Event staycations: Our top 10 outdoor venues for summer 2022
Hold an alfresco conference, away day or summer party at one of these memorable UK venues.
This article is produced in partnership with Cvent.
While Covid restrictions have eased significantly since last year, it still makes perfect sense for UK event organisers to host face-to-face meetings and events outdoors in the summer months. Here’s our pick of the best alfresco venues in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Chelsea Physic Garden, London
Looking for a perfectly pretty event space with real history? One of the oldest botanic gardens in Europe, Chelsea Physic Garden offers a gorgeous backdrop for corporate events. Set on the banks of the Thames and sheltered by high walls, it hosts functions for up to 450 people for a cocktail reception or 200 for dinner and dancing.
York Lawns, Regent’s Park, London
If you want to be slap bang in the middle of the capital but still feel like you’re in a rural hideaway, then York Lawns in Regent’s Park (managed by Regent’s Conferences & Events) hosts events for up to 1,200 people in its four acres of beautiful gardens. Past functions have included activities such as croquet and archery, and delegates can unwind to live music too.
Leeds Castle, Kent
The medieval Maiden’s Tower, on the historical Leeds Castle island, has its own private walled garden that’s hosted many a corporate event in the past. Groups of 50-100 can gather here for an intimate summer soirée with barbecue and bar, and if the socialising extends into the early hours you could always book the luxurious bedrooms in the Tower. Team-building opportunities such as treasure hunts, segway tours and golf are on site too.
Bolton Abbey, North Yorkshire
The atmospheric ruins of the Priory Church at Bolton Abbey are part of the draw of this location, but so are its ancient woodland and wild riverside location. These vast open spaces were made for corporate events, whether you’re looking to host a small summer party or a team-building adventure, complete with country sports and tree climbing (for those unafraid of heights).
The Byre at Inchyra, Perthshire
This 1877 barn set in 150 acres of parkland is a picturesque wedding venue that doubles up as a magical backdrop for work events. Summer conferences and parties held in the walled garden – which to many feels like a secret garden – are unforgettable, and it’s so sheltered that the old walls become warm enough for white peaches to grow on them.
Hold a conference or event at Edinburgh Zoo and your delegates can get up close and personal with an animal friend, as they take part in experiences including animal handling or zoo-themed team building. Then in the evening, unwind with prosecco and canapés in the VIP area at Penguins Rock.
Celtic Manor, Newport
The multi-award-winning Celtic Manor will be well-known for many event organisers, but did you know you could book the Resort Hotel’s rooftop garden and barbecue terrace for cocktails and dinner? Your delegates will love soaking up the views of 2,000 acres of parkland in the beautiful Usk Valley.
Château Rhianfa, Anglesey
Where else can a work team climb a mountain before reconvening in the beautiful gardens of a Grade II-listed French-style château? Château Rhianfa in Anglesey overlooks the Menai Strait, with the peaks of Snowdonia in the background. If climbing Mount Snowdon is too energetic for your delegates, simply host your event in the chateau’s grounds, or organise adventure activities such as kayaking and coasteering.
Larchfield Estate, County Antrim
Larchfield Estate promises “to inspire creativity and instil peaceful mindfulness” and its events team can adapt its countryside setting to suit your plans, for groups of 10 to 250. Host a party in the walled garden or take a few hours out of the day to enjoy fly fishing, clay shooting or foraging.
Finnebrogue Woods, County Down
Your delegates will feel a million miles from the office when they’re gathered around the firepit or mingling in the giant lakeside tipis nestled within Finnebrogue Woods. Small groups can even learn bushcraft skills such as firecraft and shelter building from expert bushman Rob. Then in the evening a dancefloor and bar offer a different kind of relaxation.
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