East is best

East of EnglandDirectly to the north of London, the East of England covers the counties of Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Norfolk and Suffolk – and has preserved much of its unspoilt character, rural landscape, architecture and traditions.

Bedfordshire
There are few counties in the UK that can boast a central location quite like Bedfordshire, with 40 million people living within a two hour drive. Right in the middle of the M1 and A1 arterial routes, Bedfordshire has excellent rail connections to London and the North and great European links too – Paris in less than three hours via St Pancras International and London Luton Airport serves more than 30 European destinations including key interline hubs such as Tel-Aviv and Amsterdam.

And since location is probably the most important decision when planning a conference, there’s no better place to start than this small but mighty county. Whether you want the busier focused atmosphere of an urban centre or the more relaxed, inspirational feel of a rural setting, Bedfordshire won’t be beaten.

Across the county there is a huge choice ranging from historic Luton Hoo, a five star golf and spa resort, to purpose built facilities like Bedford’s i-Lab and Luton’s Innovation Centre, ideal for smaller meetings. Training events might be suited to one of our academic institutions, like Cranfield University, Shuttleworth College or the University of Bedfordshire, where on-site accommodation can be provided. Similarly Wyboston Lakes, the largest independently owned, single site, residential training and conference centre in Northern Europe, provides excellent facilities.

Add a theme
Match your venue to your mood and plan your conference around a theme. Some of our best visitor attractions welcome conference business, like the award winning Woburn Safari Park. For memorable away days choose a venue where delegates can have a go at something new. Bedfordshire has an incredible variety of high octane activities from clay shooting and paint balling to monster truck driving and gliding. Experience the thrill of adrenalin sports like indoor skydiving or base jumping at Bodyflight or wakeboarding at Box End Park.

Palmer Sport and Millbrook Proving Ground specialise in corporate hospitality, team building and product launches where site security is paramount. But if high profile is more important than high security, perhaps for an award dinner, venues with a wow factor might include the Sculpture Gallery at Woburn Abbey or the Wernher Restaurant at Luton Hoo – said to have been modelled on the Palace of Versailles.

If you want a slower pace to de-stress your delegates, Tofte Manor is the perfect place. A beautiful, privately owned venue in its own extensive and secluded grounds incorporating a labyrinth and specialising in holistic therapies and alternative treatments – a place of retreat that combines modern facilities, comfortable accommodation and the all important personal touch.

Essex
Essex is home to the oldest recorded town, the world’s longest pleasure pier and the 2012 mountain biking event.

With over 150 venues you are sure to find one that suits your needs. Why not hire the UK’s tallest Tudor gatehouse, a venue used by the Knights Templar or even Europe’s largest independent zoo.
Conveniently located close to London and continental Europe, Essex is the perfect choice. The county offers a unique combination of coast, town and country, all within easy access of London and with an excellent range of top quality conference and meeting facilities waiting to be discovered.

Some of the best and most unusual venues are set in lovely countryside with a rolling landscape or picturesque historic towns. Quaint coastal towns such as Burnham-on-Crouch, Wivenhoe and Brightlingsea differ from the popular seaside resorts of Clacton-on-Sea and Southend-on-Sea, where a variety of attractions as well as exciting special events take place throughout the year.

Spoilt for choice
There is a rich mix of stately homes, spa hotels, purpose built conference venues, golf clubs or venues with a difference. For example, Layer Marney Tower, the tallest Tudor gatehouse, has its own private park. Topsail Charters offers a function room onboard a Thames sailing barge and Five Lakes is a modern high quality complex with full leisure and golf facilities.

Whether you are looking for a venue for a conference, meeting, launch, party or corporate hospitality we have a venue to fulfil your needs. Why not take your staff or clients wine tasting in an English Vineyard, go team building at the new high rope adventure centre, have a game of golf in one of the 68 golf clubs, turn your hand at a new skill like cookery or zoo keeping or just have fun with quad biking, archery or paint balling?

There’s also an abundance of things do and see in your spare time. Why not shop till you drop in England’s oldest recorded town, Colchester, explore the rich heritage at stately homes, gardens and museums, or relax and unwind on the Blackwater Estuary. Alternatively take time to wine and dine in one of the many fine restaurants available, or simply just take a stroll within the unspoilt countryside.

If it’s convenience you need, many of our venues are located next to the M25, M11 and Stansted Airport. Essex has excellent access via road, sea, rail and air.

Hertfordshire
The region of Hertfordshire is an ideal location for any business event. The county offers everything from contemporary, stylish modern venues to a great choice of historical and cultural locations. Many also specialise in corporate team building, golf days or even spa days, all on offer at Hanbury Manor Hotel, near Ware.

The Hertfordshire Hoteliers Association represents a fine collection of branded and unique individually owned properties across Herts, boasting around 1,500 guest bedrooms and more than 100 highly flexible conference, meeting and event rooms.

You can choose from modern business hotels in corporate locations like the new four star Holiday Inn in the heart of Stevenage, boutique city centre properties such as Beales in Hatfield within easy access to the airports, and country house venues, with great character, fascinating history and beautiful landscaped gardens, Sopwell House in St Albans being a fine example.

Conference Hertfordshire has two sites in Hatfield offering a wide range of academic conference facilities. The state of the art de Havilland Campus is built on one single compact site. It offers auditorium for 450, has 50+ seminar rooms, 1,600 ensuite bedrooms and fabulous sports facilities, including pool, gym and climbing wall.

Venues with a difference
If you are looking for venues with a difference, Hertfordshire is home to both Hatfield House and Knebworth House who can both offer magnificent stately homes as the venue for your conference, meeting or corporate hospitality. If you are looking for a venue with a difference, you might want to consider Paradise Wildlife Park in Broxbourne, where they are experts in corporate hospitality and team building, especially if you choose to get up close and personal to some of their animals in residence.

Wherever you decide to go, you are sure to find a venue to match your personal requirements and receive a warm welcome. With easy access from London and outstanding transport links, Hertfordshire is the perfect location to bring your business.

Anarea to be proud of
The East of England has a vast range of locations and choice of types of venues, many with historic backdrops and a touch of class. Check out our stately homes and give your delegates the opportunity to use their surroundings for some creative thinking. The home of the Dukes of Bedford, the beautiful Sculpture Gallery at 18th C. Woburn Abbey creates a truly memorable setting. Whilst the eccentric oval-shaped Ickworth House at Horringer (near. Bury St. Edmunds) offers a range of rooms in its elegantly restored West Wing.

Enjoy a meeting amongst the stylish interiors of Wimpole Hall in Arrington (near Royston) surrounded by its spectacular vistas. Or in Lord Lothian’s Study at Jacobean Blickling Hall (near Aylsham), adorned with Dutch gables and turrets. The Old Palace at Hatfield House was the childhood home of Queen Elizabeth I – an historic gem for an exhibition.

Dine your delegates with a banquet in The Long Gallery at Layer Marney Tower (near Colchester) – England’s tallest Tudor gatehouse. An intriguing history, fine architecture and antique furnishings make 18th C. Brocket Hall (nea. Welwyn Garden City) an exclusive countryside retreat.
Or travel back to Tudor times in the handsome library at moated Kentwell Hall in Long Melford (near Sudbury). Whilst the exquisitely gilded Drawing Room in Hylands House at Chelmsford is perfect for a seminar.

For more information
www.visiteastofengland.com
www.experiencebedfordshire.co.uk
www.visitessex.com