As an event organiser there is nowhere in the world I wouldn’t go in search of the best location for my client. Wherever you are there will be spaces and venues that can be used imaginatively to host amazing events. I’m always interested in hearing why people choose the locations they do, and the most popular locations aren’t always where you might first expect.
The British Meetings and Events Industry Survey (BMEIS) is probably the most comprehensive data set we have for providing an insight into the event’s industry in the UK, and includes information from the top corporate and association and event organisers. According to its latest figures, these are the most popular cities in the UK for business events. Do you agree?
-London: Well, there’s no prizes for guessing the top spot. England’s captial city is a huge draw both nationally and internationally. It is well served by transport links and is steeped in history and culture. There is something for everyone in London, and no matter what time of year, its attraction never wanes.
-Birmingham: Ask most people and they will be able to quickly name one of Birmingham’s large conference venues. The National Exhibition Centre (NEC) is hugely popular, and the city is also home to the International Convention Centre (ICC), the LG Arena and the National Indoor Arena (NIA). Birmingham has benefited from a lot of investment and redevelopment in recent years, and its central location and large population make it a consistent draw for business events.
-Manchester: As it is my home city you might say that I’m biased. I am, but I also know not to put sentimentality before good business sense, and for me Manchester wins as an event city every time. There are more than 250 venues to choose from across Greater Manchester and new venues are opening all the time. Business events is a huge growth area across the region and I can see in the next few years this will only get bigger. [TLC’s fave location of course!]
Glasgow: I was a little surprised to see Glasgow ahead of Edinburgh in the list, but expected it in the top 10. A former European City of Culture, Glasgow has some wonderful Charles Rennie architecture, good transport links and a variety of business venues including the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre.
-Leeds: For some reason many people think that Leeds is a smaller city than it is. In terms of population it is the third largest city in the UK. It’s lively and cosmopolitan and is proving to be a huge draw for corporate events.
-Edinburgh: The Scottish capital and home to probably the UK’s most famous art’s festival is understandably a popular choice for event organisers. Edinburgh Castle stands as a striking landmark in the centre of the city and is available for hire for both corporate and private events.
-Cambridge: The pretty university town is an attractive draw to those who know it both for its academic excellence and its punting on the River Cam. Many of the University buildings are available to hire, with the University offering a choice of 49 different venues and a free administration service for large events.
-Bristol: There are few cities more attractive than Bristol, with its impressive Suspension Bridge, attractive modern harbour, and spacious parks. Any event that can coincide with guests being able to visit the annual balloon festival, meander through the streets of Clifton Village or view some of Banksy’s earliest art work has got to be a winner.
-Coventry: This is perhaps a surprising addition to the list for some. The city, famous for Lady Godiva and St George the Dragon Slayer, is also clearly a very popular destination for businesses looking to hold events. Close to Birmingham International Airport and ideally placed for visits to Stratford-Upon-Avon and Warwick Castle, Coventry has placed itself firmly on the map for event organisers with almost 181,000 meeting rooms to choose from.
-Nottingham: Again, there are many cities bigger than Nottingham which didn’t make the top 10. Yet for visitors from far and wide Nottingham holds enormous appeal, not least because as the home of Robin Hood it is city rich in history and legend.