With its accessible location in the heart of the West Midlands and a growing portfolio of top-class venues, Coventry is giving nearby Birmingham a run for its money when it comes to meetings and events.
Coventry is probably best known for two things: the 11th century exploits of Lady Godiva – who, according to legend, rode through the city naked on horseback in protest at high taxes – and the virtual flattening of the city during the bombing raids of World War II. It was Coventry’s industrial heritage that made it an important target, but its burgeoning motor industry continued to enjoy the highs and lows of the 20th century with the likes of Rover and Jaguar based in the city. Today, Coventry’s two universities and an internationally recognised business school are among major employers.
Name: Coombe Abbey
Address: Brinklow Road, Binley, West Midlands CV3 2AB
Tel: 02476 450450
Originally a 12th century Cistercian Abbey, the Coombe Abbey Hotel is set within 500 acres of parkland a few miles from the M1 and M6 and now boasts a fine dining restaurant and 119 guestrooms and ten meeting rooms with capacity ranging from eight to 180 delegates. The two largest rooms are The High Court, which has its own bar, and the flexible Centre Court which has a large adjoining lounge. Together these are called the Courthouse, a self-contained conference suite with space for separate exhibition areas. All rooms have free wireless access, cabled internet and telephone points.
Name: Coventry Transport Museum
Address: Millennium Place, Hales St., Coventry CV1 1JD
Tel: 02476 234270
One of the world’s biggest transport museums, this venue is set in the heart of Coventry. The five modern meeting rooms cater for ten to 300 guests and a fullday delegate package is from £30 per person including refreshments, buffet, AV equipment, wifi access and entry into the museum. The Starley and Bettmann suites are flexible spaces with natural daylight and, together with the Mezzanine Balcony, make up a conference suite in the midst of the museum. There’s also the Swift Centre – best for training events – and the adaptable Ariel Gallery, the largest event space at the museum, with drive-in access and 7.7metre ceilings.
NEW KID ON THE BLOCK
Name: The Welcome Centre
Address: 47 Parkside, Coventry CV1 2HG
Tel: 02476 226064
The Welcome Centre is a modern purpose-built conference centre catering for up to 650 delegates. It is located a five-minute walk from the city centre and has onsite parking. The five flexible meeting rooms work in a variety of layouts and feature natural daylight, air conditioning and wifi access. The largest space is the Grace Room, which caters for 650 people in a theatre arrangement and 300 cabaret-style. Also available are the Inspire Room for up to 200 delegates, the Elegance Room for up to 65 and the Serenity Room for up to 100 guests. The Amy Room is ideal for interviews and training for groups of 15-20 delegates in a theatre or boardroom style. The venue also offers a range of onsite catering options including buffet menus and specialist diets.
ON A SHOESTRING
Name: Elm Bank Training Centre
Address: Mile Lane, Coventry CV1 2LQ
Tel: 02476 527 400
Located in Coventry city centre, Elm Bank offers 26 different rooms which can be arranged in theatre, boardroom and horseshoe styles. The largest, the Hawthorn Room, caters for up to 100 delegates and others cater for between eight and 60 delegates at a time, plus there’s an IT Suite. The rooms all come with modern AV equipment and wifi internet, while staff are on hand to assist with organisation. The venue can also cater for business breakfasts, working lunches and evening buffets, as well as special events.
Name: Coventry University TechnoCentre
Address: Puma Way, Coventry CV1 2TT
Tel: 02476 236 427
As the name suggests, this city centre meeting venue boasts state of the art audio-visual technology in its specialist suites and a range of modern, flexible spaces for two to 200 delegates. The largest space is the John Siddeley Hall which is equipped with a full stage set and advanced integrated PA system. There are four syndicate rooms for up to 80 delegates and three executive suites and three boardrooms catering for smaller meetings. All are equipped with iMacs and a built in LCD projector. Other options include the Serious Games Institute, which houses high definition videoconferencing; The Health Design & Technology Institute, which has motion sensor room lighting; plus the Design Hub and the Institute for Creative Enterprise.
SMALL BUT PERFECTLY FORMED
Name: Nailcote Hall Golf, Country Club & Spa
Address: Nailcote Lane, Berkswell CV7 7DE
Tel: 02476 466174
Located in a rural setting amid the Warwickshire countryside, around six miles from Coventry and just off the M42, Nailcote Hall is a striking, Jacobean fourstar country house hotel with excellent leisure facilities and a good conference facilities. The Terrace Suite caters for 70 guests, but can be divided into the smaller Wellingtonia and Yew Suites. Similarly, the Lant Suite has capacity for 150 guests, but can be split into the Kenilworth and Dudley Suites for smaller meetings and events. There’s accommodation for up to 180 overnight guests, plus a country club featuring pool, gym, tennis courts and a nine-hole golf course.
How to get there: Coventry is easily accessed by road from all points of the compass, conveniently located between the M6, M42, M1 and M40. The A45 and A46 are the main arterial roads in the area. Coventry is on the West Coast main line, with trains running every 30 minutes to/from London, taking around one hour. Coventry airport is ten minutes from the city centre and Birmingham International Airport is 20 minutes away.
Contact: The Coventry & Warwickshire Convention Bureau provides assistance with venue finding, event organisation and delegate accommodation.
Tel: 02476 832792