England’s south-westernmost city is the last port of call before the Atlantic Ocean and, as such, its history and economy is largely maritime-based.
Francis Drake’s Golden Hind, the Pilgrim Fathers’ Mayflower and Charles Darwin’s HMS Beagle are among vessels to have famously set sail from Plymouth on ground-breaking expeditions, and the city’s spirit of adventure lives on. It is home to Western Europe’s largest naval base and the UK’s newest medical school, while the Plymouth 2020 project looks to build on the £200million already invested in the city centre in recent years.
Today, there are nearly 300 local firms operating within the maritime sector, while the University of Plymouth and Tamar Science Park businesses are significant employers. An estimated 2,000 en-suite guestrooms lie within the city centre.
Name: Plymouth Pavilions
Address: Millbay Road, Plymouth, PL1 3LF
Tel: 01752 522205
In the absence of five-star hotels in the city, filling the Wow Factor slot on this occasion is one of the South West’s premier conference, meeting and event venues, Plymouth Pavilions. A circular arena, it can host up to 2,500 delegates or 850 for a banquet, with hire also including the use of the Arena Bar, dressing rooms and backstage area. The Meeting Suite, meanwhile, has four rooms ranging in capacity from 30 to 80 delegates theatre-style and can be opened into a larger space for up to 200. There’s a dedicated corporate events team and in-house technical and catering teams.
Name: National Marine Aquarium
Address: Rope Walk, Coxside, Plymouth, PL4 0LF
Tel: 01752 275228
Situated on the Barbican – Plymouth’s historic harbourfront – with impressive views across the Plymouth Sound, the National Marine Aquarium is well set up for hosting corporate meetings and events with a twist, and exclusive hire of the whole venue can be arranged. Dinners for up to 100 or receptions for 250 can be held in front of the centrepiece Atlantic Reef tank, or a Demi Tunnel can be hired for dinners for 50 or meetings for up to 60 theatre-style. The Horizons Gallery also has capacity for up to 60 theatre-style, and a boardroom can host 40 theatre-style or 14 round a conference table – both rooms offer views across Plymouth Sound and the Barbican.
NEW KID ON THE BLOCK
Name: St Mellion International Resort
Address: St Mellion, Saltash, Cornwall, PL12 6SD
Tel: 01579 352070
Twenty minutes from Plymouth, across the county border in Cornwall, is the St Mellion International Resort featuring a new four-star hotel and corporate event facilities. The addition follows a two-year, £20million project which sees the hotel join three swimming pools, a spa, health club and two championship golf courses across 450 acres of countryside. St Mellion’s meeting and events facilities range in capacity from meeting spaces for four through to venues for 400, while dinner events for up to 330 guests can be catered for. A host of leisure activities are also available to delegates, including the UK’s first Jack Nicklaus-designed ‘Signature Course’, one of only three in England.
ON A SHOESTRING
Name: Jurys Inn
Address: 50 Exeter Street, Plymouth, PL4 0AZ
Tel: 01752 631 000
The ever-dependable Jurys Inn group has over 30 properties across the UK and Ireland, including this one in central Plymouth. Rates for its 260 guestrooms start from £59 direct on the group’s website, which give an indication of the similarly competitive day delegates rates – which start from £24. There are 11 meeting rooms in total, all with natural daylight and wifi internet access, ranging in capacity from boardroom set-ups for eight delegates through to dinners for 48 guests and theatre-style gatherings for up to 100. The hotel also has a bar and restaurant and trademark Il Barista coffee shop.
Name: University of Plymouth
Address: Drake Circus, Plymouth, PL6 8BX
Tel: 01752 232027
The University of Plymouth is one of the ten largest in the UK and its purpose-built lecture theatres and meetings facilities feature the latest in audiovisual technology. Located in the city centre, the University has a selection of 40 rooms available year-round – know as Meetings@Plymouth – while other venues include the striking Roland Levinsky building with a 130-seat cinema, 280-seat theatre and 150-seat room; the Davy building for events of up to 400 delegates; the Sherwell Centre, a restored church; and the acoustically designed Robbins Conference Centre. Buffet and dinner menus are available for events large and small, and nearby accommodation is available for delegates during the summer holidays.
SMALL BUT PERFECTLY FORMED
Name: St Elizabeth’s House
Address: Longbrook Street, Plympton St. Maurice, Plymouth, PL7 1NJ
Tel: 01752 344 840
Set amid five acres of lawns and landscaped gardens on the edge of Plymouth, this Georgian manor house has a mere 15 hotel rooms and the Wykeham room for small meetings and events. Each guestroom has been individually designed and has a separate bath and shower, 42-inch LCD television, free wifi internet, and tea/coffee-making facilities. There’s a restaurant and bar, the Beatrice room for private dining, and the Wykeham room has capacity for 60 delegates theatre-style or 24 in a boardroom set-up.