With the warmer weather finally here, we can now start thinking of using the great outdoors to enhance our events.
Recently we have been really lucky to have visited a number of venues that have amazing outside space. Venues often have onsite activities, ready and waiting for your teams to use.
Provenance Kitchen, Whittlesford, Near Cambridge
Provenance Kitchen restaurant is Brix and Mortar. The site can cater for private groups of up to 150 in the main restaurant. But they have 3 great outside spaces.
The restaurant has its own private courtyard, ideal for outside drinks before dinner inside.
The Barn and Orchard, is a short walk across a wild flower meadow from the car park. A stretch tent can accommodate up to 100, undercover. The Orchard can accommodate up to 250 on long trestle tables – seated amongst the trees and fairy lights. The Barn houses a service kitchen so food does not have to be transported from the main restaurant. There is additional cover for up to 30 guests, in the Barn. There is an airstream that provides guests a fully stocked bar. The old sheep dip has been turned into a “hang out” complete with a fire pit. The fields are open to use for games and team building.
The Restaurant Garden has another stretch tent and a horsebox bar, this space is ideal for up to 120.
Provenance Kitchen specialises in food cooked over wood fires, the menu is changed regularly. Local suppliers and seasonal food is the key.
Stapleford Park Hotel and Spa
Stapleford Park is a deluxe country house hotel set in 500 acres of countryside. You can see our report on our recent visit here.
The hotel has many onsite outdoor activities that are all available for guests and delegates to use. The Orangery and the Grand Hall can hold up to 200 for dinner. These spaces open onto one of the hotel gardens. There is a giant chess set, French Bowls, croquet lawn, tennis and putting course in the gardens.
The extensive grounds give delegates the opportunity to set up their own scavenger hunts. The estate also includes its own church and spa/treatment rooms in an ornate stable block. The hotel has links to teams that come in and offer falconry and shooting. There is also plenty of space for team building and games of all sorts.
Hinxton Hall and Conference Centre
Hinxton Hall is based on the Genome Campus, just off the M11 close to Duxford and Cambridge. The Genome Campus is set in its own 15 acre nature reserve which is open to the public so delegates have full access to the Wetlands and woods.
Hinxton Hall has a number of rooms that are ideal for private dining and meetings. The lawn is just outside some of the main rooms and is ideal for garden games, school sports days and other team building. The venue has two accommodation blocks which have a trim trail and outside gym, both of which can be used by delegates.
Carden Park is a hotel in Cheshire that calls itself a country estate. That is a great description. The hotel has bedrooms (197 rooms) and meeting rooms (18 meeting rooms with the maximum capacity for 400), but has a lot of onsite extras.
The hotel is set in 1000 acres that include 2 golf courses, a high ropes course, two off road courses, a vineyard, a spa and leisure centre.
The venue also has its own onsite events company: Events Station. The team have put together a stunning range of activities that have been specially designed for the estate. The venue has its own permanent high ropes course called “Experience Vertigo”, which includes a 220m zip wire and a leap into a giant stunt pillow. There are two fantastic off road tracks for vehicles – jeeps and quadbikes. A segway track runs through the woods. There is a really wide selection of garden games: Jenga, table football, Kerplunk, Connect Four, dominoes, garden darts, skittles, Twister, Splat the Rate and crazy golf. The team have put together a treasure hunt that takes teams all over the estate to complete a number of tasks before finding the treasure. There are a lot of team building options that have been developed to use a combination of the onsite facilities – like Spy Academy, that uses the Segway, Zip wire and shooting.
The Leisure includes an indoor & outdoor pool, a gym, jacuzzi, steam rooms and saunas. The spa can be hired privately for the team to enjoy!
Sustainability is also important. Here are just some of the things they do: waste water, filtered on site, and used to water the golf courses; waste food is transformed into Biogas; the site already has many solar panels with more planned.
There really is no need to go offsite!
Hylands Estate and Go Ape
Hylands is a Grade II listed public park with 574 acres of historic parkland. The House is a neo-classical villa with period rooms from both the Georgian and Victorian eras. The Grand Pavilion (a permanent heated marquee) offers larger event space and is situated next to the main house. There is no accommodation on site.
The spaces for hire include:
The Drawing Room takes 20 boardroom and 40 cabaret
The Banqueting Room takes 40 boardroom and 50 cabaret
The Hanbury Suite takes 10 boardroom
The Grand Pavilion takes 200 cabaret and 300 for dinner
The park land lends itself to scavenger hunts. However, the reason we are including Hylands in this article is because Go Ape are opening one of their high ropes courses on the estate in the summer.
There are many more venues we could mention that have some amazing outside space that you and your team can spend time in during the summer months. There are some venues like the Birch group (located in Selsdon and Cheshunt) that are designed for well being, with too many onsite activities to mention but including pottery making and foraging. Many of the beautiful country house hotels in the UK have grounds that can accommodate scavenger hunts and most have some garden games available. Of course where there are grounds you can choose to bring in an outside company to provide many different activities – at HotelRes we work with a huge variety. There are also a number of venues in town and city centres that have outdoor space – restaurants with roof terraces, venues with courtyard gardens.
Please do get in touch if you want to make the most of the good weather and the great outdoors and include some “fun in the sun” with your next meeting or event.