Sue Robb of 4Children talks to Julie Laughton and Alison Britton from the Department for Education about the role of childminders in delivering the 30 hours free entitlement.
From magnificent castles and stately homes that provide a unique glimpse into the past; inspiring countryside with sweeping green hills and dramatic rocky outcrops; cosmopolitan cities combining shopping with night life; historic market towns; majestic gardens and locations that have inspired movie makers – welcome to the East Midlands.
A fresh look at Derbyshire
Conferencing in Derbyshire is changing – and it’s well worth taking a fresh look at what the county can offer. Nestling between the M1 and M6, at the crossroads of the major rail networks and within easy reach of Manchester and East Midlands Airports, it’s centrally located and couldn’t be more convenient – just two hours away from 80 per cent of the UK’s population.
Derbyshire is home to many international organisations such as Bison, JCB and Toyota, as well as being a centre of manufacturing expertise, housing such businesses as Bombardier and Rolls-Royce. Boasting one of the world’s most visited National Parks, the Peak District, as well as the dynamic city of Derby and several bustling market towns, the county’s profile as a popular setting for films such as ‘Pride & Prejudice’ and ‘The Duchess’ make it a sought-after location to live, work and stay.
With Derby only 93 minutes from London by train, a host of new hotels have changed the landscape of the city. New arrivals include the boutique-style Cathedral Quarter and Hallmark Derby, new developments such as Ramada Encore and Jurys Inn in 2009, and Hampton by Hilton, due to open its doors in 2010. The city is a very exciting and vibrant place to be, with regeneration projects such as the Derby College Roundhouse and the prestigious Westfield shopping development. More established venues are also being refurbished such as the ever-popular Derby Conference Centre and Pride Park Stadium.
Derbyshire’s towns combine character and convenience, with unique venues such as The Devonshire Dome, The Barceló Buxton Palace and The Old Hall in Buxton, home of the famous mineral water, with its direct rail link into Manchester Piccadilly. Bakewell, home of the famous pudding, is home to The Rutland Arms, while Chesterfield has a brand new four-star hotel, Casa, opening this year, as well as a brand new stadium, b2net, for Chesterfield Football Club. The jewel in Derbyshire’s crown is undoubtedly the Peak District, home to iconic venues such as Alton Towers Resort and Chatsworth, which has recently broadened its brief to accommodate corporate events.
The area offers many hidden gems ideal for focusing on business amid relaxing surroundings – from the award-winning East Lodge Country House Hotel at Rowsley and spectacular Thornbridge Hall at Ashford in the Water to the oldest Marriott in the world, Breadsall Priory, near Derby, which also boasts two 18-hole golf courses. For people with a sense of adventure, Peak Pursuits has a base at Tittesworth Reservoir, where it specialises in water-based activities, while for those with a head for heights, high ropes courses at Go Ape and at Hargate Hall offer the opportunity to enjoy some high-adrenaline team-building.
Conference Derbyshire can help you book your conference, meeting or event in our stunning location, right at the heart of the UK, by:
Conference Derbyshire shares offices with Visit Peak District & Derbyshire, the area’s official tourist board, at Crescent View, Hall Bank, Buxton, Derbyshire SK17 6EN. For further information, log on to www.conference-derbyshire.co.uk, call 0845 833 0970 extension 4850 or e-mail email@example.com.
A destination of contradictions
Breath-taking architecture, contemporary culture, historical houses and boutique style make Leicester and Leicestershire an inspirational destination for your conference or event. Leicester and Leicestershire is home to some of the most inspirational conferencing and event venues in the country – from state-of-the-art and purpose built conference centres, through to traditional conference venues and stately homes combining yesterday’s architecture with today’s hi-tech facilities.
Leicester offers a mix of world cultures with contemporary city style. The changing face of the conference venues mirrors the transformation of the city centre, from purpose built conference centres to converted art-deco cinemas all located in the heart of the city.
Leicester’s style revolution is apparent when you visit Curve theatre, designed by world-renowned architect Rafael Vinoly. Not only does the dramatic design offer a perfect venue to experience world-class theatre performances, but will also provide an inspirational backdrop to your conference or event.
As a landmark building situated within the cultural quarter of Leicester city centre, Athena combines original art deco features with state of the art technology, to provide an ideal venue for banquets, conferences, exhibitions and AGMs.
Leicester Marriott Hotel forms a stunning gateway to the vibrant region. The hotel offers an outstanding choice of 21 meeting and conference rooms, designed to accommodate every kind of event, from important conferences to private board-level meetings.
How about doing business in space? The National Space Centre is a top visitor attraction in Leicester but also makes for a unique venue for events and conferences. This is a flexible venue for conferences and seminars catering for 10-500 guests.
Leicester Conferences is the dedicated conference and accommodation team within the University of Leicester. At the University of Leicester you will have conference facilities for 10-2,000 delegates, with venues set in central locations and within grounds of botanical gardens.
A breath of fresh air
Just a few minutes away from the city lies a very different world. Beautiful rolling countryside, winding waterways, ancient woodland, historic market towns and picturesque villages provide the ultimate rural retreat. Leicestershire’s landscape makes for stunning conference venue locations. Take your conference back to nature and bring the event outside. From the National Forest to ancient castles, these all make for ideal settings to hold your conference, event and team building activities.
Belvoir Castle and surrounding parklands are available for a range of events from an intimate dinner in the State Dining Room to a conference or marquee event in the park. In recent times the castle and park have played host to a broad range of diverse events and activities; from product launches and auctions to filming and prom concerts.
For centuries Rockingham Castle has entertained royalty and private guests within its ancient walls. Walker’s House, within the original curtain wall of the castle, has recently been refurbished to provide full conference facilities with meeting and conference rooms and full catering facilities.
Set amidst the 410 acres of Loughborough University grounds, the multi award-winning imago offers an array of facilities for meetings, seminars, conferences, exhibitions and events spread across three state-of-the-art venues.
A picturesque Edwardian country mansion set in the rolling countryside of Leicestershire, Scalford Hall provides an excellent management training centre and its extensive grounds provide a colourful backdrop for events. It was recently awarded The Condé Nast Award for Most Excellent Dedicated Venue 2010 and the event team are gearing up for a busy year.
Hotel manager Mark Watts said: “2009 was a challenging year for most businesses, however, 2010 looks promising and on the top of the agenda, sitting alongside training and development, is re-building teams.
“Scalford Hall Management Training Centre and Hotel has extensive facilities for both indoor and outdoor teambuilding events. Teambuilding does not have to be about expensive events but they are vital in rebuilding trust and removing barriers as well as motivating employees.”
The Centre is recognised for the development of management and leadership skills, alongside a range of external teambuilding equipment, exercises and tasks that provide powerful learning media in support of your training objectives. The activities have all been developed to call upon a participant’s cognitive, creative and organisational skills.
Location, Location, Location
Located in the heart of the East Midlands, Leicester and Leicestershire offer a strong transport infrastructure combining excellent road, rail and air links to provide access to the major business centres in the UK and Europe.
Conferences@GoLeicestershire offers a free, easy to use, online guide to the venues large and small, conventional and unique within Leicester and Leicestershire. The site includes a ‘virtual’ conference desk where organisers can view conference-specific venue listings categorised by residential, non-residential and corporate hospitality. However, if you want something a little different and need suggestions of quirky venues, itineraries or social activities – tailored to your needs – contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call Helen on 0116 299 6666.
Whatever your event plans may be – a getaway to inspire the team or a conference to inform your customers – Lincolnshire has a venue to suit every occasion.
Many may not know but Lincoln Castle situated in the heart of Lincoln City’s historic Cathedral quarter can be booked for full or half day conferences. Built in 1068 it offers an inspirational backdrop to meeting and conference exhibitions. Refreshments, buffet lunches are available onsite. In addition guided tours and wall walks can also be booked – adding a little something extra to the usual conference experience.
The most recent edition to the county’s conference centre is one of the greenest buildings in the UK; the Lincolnshire Events Centre on the Lincolnshire Showground, known more widely as the EPIC Centre. This award winning eco-building offers the opportunity to experience the best in corporate and social functions against a backdrop of total environmental sensitivity. It is the UK’s first purpose build green conference centre and was recently voted the top eco building in the UK. The venue is highly flexible and can accommodate events for 10 to 1,500 people. It is fully serviced, with catering, décor, audio visual and entertainment solutions in place. Located just 10 minutes out of the city centre, or 40 miles from the M180 it is among the top choice of venues in the county.
If you want to blow away those corporate cobwebs head off to Butlins, Skegness on the Lincolnshire coast. Their conference facilities aren’t what you’d usually expect to see at a seaside holiday resort. From product launches to themes gala dinners, conferences to parties, Butlins offers onsite space, parking, entertainment and accommodation parties of three to 3,000.
If delicious food and drink is towards the top of your wish list for a venue then don’t miss Uncle Henry’s newly renovated barn conversion. Located alongside their popular farm shop in the countryside north of the City, just off the A15, it is the perfect place to hold your event. Their cosy function room offers theatre-style seating for up to 50 people and boardroom-style layout for up to 30. There is also a lounge for welcoming guests as they arrive and offering breaks during long meetings. What makes this venue stand out from the crowd are the full catering facilities provided by their farm shop kitchen. Don’t miss the chance to refuel on juicy Lincolnshire sausages, plum bread, cakes, scones and refreshments. Uncle Henry’s is the ideal place to hold a meeting in a relaxed rural setting.
If leisure facilities are as important to your party as conference facilities, Forrest Pines in northern Lincolnshire is the place for you. The 4-star hotel is five minutes off the M180 and nestled in 190 acres of countryside. The nationally recognised 18-hole golf course offers an ideal opportunity for delegates to relax before and after corporate events. Inside, the nine conferencing suites are ideal for board meetings, video conference and training days with maximum capacity reaching 370 delegates.
Remaining in the south of the county off the A1 is The George Hotels Business Centre. Set in the Georgian stone built town of Stamford offering a glimpse into a bygone age. Cherry picked by film directors the stunning town inspires all who visit. The George Hotel, one of the oldest coaching inns in the UK is superbly equipped and provides an ideal environment in which to conduct all types of meetings and conferences within the elegant surroundings.
For more information please see www.lincolnshiretourism.com/venue-lincolnshire
Diversity in Northamptonshire
Whatever type of event you are organising you can experience the diversity only Northamptonshire can offer. Home to three of the country’s most famous racing circuits, the home of British Motorsport can help you deliver an exciting high-octane event or why not allow your delegates to experience our fascinating history, heritage and exceptional beauty of our countryside in one of our many historic country house – including a castle built on the instruction of William the Conqueror.
What better combination could you find than the thrill of a world class racing circuit and a fabulous 4-star conference hotel with leisure facilities? Silverstone Racing Circuit, with its action packed race calendar and, of course, the British Formula One Grand Prix, sits right next door to Whittlebury Hall, which offers a purpose-built, professional learning environment, a personalised and flexible service and the widest range of business and leisure facilities – all centrally located in the heart of the country within minutes of the M1 and M40.
The training and meeting facilities at Whittlebury Hall consist of 14 principal management training suites, 32 fully serviced syndicate rooms, six meeting rooms and an executive boardroom. There are two large conference suites, Grand Prix and Brooklands, hosting up to 500 delegates.
“2010 is an important year to focus on our core market – training, management development and leadership,” said Michael Stott, director of sales and marketing. “There has never been a better or more cost-effective time to use professional facilities to add value through improved skills and enhanced business techniques.”
Wittlebury Hall also offers award-winning leisure facilities to provide a welcome contrast to your day. Even before you get down to business, the Ice Breaker sessions feature a therapist joining you for a 15-minute session of massage and meditation – this will allow delegates to benefit from a deeper understanding of basic stress and tension-relieving techniques. Furthermore, the Day Spa delivers a range of stimulating experiences for body and soul, including the Heat and Ice Experience, Turkish bath, and invigorating treatments. The leisure club features a fully equipped gym, 19-metre pool plus whirpool spa, sauna and steam room.
The experienced event management team at Whittlebury Hall will work with you to ensure the services you receive match your requirements in every way. To discuss their unique, passionate and innovative approach to meetings and events, call 0845 400 0003.
If you are looking for a corporate day that will keep your employees and customers talking, Rockingham Circuit is the perfect choice. Try one of their superb driving day packages, or combine some serious driving fun with a conference or seminar, helping to break down barriers between staff members whilst enhancing those all important business relationships. Alternatively, a bespoke conference can be booked in conjunction with tailor-made corporate driving activities especially to suit individual specifications.
If you want to slow the pace, delight your delegates with the elegance and tranquility of one of Northamptonshire’s country house venues such as Highgate House, a striking country mansion in the picturesque village of Creaton, near Northampton. It has evolved over the years into a superb venue for all kinds of events. A multiple award-winning conference centre, it is one of the finest meeting venues in the Midlands.
Or try the historic Holdenby House. Set in beautiful rolling countryside just a few miles from Northampton, Holdenby House was the prison of Charles I and is the surviving wing of what was once the largest private house in England. So many venues seem cast from the same mould, but Holdenby – with its unique history and atmosphere – offers a refreshingly different experience.
Make it a truly historic event in the magnificent setting of Rushton Hall, a Grade I listed Elizabethan country house hotel and restaurant surrounded by some of the most beautiful, tranquil countryside, with a wide range of activities, attractions and country pursuits on the doorstep.
Last but not least, set in 12 acres of forest and formal gardens, on a hill overlooking five counties, sits Rockingham Castle. Built on the order of William the Conqueror, this was a royal residence for 450 years. For centuries Rockingham Castle has entertained royalty and private guests within its ancient walls and the history and tradition still continue. This is a truly magnificent setting for an unforgettable event.
Explore Northamptonshire is the destination management agency formed in 2004 to promote Northamptonshire as a first choice destination for visitors. Its main objective is to coordinate and deliver the marketing activity of the county, promoting Northamptonshire to UK and overseas leisure and business tourism markets. For more information on how they can help arrange your event visit the website at www.explorenorthamptonshire.co.uk
Fast becoming one of the UK’s premier destinations for conferences, meetings and events, Nottingham is now one of the top six UK cities for conferences. The city has become a popular choice for thousands of domestic visitors, trade associations, professional bodies, societies and organisations from across the UK, helping to generate an economic benefit of £1.86 million. The Nottinghamshire Convention Bureau, Experience Nottinghamshire’s business tourism arm, is confident that the city can become even more popular in coming months as its reputation for rich heritage, cosmopolitan shopping, nightlife and thriving centres of business continue to grow.
With an extensive range of venues, from a 10,000-seat arena to unique heritage sites, Nottingham is well positioned as an ideal host for everything from small business meetings to full scale AGMs. The past few years have seen Nottingham host a number of high profile events, including party political forums and a visit from the Dalai Lama.
Nottingham is home to a number of purpose-built conferencing venues, including The East Midlands Conference Centre. Situated on The University of Nottingham’s University Park Campus, it is considered to be one of the region’s most popular venues, catering for anything between 20 to 588 delegates.
In the heart of the city, the Nottingham Arena is the city’s largest venue, with a capacity of 10,000. The Arena can cater for a variety of events, offering flexible conferencing space with a wide choice of conferencing rooms.
For events with a difference, Nottingham Castle allows event organisers to entertain their delegates in the Victorian gallery lined with artwork from the museum collection. Alternatively, the spacious Long Gallery is a popular room for formal receptions and dinners and will provide a memorable experience.
Access all areas
Nottinghamshire is easily accessible from all areas of the country. The M1 runs directly alongside the county and sits just six miles from the city centre, whilst excellent rail links are available from most major cities, including a direct service to the new Eurostar terminal at London St Pancras. For visitors travelling by air, East Midlands Airport and Robin Hood Airport are just a short drive away.
For more information about bringing an event to Nottinghamshire, visit www.venuenottinghamshire.com. Alternatively, contact the Nottinghamshire Convention Bureau directly by calling 0115 962 8313 or e-mailing email@example.com.
Serious & fun
The Alton Towers Resort provides a unique location for any event. It caters for all occasions from hosting large residential conferences, awards dinners, team building activities, dinner dances and fantastical corporate family fun days to smaller meetings and departmental away days. The Resort boasts a fully equipped Conference Centre within metres of the two themed hotels, able to meet the accommodation requirements of the largest of conferences.
Packages for conferences and meetings are available at the award-winning Alton Towers Conference Centre, which has a daily and overnight option tailored to your requirements. With a fantastic range of additional activities available upon the Resort, why not extend your meeting and enjoy an overnight stay at either the Alton Towers or Splash Landings Hotel with 390 bedrooms and 12 fantastically themed rooms. The purpose built conference centre can host events of up to 500 delegates theatre style. Plus, private dining is available from 10 to 400 including the unique option of exclusively hiring Sharkbait Reef by SEA LIFE for pre-dinner drinks or dinner.
A whole host of added extras are available allowing you to shape and enhance your next event. From exclusive ride hire – enjoy an hour of your favourite ride once the park has closed to the public – to beating the queues with Fastrack, where you can treat your delegates to one of our shortcut tickets to maximise their time at the Theme Park. The Resort boasts one of Europe’s largest waterparks, a luxurious spa, two nine-hole adventure golf courses and the UK’s favourite Theme Park.
The Alton Towers Resort is an extraordinary location to host corporate away days offering a combination of high quality corporate venue facilities together with thrilling rides, sure to blow away the corporate cobwebs. Why not upgrade your event in the perfect team building experience – the Alton Towers Challenge where delegates take part in fun filled activities throughout the Theme Park. The away day package gives you, the organiser, the flexibility to tailor the event exactly how you wish.
Alton Towers Resort offers businesses conferences and events with a twist with fantastic rates and offers on conference facilities. Special offers are available throughout the year and include free tickets to the UK’s favourite Theme Park, free access to the tropical Waterpark on selected packages. Plus, the Resort offers a fantastic range of 24-hour and 48-hour deals that can be tailored to your requirements. For further information or to enquire about any of the above, please contact 0870 7027048 or visit www.alton-towers.com/corporate
Sue Robb of 4Children talks to Julie Laughton and Alison Britton from the Department for Education about the role of childminders in delivering the 30 hours free entitlement.
Daniel Gillett from urges the government seize the opportunities e-cycles offer by helping to make them a more realistic way of travelling for more people