Special Report on Conferences and Exhibitions: From Clock End to castle

LOOKING for somewhere a little different to hold your conference?

The sports-minded might try the marble halls of Highbury, north London, which are home to more than just Arsenal Football Club. Behind the Clock End terrace is the South Stand Complex, built in 1989, and London's only indoor sports centre with a 250- seat restaurant and conference facility.

Philip Carling, marketing manager, says: 'It means companies can bring along everyone, even if they are not actually participating in a sport, which is very good for building esprit de corps.'

The Accessible Environment Conference, held by and for wheelchair users, took place in the Mezzanine Suite, while this weekend and next the Law Society will be holding a five-a-side tournament, with 240 teams from firms all over the country. The 1,400 m2 -Sports Hall has also been used for exhibitions.

If you feel that an Englishman's home is his castle, rather than his football club, how about hiring a stately home? 'Castles for Conferences' was launched last September, backed by the British Tourist Authority, and is promoting three historic houses - Hever Castle, Leeds Castle and Goodwood House - to the European business community.

Leeds Castle, in Kent, offers normal conference facilities and also 'themed' events, such as a six-course banquet in King Henry VIII's Banqueting Hall. Your delegates can also try their hand at falconry and archery. At Goodwood House, West Sussex, you can combine your conference with a tour of the state apartments and art collections, followed by an afternoon at the races, bets not included. Conferences in castles are not cheap: a three-day, two-night conference based on 35 delegates in single occupancy rooms starts at pounds 565 per person.

Holding your conference at a theme park is another alternative. Alton Towers in Staffordshire has four 'hospitality venues', accommodating from 10 to 3,000 people, and can arrange special activity packages including an 'It's a Knockout' competition, a fancy dress ball or a firework display. Those with strong stomachs can try the 135 amusement park rides.

Hiring a celebrity speaker is one way of adding something a little different to a conference. Gordon Banks OBE, World Cup hero, runs a company which will organise your conference and provide speakers, including Mr Banks himself, from the entertainment, sport and business worlds.

A novel method of presentation to your sales conference is to employ a magician. John Hotowka creates a magic act to 'reinforce your company's message'. 'I am usually introduced as some kind of marketing expert,' says Mr Hotowka, 'so they are soon sitting up in their seats when they see a handful of cue cards turn into a handful of pounds 5 notes.'

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Account Manager

£30 - 38k (DOE): Guru Careers: We are seeking a digitally focussed Account Man...

Recruitment Genius: Service Advisor - Automotive

£21000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the South East's leading...

Recruitment Genius: Legal Secretary - Family Law

£21000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A growing professional legal pr...

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer - Java

£24000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This exciting and disruptive co...

Day In a Page

A groundbreaking study of 'Britain's Atlantis' long buried at the bottom of the North Sea could revolutionise how we see our prehistoric past

Britain's Atlantis

Scientific study beneath North Sea could revolutionise how we see the past
The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember,' says Starkey

The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember'

David Starkey's assessment
Oliver Sacks said his life has been 'an enormous privilege and adventure'

'An enormous privilege and adventure'

Oliver Sacks writing about his life
'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

The Rock's Chief Minister hits back at Spanish government's 'lies'
Britain is still addicted to 'dirty coal'

Britain still addicted to 'dirty' coal

Biggest energy suppliers are more dependent on fossil fuel than a decade ago
Orthorexia nervosa: How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition

Orthorexia nervosa

How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition
Lady Chatterley is not obscene, says TV director

Lady Chatterley’s Lover

Director Jed Mercurio on why DH Lawrence's novel 'is not an obscene story'
Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests

Set a pest to catch a pest

Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests
Mexico: A culture that celebrates darkness as an essential part of life

The dark side of Mexico

A culture that celebrates darkness as an essential part of life
Being sexually assaulted was not your fault, Chrissie Hynde. Don't tell other victims it was theirs

Being sexually assaulted was not your fault, Chrissie Hynde

Please don't tell other victims it was theirs
A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

A nap a day could save your life

A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

If men are so obsessed by sex...

...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

Rolling in the deep

The bathing machine is back but with a difference
Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935