People are eager to meet face to face again and they want to make the most of their time together. Many people are working at home for at least part of the week. Meetings are now not only vital for business planning and training, but they also represent an opportunity for everyone to get together and connect as a team.
We are getting more enquiries for not just meeting rooms, but time for the teams to relax together. There are, of course, many hotels that offer meeting rooms and restaurants/private dining rooms for an evening meal. But many venues have added additional services and facilities that give teams the opportunity to have fun doing something different.
For smaller teams hiring a cottage, or some lodges, offers something a little different. The team can cook for themselves, chill out together and just relax. Of course, you can hire a caterer if you want to be pampered. We have recently hired some space at the brilliantly named Knockerdown Cottages in Derbyshire for a team of 16. We used 8 cottages so that each delegate had their own private bathroom and this site had its own meeting space too. Some cottages are large enough to hold the team under one roof – for example: Telephone Exchange has 9 ensuite bedrooms and a large living area were everyone can meet; Lapwing Barns sleeps 13 (with a couple having to share a bathroom); Manifold Farm has 21 bedrooms and 19 bathrooms – all three are in the Peak District. Tewinbury Farm Hotel Hertfordshire, has Kings House onsite that has 6 bedrooms (additional guests can be accommodated in the main hotel or one of the lodges). Tewinbury Farm is a working farm and 4 star hotel – they also have a cookery school, Alpaca walks and sheep herding, as well as plenty of space for team building.
There are a number of excellent cookery schools all over the country. I mentioned the one at Tewinbury Farm in the above section! Two of the newer ones are:
Market House is a new restaurant in the centre of Cambridge. Set over 4 floors the restaurant has a dedicated Food Lab with space for 12 people to cook (6 workstations). On the same floor as the cookery space is the private dining room that comfortably holds 12. They also have an additional meeting room for 12 on the top floor. They do not have a chef dedicated to the Food Lab and currently it is just a space for you to hire. We have contacts with a number of companies that offer food-based experiences.
The Market House has its main restaurant on the 1st floor, reception on the ground floor and the main bar, where the brasserie menu is served from, in the vaulted basement. The main restaurant, the meeting room and private dining room all have great views over Cambridge Market towards Kings College.
Grand Hotel York
The Grand opened in 2019 and is a beautifully refurbished boutique hotel. As well as Legacy Restaurant, a spa and meeting space the hotel has a cookery school. The school has 16 kitchens/workspaces and can accommodate up to 32 people. The school runs classes, but you can book your own private sessions with a dining room and your team can cook their own lunch or dinner. Or you could book one of the larger rooms for a bigger group to eat and have a smaller team cooking for them. The Grand Cookery School has its own team of chefs so they can really work with you to produce a class suited to your needs.
On Site Team Building
It is a good idea to use what a venue has to offer. Team building companies are great and can offer all the training support too, we work with a number of different specialist suppliers. However, if you are just after a bit of fun for the team many venues can offer onsite activities.
The Imperial War Museum Duxford
The IWM offer “Team Building with a Purpose”. Delegates get to see the whole museum site on a treasure hunt of discovery. At some of the museum’s key exhibits the team are asked to think about different roles and company ideas. They have to complete a task and answer a question.
The Birch is a very different venue close to Cheshunt. It is marketed as a part foodie haven, part hotel, part members club, part wellness get away and part creative hub. They really do put the emphasis on wellness, they offer so many activities to fill your time – including pottery, music and creative workshops, gardening classes, yoga and spinning classes. They have co-working spaces and meeting rooms, so teams of all sizes can be accommodated.
Down Hall close to Bishop Stortford, is set in gardens and woods. They have a number of walks round the grounds, ranging from 1 mile to 5 miles. They also offer giant chess and croquet in the gardens. In the walled garden, where the hotel grows much of their produce for the restaurant, you can make your own canapes from the fresh ingredients.
Many other venues have done similar things, really working with the staff expertise and spaces they have. For example sports venues will often offer tours, and museums can offer talks and entry to exhibits. If you want to add something a little different to your meeting, we can help. There are so many unusual options that are now available. Contact us for some ideas.