A Useful Guide To Hosting Corporate Events In The South West Of England
Information for corporate event planners on holding a corporate event in the South West Region
For those choosing to host their corporate event in the South West, you will not only benefit from top quality venues, but will have the added bonus of one of the most beautiful settings in the country. The South West of England is steeped in its own unique history and heritage, as well as enjoying the UK’s largest coastline and some of Europe’s top rated beaches.
The South West is a more relaxed and countrified environment than other popular corporate event destinations (like London or Manchester), but that doesn’t mean that the area lacks variety when it comes to venues. There are venues that can host large conferences as well as small meetings, and event organisers can choose from a range of luxury and budget venues for day and residential conferences. The style and standard of venues vary and range from small independent hotels to large corporate stadiums and exhibition halls.
This UK region is extremely varied. Wiltshire, which is home to Stonehenge and many other important historical sites, is 90 minutes from London by rail or road. Meanwhile, Gloucestershire is home to the Forest of Dean and the beautiful and very affluent Cotswolds and is served by the M4/M5. There are picturesque seaside villages aplenty in Dorset, which also has a beautiful Jurassic coastline, as well as its own airport. Elegant Bristol and Bath, – both easily accessible by air, road or rail – offer visitors centuries of history and culture. Somerset is a rural county of rolling hills, which include the Blackdown Hills, Mendip Hills, Quantock Hills and Exmoor National Park. The fourth largest county in the UK is Devon which benefits from two coastlines and plenty of green open spaces, while laidback Cornwall, famous for its surfing, is a peninsula steeped in Celtic tradition.
South West England has some fantastic accommodation options that can cater for all budgets, tastes and requirements. The region has 5 Star Hotels equipped with luxury facilities or for those looking for something a little more traditional, there are luxurious and exclusive guesthouses in charming locations. When the work is over the region’s beautiful landscapes, fascinating history, exciting towns and cities and four World Heritage Sites are ready to inspire. An abundance of outdoor pursuits will be close by for team building or entertainment and locally produced food and drink is perfect for ensuring delegates are kept impressed.
What about the all important corporate entertainment? The South West has a lot to offer corporate event planners when it comes to entertainment, whatever the budget or event type. Scarlett Entertainment is a corporate destination entertainment specialist offering a huge range of world class entertainment options for conferences, exhibitions, product launches, gala dinners and award ceremonies in the South West region.
A selection of some of the most popular corporate entertainment in the South West:
Champagne aerialist – wow your guests and clients with an aerial waitress! This glamorous Bristol based act will pour champagne for guests whilst suspended from the ceiling. Previous clients include the BBC, FIFA and Nintendo.
Jazz singer Kate – This 1920s/30s style Jazz singer from Cheltenham is the perfect entertainment option for corporate drinks receptions or during dinner! A critically acclaimed performer, Kate performed at the BAFTA Awards champagne reception, as well as boasting previous clients that include Earl Spencer, The Royal Air Force and The Royal Society of Arts!
Session Party Band – This Gloucestershire based 6-9 piece party band is a popular choice amongst corporate clients thanks to their high energy performance and varied repertoire. ‘Session’ are an ideal choice to get the corporate party started, playing a range of funk, soul and pop classics! Previous clients include Exeter University, GE Capital Bank and Glastonbury festival.
Parisian Spectacular after-dinner show – A Devon based troupe of performers who will transport guests to 1900s Paris and a time of showgirls and cancan dancers! This after dinner show features an all-singing-all-dancing cast of professional performers who have wowed corporate crowds across the globe. Previous clients include Bahrain Formula One, Oxford University and Black Hat New Delhi.
Johnny Depp look-a-like – This amazing look-a-like and sound-a-like is the ideal entertainment option for drinks receptions, meet and greets, product launches and exhibitions (he will definitely draw the crowds!!). A Torbay based performer, this impressive impersonator can perform as a range of Johnny Depp characters; from Captain Jack Sparrow and Sweeney Todd, to Willy Wonka!
Population: Nearly 5 million people live in the South West region.
Getting to the South West:
Road links : The M5, M4, A303 and A31 provide motorway and trunk road access to South West England.
Rail : There are currently 20 rail lines that enter the South West from the rest of the UK, including 5 main lines.
Airports : Bournemouth- Services from UK, Western & Eastern Europe . Bristol – Services from UK, Europe, North America & Africa. Exeter – Services from UK, Western & Eastern Europe. Newquay – Services from UK and Western Europe. Plymouth – Services from UK and Western Europe .
By Ferry : Plymouth – Routes from Roscoff (France) & Santander (Spain). Poole – Routes from Cherbourg (France) & St Malo (France). Weymouth – Routes from the Channel Islands & St Malo (France) .
Accommodation: Figures show the South West has 13,800 hotels with 250,000 bed spaces.
Top 5 unique venues
National Marine Aquarium, Plymouth – Event organisers can choose from a number of different spaces throughout the Aquarium; perhaps a conference followed by a sit down meal for 120 guests served in front of the Eddystone exhibit or for a more intimate setting, delegates can use the Demi Tunnel alongside the Ocean Tank where Sand Tiger Sharks swim overhead. There is also the new Horizons gallery with stunning views across Plymouth Sound and the Barbican, or a more traditional conference suite has breakout spaces for refreshments, with team building activities within the main aquarium. The National Marine Aquarium can accommodate groups as small as 10 people up to 250. All spaces are available either individually or together and can be laid out in formal or informal table plans.
Powderham Castle, Exeter – Powderham Castle is an elegant family home, inhabited by the Courtenay family for over 600 years. This venue has a long history of hosting events and is recognised as one of the Country’s leading venues. The Castle, built in 1392, is set amidst a beautiful Deer Park with breathtaking views across to the Exe Estuary. Its ancient woodland creates a peaceful setting where fallow deer graze and where grey herons and exotic egrets are a familiar sight around the lakes. Organisers can choose from the majestic State Rooms, the vast Music Room, the State Dining Room and splendid libraries. Depending on the type of corporate event, this venue can cater for between 20 and 150 people.
Brunel’s SS Great Britain, Bristol – The world’s first luxury liner is a multi award-winning venue for non-residential conferences, corporate and private functions. Steeped in history, the ship makes for a stunning and memorable setting at the heart of Bristol’s harbour. Brunel’s SS Great Britain is equipped to host AGMs, conferences, exhibitions, client entertainment and office parties, as well as product, media, brand and advertising launches. Up-to-date, flexible and modern facilities, with easy access and excellent transport links. Venue hire space on board ship include the Top Deck, the Promenade Deck, the First Class Dining Saloon and Hayward Saloon. Clients are able to hire part of the ship or have exclusive use of the entire ship. Caters for between 12 and 200.
Westpoint, Exeter – Westpoint is able to provide a fantastic venue for conferences of any size up to 5,000 people. Westpoint is an alternative Devon conference venue that is situated in beautiful surroundings, in the heart of the South West. Ideally situated on the outskirts of Exeter City Centre, its location lends itself to local, regional, national and international conferences as it is easily accessible from all major road networks, rail and air. There are two conference options at Westpoint; the Conference Room and the Arena.
Museum of the Great Western Railway, Swindon – STEAM offers a unique venue and setting to all kinds of events – from gala dinners, canapé receptions and product launches, to AGMs. With an exceptional range of rooms and Museum spaces available, this venue can accommodate any event – from a small meeting for 5 people, to a prestigious conference for 750. All dedicated corporate hospitality rooms are tastefully decorated – in keeping with the GWR theme – and include many special GWR features. With the choice of holding an event right next to some of the iconic steam locomotives!