Destination with a difference

Angel of the NorthA reduction in budgets has been a familiar story across the conference and meetings industry in recent years, yet the value of meeting colleagues, clients and stakeholders to discuss everything from strategy to staff training has never been more vital, and with this the need for creative solutions and value for money is perhaps more in demand than ever before.

NewcastleGateshead is a vibrant cultural destination with world-class festivals and attractions at its heart. As a growing destination catering for meetings and conferences of up to 1,700 delegates, it offers top-quality conference spaces and service providers at competitive rates, competing with established brands across the UK and Europe.  

Spectacular venues

As well as a mix of museums, galleries and theatres, the compact destination is home to some of the country’s most spectacular creative, historic and unusual venues, including an international centre for music in The Sage Gateshead, unique contemporary art gallery with BALTIC, and the Art Deco Tyneside Cinema; all offering a range of experiences for delegates and unusual spaces to hold the perfect event.

The bustling urban heart lies just minutes from coast and countryside, and provides meeting organisers with a range of options for delivering high-quality events with that little something extra. Add 2,000 years of history, the famous Geordie welcome, and an award-winning Convention Bureau to the mix, and you’re left with a destination with a difference, an inspiring place set to animate and stimulate brilliant minds.

It’s all about experience
Spanning the life-blood of the destination, Newcastle and Gateshead are stitched together by seven magnificent bridges over the River Tyne. In the last decade the destination has built an impressive reputation for delivering high-quality and high-profile corporate, association and public sector events, these have included the three main political parties in England with Labour, Conservative and Liberal Democrats all choosing the destination for their spring conferences, as well as the leaders of tomorrow with the National Union of Students in 2010 and 2011.

NewcastleGateshead Convention Bureau offers free advice and guidance to a range of national and international clients, their local knowledge helping to save conference organisers time and deliver experiences that go above and beyond what is expected from the average conference destination.

Famous for its open and welcoming nature, “friendly” hit the top spot for words used to describe the destination in the Convention Bureau’s most recent delegate survey; one delegate even used the phrase “Crème de North!”

Just 20 minutes from Newcastle International Airport and less than three hours from London by train, the convenient and well developed infrastructure combines to deliver exceptional events. The compact city centre is well signed with easily accessible mapping making NewcastleGateshead a walkable destination; 95 per cent of those surveyed said the destination was easy to get around, largely thanks to frequent Quaylink and Metro services.

Creativity at its heart

Major developments in the creative sector have seen the arrival of international music and art facilities alongside the growth of smaller venues all poised to deliver a unique experience for business and leisure visitors alike.

The depth, breadth and variety of activities open to meetings organisers mean that every event can have that little something extra: a staff away day topped off with a drumming workshop at The Sage Gateshead; a training programme with a theatrical presence at Northern Stage; a medieval banquet in the UK’s oldest dining room at Blackfriars; or a grand evening dinner set within the beautiful late Victorian former Co-operative Wholesale Society Headquarters, Discovery Museum. Its Great Hall is a site to behold and an inspiring setting for a magnificent evening.  

The destination’s rich history is evident on every corner; delegates can enjoy state-of-the-art facilities and venues set against the backdrop of wonderfully preserved and reinvented post-industrial landscapes, a concentration of Georgian and Victorian architecture in Grainger Town, which is home to 244 listed buildings, and of course, the iconic Quayside. With its seven bridges this stretch of the River Tyne acts as a monument to the twin cities magnificent engineering feats demonstrated throughout the ages, including the present day with the award winning Gateshead Millennium Bridge.   

This mix of historic presence, cultural reinvention and openness has seen both the leisure tourism and the conference and meetings industry boom across NewcastleGateshead and North East England. The twin cities attracted 19.28 million visitors in 2009, a 3 per cent rise on the previous year.  

Place for business

When considering an unusual space or creative venue a lack of associated bed space can cause concern. Yet NewcastleGateshead has a wealth of accommodation offers that is set to grow with planned hotel developments from top international brands across 2011 and 2012. Already home to brands including Jurys Inn, Malmaison and Hilton, plans include proposals for Sandman Signature, Sleeperz, Euro Hostel and Crowne Plaza hotels.

Taking a chance on an unusual venue can be very rewarding, especially in a destination like NewcastleGateshead where the meetings industry works together to ensure fantastic service right from arriving into the destination, through to checking in at the hotel, and finally, saying farewell to colleagues and new-made friends.

The Castle Gate

The Castle Gate is a uniquely historic and impressive facility built in 1902 to generate the power for the tram network in Newcastle and Gateshead. After extensive refurbishment, it is now an inspiring venue for conferences, events, meetings and training.

A wide selection of rooms is available catering for up to 500 delegates. The impressive Turbine Hall is the venue’s stand-out space; the striking 18m-high vaulted ceiling is truly awe inspiring. The open floor plan makes it the ideal space for exhibitions and larger conferences.  
 
Northern Stage
Northern Stage is one of NewcastleGateshead’s best loved arts venues, celebrating its 40th birthday last year. It offers a range of spaces to host meetings and conferences in a creative yet business-like environment.

The venue also provides performance spaces capable of presenting anything from poetry readings to awards ceremonies and the efficient and friendly team is equipped to tailor-make packages to suit individual needs up to 440 delegates.

Tyneside Cinema

Set in Newcastle’s historic Grainger Town, the Tyneside Cinema is your first stop for a stylish and original event. The Tyneside has held a place in the heart of the region for over 70 years as a newsreel cinema and as the city’s main independent cinema; in 2008 it reopened its doors after an award-winning £7 million restoration.

All of the cinema’s spaces are filled with possibilities to deliver brand messages across a range of mediums, to host a training workshop or even if it’s just to celebrate. A stylish and exciting venue, it can cater for up to 260 people, and really adds some cinematic magic and Art Deco grandeur to all it delivers.

Seven Stories: Centre for Children’s Books

Recognised as a new national home for children’s literature, Seven Stories celebrates the nation’s best loved children’s books, with an exploration of creativity, literature and art.

Housed in a multi-award-winning converted grade II listed Victorian mill in the heart of the Ouseburn Valley, Seven Stories is just a stone’s throw from Newcastle’s famous Quayside in the heart of the city. Step into a storybook setting, in a unique venue that offers an inspirational location for corporate hire. From small gatherings to larger tailor-made events, the team offers fresh and home cooked catering accompanied by friendly and professional staff for up to 100 delegates.
 
River escapes
With a fleet of three luxury equipped vessels, the River Escapes Latis, the River Escapes Fortuna and the River Escapes Coventina, a trip down the iconic River Tyne will not only invigorate up to 180 people, it will provide a memorable setting for any event, delivering changing sights of the River Tyne from the best vantage point in the city – the river itself!

Want to know more?

A convention bureau should always be the first point of contact for anyone looking to organise a conference, particularly in a place they are unfamiliar with. NewcastleGateshead Convention Bureau is a one stop shop offering impartial, unbiased advice and unrivalled local knowledge about the whole destination.

The team offers a wide variety of services, all completely free of charge, including: help to identify the most suitable conference or meeting venue; organisation of site visits; negotiation of rates and securing accommodation; provision of an online delegate booking service; and advice on local suppliers, partner programmes and making the most of the destination.

For more information:
NewcastleGateshead Convention Bureau will be at International Confex  1-3 March at Earls Court, London; visit them on stand B220, or to learn more about the destination go to www.NewcastleGateshead.com/Meet or e-mail conventionbureau@ngi.org.uk