university

The Cambridge Experience

A few weeks ago Laura took a trip to beautiful Cambridge for a couple of days of looking at the university buildings event spaces, feeling like you’re in Harry Potter and reliving your student days. Here’s what she got up to at The Cambridge Experience…

 

On Thursday I took the train to London and then back out to Cambridge. After the four hour journey, I arrived at the Robinson College, which might I add is the nicest student accommodation I’ve ever been in; much nicer than the shabby Rusholme student flat I lived in. Cambridge University is split into colleges where the students live and study. This is something that took me a while to get my head around as it is such a unique university experience compared to all other universities in the UK. After being shown to my dorm for the night, I did a quick sprits of perfume and a speedy lipstick reapplication before making my way down into the college building for drinks and to meet the lovely Conference Cambridge team.

 

The Robinson College has just opened its new £5million conference and event space. We were lucky enough to have the chance to look around the amazing top of the range event spaces it has to offer. The Crausaz Wordsworth Building has a bright and functional foyer area that is joined onto the kitchens that can be shut off or opened up making this space perfect for drinks receptions and networking. The Plenary room is the largest space in the building and can hold 72 delegates in a cabaret style. This space overlooks an outdoor area that is perfect for outdoor breakout space in the summer months. Upstairs there are many syndicate rooms that all boast natural light and top end AV equipment. They can also seat up to 18 people cabaret.

 

After a look around all the fresh and impressive spaces Robinson College had to offer, we took a trip into Cambridge for a drink in a quintessentially British pub, I mean it would be rude not to take a look at the Cambridge nightlife. How else can we sell the city to our clients if we can’t give an all round view of everything the city has to offer?

 

The next day we started with breakfast and show around of the Møller Centre. The Møller Centre is a dedicated residential management and training centre with a lot to offer to potential clients. The venue has 23 meeting and event spaces the largest seating up to 140 delegates. My personal favourite area of The Møller Centre was the indoor but still outdoor garden that can be used by anybody visiting the venue.

 

Next up was a look around the Churchill College – another one of the colleges that students live at during term time. The Churchill College’s largest space can hold 420 people and the college can sleep 400. In terms of style, this college felt and looked a lot more traditional than the Robinson College, which was a lot more modern.

 

Now for the part I had been most looking forward to and dreading at the same time (balance isn’t my thing and I had visions of me falling out): punting down the River Cam. After a relaxing punt ride in the sun (and no falling into the river thankfully) we had a quick tour of the Kings College Chapel before heading for a delicious lunch in The Kings College itself. As the trip drew to a close we had a walking tour of Cambridge and a look around the Gonville & Caius College.

 

Cambridge is a beautiful city with some incredible buildings making it a great conference and event city. The city is small and compact and every corner you turn there is another beautiful building to greet you. Also, you feel like you are in Harry Potter, so what more do you need?

 

If you’re interested in any of the venues above or want to find out more on how we can help, get in touch!

You can email myself or the rest of the team at theteam@top-venues.co.uk or give us a ring on 0844 8709963.

We look forward to hearing from you!

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University Venues Up Their Game

It’s amazing how perceptions can be based on the past experiences we’ve received and stick with us for years to come.

A few years ago, if a client had said they needed a conference venue that had equipment, a basic conference room and could meet their particularly low budget, one of the first types of venues that would spring to mind would be a university.

Universities have, until recently, typically been known as cheap venues with adequate equipment for training, only available out of term time and full of loud and scruffy students.

Not so much the case anymore. Yes you still get loud and scruffy students occasionally but with the lack of funding and a requirement to increase revenue to manage the growing costs to run, universities have quickly realised the potential in improving and selling their space to external clients.

So much so that some universities have built additional complexes to purely house the external clients for conferences and events.
This is the case with Warwick Conferences. Although based on the grounds of Warwick university campus in Coventry, the university have three venues purpose-built for conferences, training and anything else event related, with planning to build more in the near future. These three venues are nothing like the university of the past.

Having been recently refurbished to a high standard and with grounds to match, you wouldn’t realise you were on a university campus until you see the address.

I happen to know all this as I recently stayed as a guest. From the moment I walked into the reception I was greeted with a warm smile and very attentive staff, something that could rival even some hotels!

With everything included in the packages they offer (wifi, unlimited access to teas/coffees, free parking to name but a few) it made it very easy for me to check-in, log-in to my emails and find my way around.

Now, even in their improved state a university won’t be for everyone. They won’t work for the Incentive group that wants to be in the middle of nowhere in a unusual venue or for the client who wants a 5 star, all singing, all dancing venue. That’s not to say some universities don’t offer a five star service because some do. However, like with any particular ‘style’ of venue it works better for certain events over others.

In my mind, these new ultra slick and refurbished (both in the facilities and staffing mind-set) venues can offer a lot more than people imagine. Very good for training, conferences, and even perhaps for dinners and exhibitions, these venues are something to consider.

So next time you’re looking at somewhere decent to hold your training or conference, don’t discount the universities, you may be pleasantly surprised!

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