Meet in the south west of England

BournmouthBournemouth means Big Business and the proof is in the pudding! The Bournemouth International Centre announced that in 2009/10, conference, exhibition and business events held in the Bournemouth conurbation, had injected approximately £122 million into the
local economy.

During the period April 2009 - March 2010, the BIC and Pavilion alone hosted 92 conferences, exhibitions and business events attracting over 81,000 conference delegates and exhibition visitors, which in turn generated 214,000 overnight stays in local accommodation. With smaller conferences, meetings and events held in other venues and hotels throughout the town, Bournemouth’s place in the UK as one of the leading destinations for business tourism has, once again, been firmly secured.

So why is Bournemouth proving to be so popular? Here is just a taster.

The destination
Bournemouth – winner of Best UK Resort at the 2008 & 2009 Group Leisure Awards – is the jewel on England’s south coast.  With its idyllic location, mild climate, seven miles of award-winning beaches, acres of luscious Green Flag gardens and bustling cosmopolitan bars and restaurants, it is the perfect choice for event organisers.     

For delectable dining, the Crab at Bournemouth has recently opened directly opposite the BIC and on the menu is Snow Crab, Blue Crab, Lobster and Langoustine. It is under the same ownership as the multi award-winning and acclaimed celeb-haunt The Crab at Chieveley.

Edge Restaurant is the newest restaurant, in Alum Chine, offering fine-dining with panoramic views for 100 covers, including an outside terrace and is reachable by a glass lift. The top floors offer modern European cuisine in a setting with bespoke furniture, exclusive fabrics and a private dining experience with 360º views.                                                                 

New developments
Bournemouth is rapidly emerging as the must see new cosmopolitan destination to visit, boasting an impressive choice of new design-led and cultural developments.

The Green House Hotel is Bournemouth’s first eco-hotel and pitches itself as the UK’s greenest. The new £5.5 million hotel features 32 rooms and is just minutes from the sandy beach. The Grade II Victorian Villa has been extensively renovated while minimising its impact on the environment.

The creation of a new dance centre means the Bournemouth Pavilion will host a world-class dance centre. The £3.29 million Pavilion Dance scheme will be for everyone and the best regional, national and international dance companies will also perform there. The project includes a 1,249m² dance centre, a large entrance foyer, community and professional dance studios, changing rooms, and a studio theatre with retractable seating for up to 200, backstage facilities, first class lighting and audio visual equipment including cinema projection. The facilities will open this month.

The two Dorset resorts of Bournemouth and Poole have jointly launched a new campaign, the Coast with the Most, to highlight the wealth of water sports they offer. With their golden sands, eight blue flags and a choice of more than 25 water sports all within ten miles, the two holiday resorts can rightly claim to be the UK’s premier water sports capital.

Out of town

On the border of Dorset and Hampshire, the region enjoys some of the most charming and unspoilt countryside
in Britain.

To the west lies the famous Jurassic Coast, which has joined the Great Barrier Reef and the Grand Canyon as one of the wonders of the natural world. To the east of Bournemouth you can find the beauty of the New Forest National Park. All of which is easily accessible by train, bus, car or for the adventurous, pedal-power.

Whether you are organising an event for thousand of delegates or a smaller more intimate gathering, Meet Bournemouth, the towns official Conference Bureau, can offer the local knowledge and expertise to make your event an unforgettable experience. From traditional hotels to funky venues and entertainment options, creating the ideal package is easy. Bournemouth hotels were recently voted the best value in the world, and with accommodation ranging from boutique guest houses to an array of 4-star hotels, there’s more than enough to suit any budget.  

Historical Bath
Bath and the surrounding area is an ideal choice for business events. Designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, Bath is a truly unique destination for any conference, meeting or corporate event. The wonderful backdrop of heritage and beautiful surrounding countryside is combined with a range of exceptionally high quality, character and unusual venues.  

With elegant Georgian architecture a-plenty, there isn’t a shortage of character venues in Bath. The Assembly Rooms serve as Bath’s premier conference venue, providing a prestigious setting for up to 500 delegates. This stunning Grade 1 listed building is also perfect for exhibitions, AGMs and gala dinners. The building dates back to 1771 and is still adorned with its original Whitefriars crystal chandeliers and exquisite portraits by Gainsborough and Hoare within its interconnected rooms.  

Head outside of the city and you’ll discover Center Parcs, hidden away in Longleat Forest. Its purpose-built conference suites can accommodate up to 400 delegates and on-site accommodation is available with a choice of one to four bedroom villas.  Center Parcs also offers an excellent range of motivational team building activities.

Bath is very much a sporting centre with a rugby team, racecourse and top sporting facilities at the University of Bath. The University has large meeting facilities in its lecture theatres and syndicate rooms as well as a range of accommodation at competitive rates.

If you’re looking for a venue with a difference why not host an event at Bath Racecourse? The Racecourse is a versatile venue ideal for any business or social event, set in acres of beautiful countryside and offering a variety of both indoor and outdoor space.

Rooms for any size meeting
Bath has a large stock of small meeting rooms available within the city and beyond. From luxury hotels to purpose built facilities, Bath offers a range of small meeting rooms at exclusive venues.

There are also a number of unusual places to meet in Bath – ideal for evening meetings and events. The Roman Baths is a popular and extraordinary venue serving as a perfect location for an evening drinks reception.  

Whilst visiting Bath on business it is worth taking time out after the work is done to explore the beautiful city of Bath. Bathe in the Thermae Bath Spa, explore the ancient Roman Baths or visit one of the city’s many interesting and diverse attractions. Shopping is also at the top of the list for any visitor to Bath with a high number of independent and boutique shops along with all the usual high street names you would expect from a top shopping destination.          

Bath city centre is incredibly compact, and you can walk from one side of the city to the other in under 20 minutes – ideal for delegates arriving by train or coach. If driving, the city is equally easy to reach and only a short drive from the M4.

The conference and events team at Bath Tourism Plus offer an efficient, professional and free service based on excellent knowledge of the area and its venues to help ensure that your conference or meeting is a success.

Meet in Bristol
As the closest major city to London and the gateway to South West England, Bristol has excellent access from three motorways, two mainline rail stations and an international airport. Even better – the city prides itself on sustainability and is often referred to as the ‘UK Green Capital’ since Bristol was the only UK city shortlisted for the 2010-2011 European Green Capital.

In addition to its green credentials, Bristol offers a wide selection of exciting and unique venues for event organisers. These range from purpose built hotels and conference centres to more unusual and unique facilities.

Bristol is home to two major universities, each providing a range of venues. The University of West England offers a new 4,000 square metre exhibition space. There are also a number of other educational establishments suited to smaller events. Residential venues range in size from 30 to 300 rooms with both internationally recognised brands and small independent properties. Sport stadia such as Ashton Gate Stadium boast a variety of function rooms and can accommodate up to 900 delegates in the Dolman Exhibition Hall, in addition to smaller events.

Combine Bristol’s commitment to sustainability, quality venues, attention to customer service and one can see how the city offers a competitive destination for government events. Event organisers can also rest easy knowing Bristol provides sustainable travel, accommodation, unique venues and dining options whilst in the city.

Bristol’s city centre offers a compact area for event attendees with an array of hotels, unique venues, attractions and dining options all within walking distance. Bristol is best seen by foot, but residents and visitors alike often rely on the city’s excellent public transportation, including a ferry boat system which travels along Bristol’s popular Harbourside to major shopping, dining and attraction venues. The city is home to over 450 parks and green spaces, many of which are within walking distance from major event venues.

Event organisers and attendees can rest easy knowing that Bristol hotels are committed to green tourism, with 14 Bristol accommodation venues are accredited by the Green Tourism Business Scheme. The 275-room Mercure Bristol Holland House Hotel was recently awarded Gold by the Scheme, making it the largest hotel in the South West to receive such achievement.
Meet green
Several unique Bristol meeting venues also show a devotion to sustainability. Bristol Zoo Gardens is well known for its commitment to conservation and accredited by the Green Tourism Business Scheme. The world’s fifth oldest zoo also received a Big Tick Award recently for its green achievements. the venue offers event organisers over 12 acres of beautiful grounds and its popular Clifton Pavilion can accommodate 10 to 120 guests including a purpose built lecture theatre with tiered seating for 119 delegates.

Brunel’s ss Great Britain is another unique venue with a devotion to sustainable business practise. The world’s first luxury liner is also an award-winning event location, recently awarded Gold from the South West Tourism Excellence Awards for its venue hire service. With three unique conference spaces and capacity for 140, Brunel’s ss Great Britain provides an unforgettable event location and is accredited by the Green Tourism
Business Scheme.

New to Bristol in 2011, the M Shed history museum will provide added conferencing space for the city and features a number of green energy initiatives including a bio-mass boiler and solar panels, along with amazing city views. Other unique venues like Blue Reef Aquarium, At-Bristol, The CREATE Centre and Bristol’s Watershed media centre also show devotion to sustainability, whilst providing an interesting environment for attendees.

Eat green
Bristol is host to a variety of green dining options for event organisers. Internationally recognised for its contribution to sustainable development and environment efficiency, the popular Bordeaux Quay restaurant on Bristol’s Harbourside has carefully considered every aspect of how its building functions from light sensors in the toilet to a rain water harvesting system, sustainably sourced materials and a comprehensive recycling and composting scheme.

Also in Bristol’s city centre, the eco-friendly Glassboat Restaurant provides a unique dining venue with meeting space and an interesting story to tell. The floating converted barge was created with only recycled materials from various Bristol locations. The founder scrounged scrap materials which included pine from the flour mills, toilet doors from the then derelict Royal Hotel, window glass from the keg store of the former Georges Brewery and marble slab from the Bristol fish market. The Glassboat and sister restaurant, Spyglass, offers salad and vegetables grown in the company’s own local kitchen garden.

Destination Bristol offers a free venue finding service in which a dedicated, professional team can find the perfect green event venues and organise site visits for peace of mind and any budget. The team also offers support through suggested itineraries and delegate programmes, providing a one stop shop for all event planning needs.

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