Reader recommended training venues and where to find them

In a recent survey, we asked readers to recommend the best training venues. Here are eight of them.

Best value for money

Lancaster House Hotel Conference Centre

It is part-owned by the University of Lancaster, has 14 meeting rooms, and can accommodate up to 180 guests. Facilities include three self-contained conference suites, each comprising a single large conference room connected to three smaller syndicate rooms. Equipment includes: LCD projector, DVD/video player, speakers, screen, flip chart and white board.

Parking: 120 spaces

Typical cost:12 delegates staying overnight: £1,415( excl. VAT) or£117.96 (excl. VAT) per person, including dinner and breakfast.

Typical dinner menu: Bury black pudding, pan-fried rack of Lakeland lamb, and white chocolate and Toblerone cheesecake.

Best for food

Runnymede Hotel & Spa

Training facilities include12 meeting and14 syndicate rooms -all fitted with plasma screens and ISDN lines for video conferencing and wireless internet access. Full administrative support is also available.

Parking: 320 spaces

Typical cost:12 delegates staying overnight: executive single £265 pp, executive double £290 pp, twin from £181pp. Price includes breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Typical dinner menu:specialities include Brixham scallops wrapped in pancetta, roast fillet of sea bass, roasted Gressingham duck breast, and for dessert:chocolate trio (chocolate brulee, chocolate mousse, white chocolate andthyme ice cream). Duringsummerthere is access to the terraces and a barbecue hut overlooking the lake.

Barony Castle

Located at Eddleston near Peebles in the Scottish Borders. The venue has three fully-equipped function rooms and five syndicates. For active sessions there are rope courses, a five-a-side-football pitch and lawn tennis court.

Parking: 120 spaces

Typical cost:12 delegates staying overnight: £120 to£138 (excl. VAT).

Typical dinner menu:cream of mushroom soup, haddock mornay, sirloin steak with herb crust, vegetable and cheese Wellington, and fruits of forest cheesecake.

Best for facilities

The National College of School Leadership (NCSL)

Runner-up in the training venue category at the recent World of Learning awards, the NCSLin Nottingham is a purpose-built training facility, offering 17 meeting rooms and 15 syndicate rooms, each equipped with smart boards or data projectors. The main auditorium offers a split-screen projection facility to project two images side by side -ideal for video conferencing.

Parking: 100 free spaces.

Typical cost:12 delegates staying overnight:£140 per person (incl.VAT) or£1,680 in total.

Typical dinner menu:warm wild mushroom andstilton salad, duo of Scotch beef with truffle mash, and bread andbutter pudding with Baileys ice cream.

Holborn Bars

Spread over seven floors, Holborn Bars is housed within the historic grade II listed Alfred Waterhouse building at 138-142 Holborn. It offers a mix of meeting and training rooms that can accommodate between five and 200 delegates. Its 34 meeting rooms all have AV equipment, while wi-fi and wired broadband access is available throughout the building.

Parking: four spaces charged at £45per space per day. Typical cost:12 delegates.Holborn Bars is a day business only. Rates start from £74(excl. VAT).

Typical dinner menu:the venue promises healthy and contemporary meals at Steam, Bake & Grill restaurant. Prices start from £38(excl. VAT).

Best for location

Ashridge Business School

Ashridge is set among National Trust parkland in Hertfordshire, 30 miles north-west of London. Facilities include15 fully-equipped conference rooms and more than50 syndicate rooms.

Typical cost:12 delegates staying overnight: £180 per person during the week.

Typical dinner menu:a three course table d’hôte dinner is every evening.

Liberty Stadium

Opened in July 2005, the Liberty Stadium is home to Swansea City football club and Ospreys rugby club. It is one of the premier events venues in South Wales. With more than40 function suites, the venue can hold more than600 delegates.

Parking: 780 spaces

Typical cost: There areno overnight stays, but a day rate is £31.50 (excl. VAT) per delegate, which includes a buffet lunch.

Typical dinner menu:a three-course dinner menu starts from £20 (excl. VAT). Dishes include: leek and potato soup, loin of Welsh beef and a selection of Welsh cheeses.

Best for staff

Hotel L’Horizon

The hotel’s general manager says staff have been trained to ensure they create “an atmosphere of total relaxation that encourages you to enjoy yourself to the full.” Overlooking the bayat StBrelade in Jersey, L’Horizon has six conference/meeting rooms, all with wi-fi access.

Parking: extensive and free

Typical cost: 12 delegates staying overnight: prices start from £160per person.

Typical dinner menu:fresh local fish and seafood, as well as Gressingham duck and Aberdeen angus beef.

by Ross Bentley




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