By J Nehra
Events Manager at Special Events UK
In Kent we are lucky enough to have a varied choice of venues from historic castles, country pubs, theatres and conference spaces. If you are stuck for a cool meeting space or an event for 500, the choice can be overwhelming. Here is my pick for the best of these by area
(image: Orchard Theatre)
The Maidstone Studios is a versatile space where they record TV shows ‘Later with Jools Holland and ‘Take me out’. Just 40 minutes from London by car/ train, Close to M20 and M2.
Small Events - unique events catered for in the 50’s style ‘Diner’ or a high spec ‘Viewing room’ for private screenings and product launches to impress your clients.
The ‘Studio’ Up to 2400 people for conferences and festivals and large company parties.
The Business Terrace, Maidstone
With a central location and a variety of rooms, the business terrace offer functional spaces and hot desk hire at a very reasonable price. Prices for a boardroom for 22 people starts at £150 per day.
Small meeting requirements on a small budget. Rooms are professional and well equipped and can be booked by the hour.
A decadent venue with various rooms available for hire. There is also a restaurant and cabaret to wow your clients. I love sampling the cocktails here and the location is within easy access of the train station.
Informal drinks, Client or staff parties
If it is state of the art sound and lighting you need then The Orchard is a pretty good bet. With 956 seats and wheelchair accessibility, they can cater for any large-scale event and conference. They are good transport links and parking close by.
Conferences and training events. Raised comfortable seating with excellent sound but as it is modern it doesn’t have the historical features that similar venues have.
(image: St Gregory’s)
Offering an impressive variety of historical and modern venues across 3 locations, there is something here for everyone My pick is St Gregory’s Centre for Music. It is rare to find a building with character with all the technical spec of a modern space with raised setting too.
Good all-rounder. However, on-site accommodation is in the student halls which isn’t suitable for clients. Canterbury is spoilt for choice for other hotels.
Situated on the largest stretch of open water in the SE, The Boat House has wonderful views to welcome guests. They can seat 100 and offer a variety of watersports for team building days. They are owned by another of my favourite venues in the area One Warwick Park.
Best for… Staff days out and team building
If you want to inspire your clients, this is the place to go. A grade II listed building that was once the holiday home for Queen Victoria. Meeting rooms of various sizes all over-looking wonderful gardens
High end client meetings, product launches and dinner receptions.
(image: Pines Calyx)
An amazing beautiful stately home close to Sandwich, to which Jane Austen was a regular visitor and is the inspiration behind ‘Pride and Prejudice. You can hire the whole house including an overnight stay or hire one of their rooms just for the day. To channel your inner Mr. Darcy, they offer activities archery, riding and clay pigeon shooting.
Unlike most historical houses they have projectors and sound system in the ‘Dining room’ as part of the package.
Team building and staff events to make the most of the 15 acres of grounds. As you can imagine it doesn’t come cheap but they offer mid-week and off–peak reductions.
If you are looking for a venue full of character with a local feel, this is it. With flexible seating arrangements, you can make it feel full with only 50 people. Venue hire prices are very reasonable and with High-speed train links plus a seaside location, Deal is a wonderful place for a day trip.
Creative presentations, AGM’s and away days.
Looking to demonstrate your CSR credentials? then this might be right up your street. With all profits going to support their outdoor learning charity, this venue has been carefully designed to reduce its carbon footprint with drinking water from their very own spring. With seating for 80, catering and ample parking it’s a fantastic change from your sterile office space.
Away days, small conferences, training and receptions