Best UK Cities for Conferences and Events

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Whilst London is a popular choice for many events and conferences, there area number of reasons why event planners decide to look further afield. Here are a few that may help you to decide:

Cost:

London is known for its high cost of living and expensive venue hire rates. Accommodation, transport and dining can also be considerably more expensive in London compared to other UK cities, which can strain your event budget.

Overcrowding:

London is a bustling metropolis, and it can often feel crowded. This may not be conducive to events that require a more relaxed or spacious environment.

Traffic Congestion:

London’s traffic can be notoriously congested, which can lead to transport delays for attendees and logistics challenges for event organisers.

Competition for Venues:

London is a competitive market for event venues, and you may find it challenging to secure your preferred venue, especially during peak conference seasons.  Rates tend to be high because of the high demand.

Accessibility for International Attendees:

While London is well-connected internationally, it may not be the most convenient location for attendees travelling from other parts of the UK or Europe. Smaller cities may offer easier access for regional attendees.

Alternative Options:

Other UK cities offer excellent conference facilities, modern infrastructure, and unique attractions, often at a more affordable price point. You may find that another city better suits your event’s specific needs and goals.

So which city should you choose? The best UK city locations for conferences and events can vary depending on various factors such as accessibility, infrastructure, amenities, and the specific needs and preferences of the organisers and attendees. Here are some of the top UK cities outside of London which are frequently chosen for conferences and events, along with the reasons why they are popular:

Birmingham:

birmingham

 

  • Central Location: Birmingham is located in the heart of England, making it a convenient choice for attendees from across the UK.
  • Conference Facilities: There are a number of conference venues in Birmingham. The NEC (National Exhibition Centre) is one of the largest and most versatile conference venues in the UK.
  • Accommodation: The city offers a range of hotels, from budget to luxury, to accommodate conference attendees.
  • Transport Links: Birmingham has excellent rail and road connections, making it accessible from many major cities.

Manchester:

manchester

  • Accessibility: Manchester Airport offers excellent connectivity, making it accessible for international attendees.
  • Conference Venues:  Great choice of venues here. The Manchester Central Convention Complex and the Emirates Old Trafford cricket ground offer modern conference facilities, whilst venues such as the Victoria Warehouse offer a different style altogether.
  • Vibrant Culture: Attendees can explore the city’s cultural attractions, music scene, and diverse dining options.

Edinburgh:

edinburgh

  • Historic Charm: Edinburgh offers a unique and historic backdrop for conferences, with venues like the Edinburgh International Conference Centre (EICC). The Royal College of Physicians is another venue which combines history and elegance along with 21st century facilities
  • Scenic Beauty: The city’s picturesque setting and nearby natural attractions make it an appealing destination.
  • Cultural Richness: Attendees can immerse themselves in the city’s cultural festivals, museums, and historic sites.

Glasgow:

  • Convention Facilities: The Scottish Event Campus (SEC) in Glasgow offers state-of-the-art conference and exhibition spaces.  IET Glasgow is a unique city-centre venue suited to conferences for up to 120.
  • Accessibility: Glasgow is well-connected by air, rail, and road.
  • Cultural Scene: The city has a vibrant cultural scene, including museums, galleries, and live music venues.

Liverpool:

  • Waterfront Venues: The city’s waterfront area features venues like the ACC Liverpool, offering stunning views and modern facilities. The stunning Titanic Hotel and Rum Warehouse sits on Stanley Dock. The Warehouse has just short of 800 sq m of event space available for hire.
  • Cultural Attractions: Attendees can explore the Beatles history, museums, and the vibrant nightlife.

Leeds:

leeds

  • Modern Conference Venues: Includes thestudio Leeds, Horizon and the Royal Armouries Museum. These venues are equipped with state-of-the-art technology and offer a range of meeting spaces to accommodate different event sizes and types.
  • Accessibility: Leeds is well-connected both nationally and internationally. It has its own international airport, Leeds Bradford Airport, and is within easy reach of Manchester Airport. The city is also well-connected by train, with direct links to major cities like London, Manchester, and Birmingham.
  • Green Spaces:  The city has many parks and green spaces, providing opportunities for outdoor team-building activities or relaxation.

There are many more conference and event venues in these and other cities in the UK.  Let us know if you need any help or advice.

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