overlooks the braai restaurant.

Carved wooden murals cover every inch of Shaka Zulu’s walls and ceiling making it a beautiful space to host private events and parties. If the budget allows you can hire African drummers and dancers along with your biltong, to really make it an event to write home about.

Shaka Zulu

  1. Tobacco Dock

Located near to the Tower of London and just one stop on the DLR from Bank, Tobacco Dock is a unique venue for a Christmas Party.

For 2017 their theme is a Winter Secret Garden; avenues of scorched birch and bleached willows dramatically lit in silver and white will create a festive indoor garden in which to have your drinks reception, and then the Great Gallery decorated with frosted Christmas trees will provide the backdrop for your dinner. Cabaret, street performers, Victorian splendour and a complimentary photo booth means your event should definitely stand out here!

Winter Secret Garden, Tobacco Dock

  1. Natural History Museum

The Natural History Museum has a number of different spaces for a Christmas party with impact; from a large hall, to something more intimate. The newly refurbished Hintze Hall at the centre of the Museum is the largest space hosting up to 600 for dinner beneath its Romanesque arches, the Earth Hall provides a completely different and dramatic backdrop, or you could even take over the whole Museum with up to 3,000 guests.

Choosing the Museum not only gives you a fantastic location for your party, but in the season of goodwill also contributes to maintaining this historic venue and funding ongoing scientific research.

Earth Hall, Natural History Museum

  1. St Katherine Docks

If you’re looking for a complete alternative to the standard Christmas cracker set up, The Medieval Banquet at St Katherine Docks might just be the thing for you. The Docks trace their roots back to the 10th Century and the legend of the Portsoken Knights, and offer the perfect setting for you to be part of that history.

With a capacity of 450 people, nine private dining rooms and just a short walk from Tower Bridge your party guests will be invited to attend the court of King Henry VIII as a royal guest and enjoy a five course banquet. They will also experience a medieval show, fighting knights, and serving wenches before partying the night away!

Medieval Banquet, St Katherine Docks

  1. The View

Last but not least, the hugely popular View from the Shard is a fantastic option for a spectacular Christmas Party. Breath-taking 360 degree views from level 69 are your backdrop, with the lights of London providing the dazzling Christmas sparkle for your event!

Party packages include absolutely everything you can think of and are available from groups of 50, up to exclusive use of the whole floor. A stunning and stylish option for the festive season.

The View from The Shard, Looking West

Christmas all wrapped up! Of course there are many other Christmas Party venues to choose from, themes to consider and options to explore, so if you have been landed with the Christmas Party to organise and don’t know where to begin, do give our little helpers a call on 02476 369720 or email us.

Not only will we find you the best options ahead of time, we can take all the stress out of the planning process so that you get to actually enjoy the festivities when Christmas does roll around!

Posted in Venue Sourcing | Leave a comment

Scotland Venue Finding: Five Favourite Scottish Jewels

Scotland. Dramatically beautiful countryside, a strong heritage and exciting culture, the country is renowned for its traditions: the Highland Games, Edinburgh Military Tattoo, Burns Night and Hogmanay all paint a picture of the country’s history. Scotland is forward thinking too; music festivals, a passion for food and many prestigious golf and sporting events make it a perfect stage on which the discerning event planner can set their scene.

From cosmopolitan Glasgow to the medieval architecture of Edinburgh, from Cairngorms National Park to the Granite City of Aberdeen the country is rich in contrast and culture. Scotland is very accessible, with easy access by road, rail and air and has a unique geography – only those who have ventured to the country will know how much time you need to set aside if you are traversing the Forth Bridge!

For when only something really special will do for your event or celebration, Scotland definitely has the wow factor. Our dedicated team based at the Scotland Hub in Fife have been providing venue expertise to the local client base since Conference Care launched into the Scottish Market in 2005, so we asked them to share with us some of their favourite Scottish Jewels…

Crossbasket Castle

Crossbasket is a stunning 17th century castle built on a hill overlooking Calder River. Following its purchase in 2011 it underwent an extensive authentic refurbishment programme transforming it into one of Scotland’s most luxurious hotel and event venues.

Steeped in history, Crossbasket has many unique period features, nine breath-taking en-suite bedrooms and a fairy-tale turret room. The castle grounds also include a large stretch of woodland, extensive nature walks and beautiful majestic waterfalls.

Crossbasket Castle

Gilmerton House

Gilmerton House is a handsome Grade A listed Georgian Mansion in the heart of East Lothian, around 22 miles from the centre of Edinburgh. Its four public rooms, comfortable lounges and breakout spaces make it a perfect choice for a cosy meeting or away day – from the Rococo panelled Music Room to the sunny terrace and croquet lawn, Gilmerton is an elegant and decadent venue.

For those extra VIP events there is space available to land helicopters within the grounds – something we image David Beckham would have taken advantage of when he filmed the advert as Ambassador for Haig Club Whisky! (Other brands of course are available!)

Gilmerton House

Fonab Castle

OK – so it’s another beautiful building in breath taking scenery, but then as the strapline on its website suggests, Fonab Castle really is ‘beyond the ordinary’. Nestled in the heart of Highland Perthshire, it is a truly unique five star hotel which hosts events for up to 150, making it slightly larger than some of the more bijoux venues.

Having been lovingly restored, drawing inspiration from its historic past and magnificent surroundings Fonab also boasts the odd contemporary twist making it appealing to those who want plenty of light and space.

Fonab Castle

Cromlix House

Of Andy Murray fame, this isn’t so much of a hidden gem, but well worth a mention in our opinion.

The Victorian Perthshire mansion has been transformed since the tennis champion acquired the venue and it opened in Spring 2014; guests have had the chance to experience the sort of decadent lifestyle once enjoyed by the Lairds of Cromlix, redefined for the 21st Century. The hotel has its own Chapel, house loch, Chez Roux restaurant and gate lodge – a real five-star destination.

Cromlix House

Dundas Castle

Last but not least we can’t leave out Dundas – one of Scotland’s most beautiful and historic castles which, unlike many hotels, can be used be exclusively should your budgets allow!

Currently the home of Sir Jack and Lady Stewart-Clark the castle is made up of three main buildings comprising the Auld Keep, the main House and The Pavilion – all of which combine to offer elegant spaces for entertaining. The hotel also offers a wide variety of activities; a nine hole golf course, an indoor squash court and speed boating on the near-by Firth of Forth to name a few.

Dundas Castle

Five stunning Scottish venues, and of course there are so many more we could have selected! If you would like more information about the venues we have mentioned or any others please do get in touch with the Scotland Team on scotland@conferencecare.com – that’s what they’re there for!

 

Posted in Venue Sourcing | Leave a comment

Five of the best large event venues in London

London – our capital city, is as fascinating as it is diverse. With insanely difficult geography to master (black cab drivers’ Knowledge test covers no less than 25,000 streets and about 20,000 landmarks), a GDP significantly larger than several European Countries (including Belgium and Sweden) and the oldest underground railway network in the world, when it comes to choosing a venue in London it can feel like looking for the proverbial needle in a haystack.

Having a large event to source a venue for narrows down your search slightly, however you are still looking at hundreds of possibilities. Our clients’ briefs range hugely from event to event; target audience, budget, business sector and purpose all play a part, but we like to add a bit of our own knowledge and experience to the venue selection process. Yes, you might know the capacity of the venue, but we can advise on what sets it apart and how it fits your brief, to create a shortlist of options that really grab you.

We asked our team of London venue finding experts for their thoughts, so in no particular order here are five of our favourite large event venues in London and why:

1. QEII Centre London
Central London’s largest conference space, the key to the QEII is its sheer size. With six floors to choose from (not including the mezzanine), this flagship venue can host up to 2,500 delegates, and draws high profile events from both the UK and Internationally. Event planners can take over an entire floor should they wish, enabling them to make the most of a dedicated area to direct delegates, and a built in catering area with plenty of natural daylight. Their website even offers an interactive floor plan which is very helpful in navigating such a large building.

QE11 Centre London

2. Old Billingsgate
In the heart of the city on the banks of the River Thames, this Grade II listed building definitely has the wow factor. Offering three versatile and distinctive spaces; from the stunning triple-height sky lit ceiling in The Grand Hall, the exposed brickwork and vaulted ceilings of The Vault to the sleek contemporary lines in The Gallery, there is plenty to here to give your event that something special. Old Billingsgate also has some great outdoor space, a bit of a USP in a crowded city.

Old Billingsgate Grand Hall

3. Hawker House
Over the past four years, Street Feast has transformed warehouses, car parks and office blocks into must-see destinations. Derelict buildings are given a new lease of life, and Hawker House is no exception. A warehouse that can house 2,000 people, just five minutes from Canada Water, it is more like a miniature town. Nine bars and fourteen independent street food traders provide everything from lobster to Thai street barbeque and capacity is increased by a further 1,000 guests in the summer months with the addition of the ‘The Land of Bamboo’; outdoor space filled with sand pits, trampolines, tiki huts and a giant towering fire pit. Funky, fresh and fun.

Hawker House

4. Battersea Evolution
The only limits to this purpose built venue are your imagination. A classic blank canvas set in the heart of the London, it has capacity to host up to 4,000 in conference or 2,000 for dinners, and as a stand-alone, exclusive hire venue event planners can take over the site and make it completely their own. Boasting 5,650sqm of event space Battersea Evolution has played host to awards ceremonies, product launches, conferences, gala dinners, exhibitions and charity fundraisers for good reason – there really are endless possibilities in this venue.

Battersea Evolution

5. Sky Garden
According to the recent Paddington film, a Londoner has 107 different ways to say that it is raining. If you want to avoid getting wet however and bring the outside in, the Sky Garden is the place for you. 155 metres up, London’s highest landscaped garden provides panoramic views across the capital in breath-taking surroundings. Sky Garden offers two spaces for hire: exclusive hire of the whole garden (up to 600 guests) or the dedicated event platform, City Garden on level 36 (up to 250 guests). These beautiful spaces are complimented by the provision of ‘edible stories’ through elite catering supplier rhubarb, ensuring your guests are left with both visual and culinary memories.

Sky Garden

So there you have it, five very different but equally fantastic large event venues and we’ve only scratched the surface of the possibilities available. That’s why at Conference Care we have a team of venue finding experts purposely dedicated to London; we’re constantly visiting new venues to keep our knowledge fresh and relevant. If you need a hand finding the perfect space for your large event in London get in touch on sales@conferencecare.com – they’d be very happy to help!

Posted in Venue Sourcing | 1 Comment

We’ve come a long way baby…

January. Typically the time for resolutions, new starts, promises of renewed exercise and clean living, the first month of the year is also often one of reflection. With only days to go until Conference Care inhabit their brand new beautiful offices; we take a whistle stop tour down memory lane to see some of the highlights of the journey that brought us this far…

1995 – Conference Care was founded on the 1st April by Directors Chris Peacock and  Andrew Deakin after their paths crossed at The Belfry. Their business address on the High Street in Coleshill, was where the first Events Consultant, Leanne Land, was hired and she is still pulling out all the stops for our clients today.

The first Conference Care Office, Coleshill

2001 – The ‘Box’ quickly became a bit cramped, and before long Griffin House in Fillongley – ‘the barn’, was the new home. Numbers grew. Another of our longest serving experts Jayne Turnor joined the team, and the first Account Manager; Pauline Beattie was also recruited, who now heads up our Scotland team as Head of Sales – Scotland.

2003 – Conference Care reached their first million pound account and signed the first contracted client.

2004 – Just before the company’s 10th Anniversary the company upscaled their home to Phoenix House. The following year saw some exciting developments: the Scotland arm of the business was launched, Sales Director Louise Lowe joined the team as Head of Sales, and the business gained some big multi-million pound clients.

2006 – Over the next few years business went from strength to strength; with contracts coming in thick and fast. Conference Care started hosting client showcase events and pursuing Industry awards.  The first title awarded came in the form of C&IT Agency of the Year back in 2006, followed in 2009 by the HBAA Promoting Excellence within Industry Award.

2008 – With great power comes great responsibility – Conference Care looked at their #CSR in more depth; continuing to dedicate time to local charities through fundraising activities, creating the VSR database of green venues (the first of its kind in the Industry), and gaining Carbon neutral status in 2009. ISO14001 for Environment Management quality standard was achieved in this year too.

2011 – Andrew Deakin pioneered the HBAA Awards – identifying and celebrating Best Practise within the Hotel and Agency sector.

2012 – Chris Peacock was appointed Chair of the HBAA (Hotel Booking Agents Association) the leading trade body for the industry – driving best practice and regulation. A key objective set out during his tenure was attracting future talent for the sector by establishing the widely accredited HBAA National Placement Scheme, providing work placements for Event Management students each year. Jordan Beaumont is the current student working with the team as part of her Event Management Degree. Chris selected the RNLI as the HBAA Charity, raising £50,000 from various fund raising events – one literally stranded at Sea, and the company was awarded HBAA ‘Agent of the Year’ in collaboration with BDRC Continental (to independently ratify and accredit the awards).

2014 – Outstanding work undertaken in developing their contracted customer base in Scotland saw the Scotland Sales Hub opening its doors at Pitreavie Business Park, Dunfermline this year. The company were also proud winners of the HBAA ‘Meetings Agent of the Year’ and the M&IT Silver Award for Best Intermediary Agency 2014.

Conference Care Scotland Sales Hub

2015 – The company took on an epic challenge cycling over 400 miles from the Scotland Hub to the Head Office in Coventry, raising a total of £10,420 for Help4Harry and Muscular Dystrophy UK. They were also ecstatic to take their first Gold at the M&IT Awards for Best Intermediary Agency.

2016 – The year saw the company lift the Gold award again at the M&IT Awards, as well as significant account wins and investment in technology, which brings us to today. The company are once again bursting at the seams with talent and are counting down the days until they occupy their new home on Monday 30thJanuary – Watling House, Leicestershire (which has undergone extensive refurbishment); right here, right now is the place to be!

The New Office Watling House, Leicestershire

 

Posted in Company News | Leave a comment

A Snapshot of Scottish Event Venues

This month, the team have been out seeing a lot of venues in Scotland. We have many requests looking for a Scottish venue and also a number of customers with offices north of the border.

Here is a small snapshot of what is on offer in and around Edinburgh:

We recently visited Macdonald’s Marine hotel with a handful of clients to experience their meetings and events offering. The venue is set in beautiful scenic countryside with spectacular sea views situated on the coast at North Berwick. Only 30 minutes outside of Edinburgh, Macdonald’s Marine provides a perfect getaway from the hustle and bustle of the city.

With the increasing demand for hands-on activities, we organised a couple of interactive sessions. One of these was ‘artistic cupcake decorating’, proving that even we could give Mary Berry a run for her money on the baking front! This was followed by Moet Champagne cocktail making (and of course tasting!), giving us an insight as to which flavours really complement a glass of fizz. These were just a small sample of the interactive activities that we are able to arrange for our clients.

Suitably equipped, the venue has the ability to host up to 300 people in their meetings and events capacity over 6 suites. It also features extensive grounds, meaning outdoor team building is easily accommodated for. In addition to this, there are over 15 championship golf courses in the surrounding area.

Moving into Edinburgh two of our team visited a selection of hotels and conference venues in the city. Being welcomed into the Hilton Double Tree Edinburgh with the trademark warm cookie proved to be a great start. Located in the financial district, the Art Deco building dates back to the 1800’s when it was a lavish department store. Now a listed building, the charm and character still remain. Easily accessed from both train stations (Waverley & Haymarket) and only 30 minutes away from the airport, the Double Tree is a great choice, whether on business, conference or leisure.

Able to facilitate up to 200 delegates, four dedicated meeting rooms and a private entrance for the conference centre, the venue can also offer the stunning penthouse “Skybar” which is boasts views of the iconic Edinburgh castle,panoramic views over the city and is available for hire.

The hotel has also played host to the inaugural Edinburgh PA Networking Group which Conference Care actively partners. The group meets every quarter, bringing together PA’s, Administrators and Office Managers, and gives them the opportunity to network with peers and develop their skills.

Each event focuses on a different professional development subject, where guest speakers take to the podium to provide advice and share experiences. This enables the members to leave with new skills, tools and ideas to take back to the workplace, whilst being able to continue with their own personal development.

The network is run by Sally Lloyd, CodeBase & 2016 Scottish PA of the Year, Sherien Ahmed of Venture Trust and Amy Smith from Skyscanner. Now moving into its third year of events, the network has gone from strength to strength. Conference Care has partnered and supported the network’s programme from its inception and has dates in the diary to March 2017 already.

Sally Lloyd – CodeBase and 2016 Scottish PA of the Year says “We really don’t know what we would do without the team at Conference Care, their support has been outstanding and the service they offer really is second to none”

The network events are free to attend for PA’s, Administrators and Office Managers and are held at a different venue each quarter, Sign up to the mailing list here:

http://cceventslive.us9.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=a8eeb6a28ce45537ee5c59ff5&id=bd82e74072

The network held a meeting at the Royal College of Physicians, not your usual meetings and events venue, however, the College provides one of the largest purpose-built lecture theatres in Edinburgh, along with a variety of different event spaces.

Steeped in history, the New Library is a truly unique space with the ability to hold drinks receptions, private dinners as well as meetings. Delegates are surrounded by floor to ceiling wooden cabinets holding thousands of books – some dating back hundreds of years. Whilst the room’s two grand marble fireplaces, makes the space feel extremely warm and welcoming.

The College operates as a registered charity and any profits generated from room hire are reinvested to support the core functions of the College.

For more information about any venues or facilities in Edinburgh, contact us and our expert Scotland Team will be more than happy to help!!

Posted in Uncategorised | Leave a comment