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Focus on: Manchester

By April 17, 2018Features

Iconic, accessible and diverse, Manchester is a world-class location for your next event.

When looking for a destination to host a meeting or conference, Manchester is a city that won’t disappoint. Easy access for both national and international delegates – thanks to direct flights to Manchester Airport from over 200 destinations – to an array of leisure options; and a range of venues to choose from that can accommodate small to large events are just some of the reasons why Manchester is regarded as a desirable hotspot by event profs.

As well as being a comprehensive meetings destination, the area is also rich in historical significance, where you can find some of the city’s most striking Victorian and Edwardian era buildings. Petersfield is known as Manchester’s conference district thanks to its high concentration of venues and facilities. Petersfield gets its name from the original St. Peter’s Field, now St. Peter’s Square, which was the location of a historic political event known as the Peterloo Massacre.

The events of Peterloo were critical to shaping modern democracy, and placed Manchester on the map as a catalyst of radical movements. Centrally located next to the Civic Quarter, the area is easily accessible via Deansgate-Castlefield tram stop, Deansgate train station and is a short walk from the city centre. It’s also served well by the Metroshuttle, Manchester’s free city centre bus.

An iconic feature for over 130 years, Manchester Central is the city’s landmark conference and exhibitions space and is easily identified by its vaulted arches and station clock. The venue is named after the former railway station that served the city for nearly 90 years. Reopened as Manchester Central by HRH the Queen in 1986, the centre has hosted political conferences; tradeshows; huge international conferences like the 2016 EuroScience Open Forum, live television including The XFactor and Ninja Warrior UK; and public events like Manchester Comic Con and the Manchester Beer & Cider Festival.

Manchester Central’s facilities include a purpose-built 804-seat exchange auditorium; a 1,800m² exhibition, conference or 1200-capacity dining space; a 10,000m² column-free and divisible central hall; and a range of smaller state-of-the-art conference and meeting rooms.

Over the road, the TV famed Midland Hotel was the meeting place of Charles Rolls and Frederick Royce, who together founded the Rolls-Royce car company, and is where David and Victoria Beckham had their first date. It also hosted the Queen Mother for dinner when the Royal Variety Performance was held at the Palace Theatre; and famously turned away The Beatles from hotel restaurant The French for being “inappropriately dressed”. It can host up to 740 people for events in its largest suite, offering 13 meetings and events spaces alongside its four-star hotel, a bar and a four AA Rosette restaurant.

Standing at 169 metres tall, Manchester’s first true skyscraper is hard to miss! The Beetham Tower has been an instantly recognisable feature on the Manchester skyline since 2006. Inside you can enjoy panoramic views over Greater Manchester and beyond at champagne and cocktail bar Cloud23, the highest public venue in the city. The building also houses Hilton Manchester Deansgate, a vibrant four-star hotel with versatile event spaces including 14 meeting rooms for up to 90 delegates; and the Deansgate Suite for up to 700 guests that can be divided into three unique spaces.

A six-minute walk away is the Radisson Blu Edwardian. Offering 25 different meetings and event spaces, the hotel can hold up to 550 people for banquets, receptions and meetings alongside fine dining at its restaurants; Opus One or Steak and Lobster. The five-star hotel offers 263 rooms, including two presidential rooms and 18 deluxe Al Fresco suites.

Originally built as Manchester’s Free Trade Hall in 1853 to commemorate the repeal of the Corn Laws, this historic building has been bombed, abandoned and rebuilt, and was the location of a protest by the Suffragettes who interrupted a political meeting. With a long history in music, starting when the Hallé orchestra made it a home in 1858 and the start of the punk era when a Sex Pistols gig inspired the likes of Morrissey and Joy Division.

With over 250 performances a year, the Bridgewater Hall houses concerts, opera and orchestra and has been home to the Hallé orchestra since 1996. The building was opened by HRH the Queen and was constructed on springs to reduce vibration from passing trams and to preserve the acoustics of the building. The hall’s focus point is the impressive custom designed Marcussen organ, which is the largest instrument of its kind installed in Britain for almost a century, featuring 5,500 pipes.

The hall holds up to 1,875 people in the theatre and 500 in its reception space, with the ability to host delegates and exhibitions across its five events spaces of varying sizes.

Downtime in the City

Considered as the capital of the north, Manchester is one of the most exciting places to visit in the UK and attracts thousands of conference delegates each year. The city centre is jam-packed with unique restaurants, bars, shops, museums, galleries and hotels, while away from the bustle, the 10 Greater Manchester boroughs offer a range of experiences including quaint market towns, traditional pubs and beautiful green spaces and waterways, which can be discovered on foot or bike.

The Great Northern is a comprehensive leisure destination and the perfect spot for delegates to unwind. Here you can find everything from bars and restaurants, to bowling, a casino, a cinema, a gym, and even axe throwing! Completed by the Great Northern Railway in 1899, this building was once one of the largest and most advanced railway goods exchanges in the country, built to support the huge volume of goods brought into Central Station.

Manchester’s alternative and creative heart, the Northern Quarter wears its independence proudly, offering an eclectic mix of boutiques, record shops, galleries, cafés, bars and restaurants. It’s also home to some of the UK’s best street art spots, most of which are hidden in plain sight down the cobbled alleys and side streets. Grab a coffee and get walking.

A 15-minute journey by Metrolink from the city takes you to the heart of Greater Manchester’s waterfront destination in Salford. On one side MediaCityUK, a digital and creative hub and home to the BBC and Coronation Street, the other side is home to some of the region’s best loved attractions including the IWM North and The Lowry theatre and arts centre, plus a new destination cocktail bar overlooking the water in the form of The Alchemist which opened in summer 2017.

Or why not head further along the River Irwell to Castlefield? This sleepy waterside neighbourhood located in the south west corner of the city is the perfect place to escape to for a bit of quiet reflection. Officially an Urban Heritage Park, it offers great walks and canalside pubs as well as a glimpse of what industrial-era Manchester may have looked like thanks to an abundance of original brickwork, viaducts and cobbled streets. Fittingly, Castlefield is also home to the Museum of Science and Industry and is the docking point for Manchester’s water taxi service, Waxi.