All training organisers know that choosing the right venue can make or break a training event. In a recent survey, Training & Coaching Today asked readers to recommend training venues in several categories: best value for money best for food best for facilities best for location and best for staff. Here are the results.
Best value for money: Lancaster House Hotel Conference Centre
This venue, which is partly 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
Cost: A typical group of 12 delegates on a training course staying overnight would cost £1,415.52 (plus VAT) or £117.96 (plus VAT) per person (pp), including dinner and breakfast
Food: Typical dinner menu is Bury black pudding, pan-fried rack of Lakeland lamb, and white chocolate and Toblerone cheesecake
Best for food: Runnymede Hotel & Spa and Barony Castle
Runnymede Hotel & Spa, Egham, Surrey has 12 meeting rooms and 14 syndicate rooms, all fitted with plasma TV screens and ISDN lines for video conferencing and wireless internet access. Full administrative support is also available.
Parking: 320 spaces
Cost: For 12 delegates staying overnight, an executive single is £265pp, executive double £290pp, and twin rooms are available from £181pp. Price includes breakfast, lunch and dinner
Food: Main course specialities include Brixham scallops wrapped in pancetta, roast fillet of sea bass, roasted Gressingham duck breast, and for dessert, chocolate trio (chocolate brulée, chocolate mousse, white chocolate and thyme ice cream). In the summer there is access to the terraces and a barbecue hut overlooking the lake.
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
Cost: For 12 delegates staying overnight: £120 to £138pp (plus VAT)
Food: Cream of mushroom soup, haddock mornay, sirloin steak with herb crust, vegetable and cheese Wellington and fruits of the forest cheesecake.
Best for facilities: The National College of School Leadership and Holborn Bars
Runner-up in the training venue category at the recent World of Learning awards, the NCSL in Nottingham is a purpose-built training facility offering 17 meeting rooms and 15 syndicate rooms, each equipped with smartboards or data projectors. The main auditorium offers a split-screen projection facility enabling presenters to project two images side by side – ideal for video conferencing.
Parking: 100 free spaces
Cost: For 12 delegates staying overnight: £140pp (incl VAT) or £1,680 in total for 12 delegates
Food: Dinner menu includes warm wild mushroom and stilton salad, duo of Scotch beef with truffle mash, and bread and butter pudding with Bailey’s ice cream.
Training facilities: Spread over seven floors, Holborn Bars is housed in the historic grade II-listed Alfred Waterhouse building on Holborn in central London. 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 £45 per space per day
Cost: For 12 delegates: Holborn Bars is a day business only. Its rates start from £74pp (plus VAT)
Food: The venue promises healthy and contemporary meals at its Steam, Bake & Grill restaurant. Prices from £38 (plus VAT)
Best for location: Ashridge Business School and Liberty Stadium, Swansea
One of the UK’s most stunning campuses, Ashridge Business School is set among National Trust parkland in Hertfordshire 30 miles north-west of London. Ashridge has 15 fully equipped conference rooms and more than 50 syndicate rooms.
Cost: For 12 delegates staying overnight: £180pp during the week
Food: A three-course table d’hôte dinner is available every evening.
Opened in July 2005, the Liberty Stadium is home to Swansea City Football Club and Ospreys Rugby Club. With 40 function suites, the venue can hold more than 600 delegates.
Parking: 780 spaces
Cost: There are no overnight stays but the day rate is £31.50pp (plus VAT), which includes a buffet lunch
Food: Three-course dinner menu starts from £20 (plus VAT). Dishes include: leek and potato soup, loin of Welsh beef and a selection of Welsh cheeses.
Best for staff: Hotel L’Horizon
According to the general manager, the staff have been trained to ensure they create “an atmosphere of total relaxation that encourages you to enjoy yourself to the full”. Overlooking the scenic bay at St Brelade in Jersey, L’Horizon has six conference/meeting rooms all with wi-fi access. There are also plenty of places to break out, including the terrace, the lounge and bar, and even the beach.
Parking: Extensive and free
Cost: For 12 delegates staying overnight prices start at £160 per delegate
Food: Fresh local fish and seafood feature prominently, but you’ll also find Gressingham duck and Aberdeen Angus beef.
Looking for a venue?
To find out more about training venues on offer, visit one of the following venue exhibitions.
The Academic Venue Show
Date: 24 May 2007
Location: Business Design Centre, London
Previously known as the Venuemasters exhibition, this show has been established for more than five years. Highlights include a keynote address from athlete Tessa Sanderson, who will be speaking about her venue-finding experiences as head of talent development at Newham Council and an Olympic ambassador.
The National Venue Show
Date: 25-27 September 2007
Location: NEC, Birmingham
The National Venue Show is an event dedicated to professionals who are responsible for organising training, meetings and events, with more than 600 exhibitors. The show incorporates the Event Services Show, where delegates can see a showcase of suppliers offering catering, furniture, AV equipment and the like.