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    10 of the best: Academic venues

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    These fine institutions of higher learning offer a range of first-rate facilities, meaning you’ll graduate with honours in venue selection. Colette Doyle has all the details.

    Aberdeen
    University of Aberdeen (pictured); abdn.ac.uk
    Number of meetings spaces: 12
    Maximum capacity: 400
    Number of bedrooms: The university doesn’t offer accommodation to delegates during term time, (September to May) however there is a Holiday Inn Express less than two miles away. Between June and August, on-site accommodation is available for delegates.
    Day delegate rate: To hire conference suites for a full day, prices range from £160 to £600. Catering can be tailored to most budgets, starting at £1.75 per person for tea and coffee, going up to £45 for a gourmet, five-course meal. 
    Unique selling point: Founded over 500 years ago and situated in the medieval borough of Old Aberdeen, The University of Aberdeen provides a distinctive historic location for any event

    Belfast
    Queen’s University Belfast; qub.ac.uk
    Number of meetings spaces: 14 at the main university site and 12 at the Riddel Hall conference centre
    Maximum capacity: 1,200
    Number of bedrooms: approximately 1,200 single en suites available from 15 June to 8 July and from 19 August until 1 September
    Day delegate rate: £33; accommodation rate £38.50 B&B
    Unique selling point: The infrastructure at Queen’s enables it to deliver a choice of meeting venues that combines architectural merit with the very latest technology

    Birmingham
    Aston University; conferenceaston.co.uk
    Number of meetings spaces: Three conference venues: Aston Business School Conference Centre & Hotel (year-round, purpose-built commercial facility), Lakeside Conference Centre (as above), Aston University Campus Conferences (available during summer vacation, Easter, Christmas and weekends). There are 33 conference and meeting rooms to choose from all year, plus an additional 50 lecture theatres and meeting rooms on offer during the summer.  
    Maximum capacity: year-round: 235; summer vacation: 650
    Number of bedrooms: year-round at the hotel (three/four-star standard): 163 ensuite rooms, plus use of another 800 during the summer vacation
    Day delegate rate: From £36; accommodation rate from £37.50
    Unique selling point: Birmingham’s largest dedicated residential conference centre and the first academic venue to become British Standard ISO14001-accredited for having an integrated environmental management system

    Leeds
    Leeds Metropolitan University; leedsmet.ac.uk/conferencing
    Number of meetings spaces: 14 during term time
    Maximum capacity: 1,000 can be accommodated for a reception at flagship venue the Rose Bowl, or 350 theatre-style in the James Graham building
    Number of bedrooms: 23 all year round (up to 1,500 during the summer)
    Day delegate rate: From £25; accommodation rate from £36
    Unique selling point: Well Met Conferencing has a great choice of venues, from grand historic buildings set in beautiful grounds to modern urban spaces with hi-tech facilities. It was also the first university in the UK to receive the prestigious AIM Higher GOLD Accreditation from the Meetings Industry Association.

    Liverpool
    University of Liverpool; liv.ac.uk/conferences
    Number of meetings spaces: 50+ across campus
    Maximum capacity: 800 delegates
    Number of bedrooms: 1,955
    Day delegate rate: From £21.50; accommodation rate from £19.40, both inclusive of VAT
    Unique selling point: The university is centrally located, just minutes away from Liverpool Lime Street mainline train station. Plus, the city of Liverpool has been voted the UK’s friendliest by Condé Nast readers for the last two consecutive years

    London
    Imperial College London; imperial.ac.uk/
    Number of meetings spaces: more than 200 across its South Kensington, Hammersmith and Charing Cross campuses in central and west London
    Maximum capacity: 740 delegates
    Number of bedrooms: 1,610
    Day delegate rate: From £50; accommodation rate from £39
    Unique selling point: Consistently rated amongst the world’s best universities, Imperial College London is a science-based institution with a reputation for excellence in teaching and research

    Loughborough
    Loughborough University; welcometoimago.com
    Number of meetings spaces: 25 meeting rooms at the Burleigh, 12 at the Holywell and six at the Link Hotel
    Maximum capacity: Burleigh Court – 200, Holywell Park – 280, Link Hotel – 180
    Number of bedrooms: 225 at Burleigh Court, 94 at the Link Hotel
    Day delegate rate: From £22.50-£35 at the Link; from £35-£45 at Holywell Park; from £35-£50 at Burleigh Court; accommodation rate: between £40-£75 at the Link Hotel; between £55-£95 at Burleigh Court (both on a room-only basis)
    Unique selling point: Three unique venues all in one location and in close proximity to the M1 and Loughborough train station for travel to London and East Midlands Airport for international delegates

    Manchester
    Manchester Metropolitan University Business School; mmu.ac.uk/venues
    Number of meetings spaces: Three lecture theatres on the ground floor each with a capacity of 250; three smaller theatres with maximum capacity of 120. On the upper floors there are more than 25 glass-fronted meeting rooms of varying sizes and capacities.
    Maximum capacity: Lecture theatre 250, meeting room 60
    Number of bedrooms: N/A
    Day delegate rate: £35 for conferences and £28 for smaller meetings – both packages include use of the main plenary lecture theatre, refreshments, buffet lunch, full multi-media facilities, wifi and technical support.
    Unique selling point: As well as being a stunning addition to Manchester’s contemporary cityscape, the building has strong environmental credentials. It was designed by award-winning sustainable architectural practice Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios and has been constructed to the highest standards of energy efficiency and sustainable development currently achievable.

    Sunderland
    University of Sunderland; unispacesunderland.com
    Number of meetings spaces: There are five separate venues, each with a number of meetings spaces: City Campus offers four self-contained venues in and around urban green spaces; Sir Tom Cowie Campus at St Peter’s has six self-contained venues surrounding University Square; CitySpace is an award-winning building located at City Campus; the Industry Centre at Sunderland Enterprise Park offers a choice of four meeting rooms, seating 10 to 100 people; and the National Glass Centre has meeting and events facilities for up to 300 delegates.
    Maximum capacity: 1,000 delegates seated at St Peter’s Campus, with the ability to increase this to 3,000 if the outdoor space is used.
    Number of bedrooms: 2,000 bed spaces on site
    Day delegate rate: Variable depending on venue and event
    Unique selling point: UniSpace Sunderland adds value to events by utilising unique incentives and activities. The National Glass Centre features a glass-blowing workshop, allowing delegates to watch demonstrations, or even have a go at creating their own piece. The fully equipped media centre at St Peter’s enables meeting participants to record Archers-style radio shows or TV news bulletins.

    Warwick
    University of Warwick; warwickconferences.com
    Number of meetings spaces: 427 meeting rooms across venues that include Arden, Radcliffe and Scarman halls, plus the Conference Park
    Maximum capacity: 1,250 in tiered Butterworth Hall
    Number of bedrooms: 1,679
    Day delegate rates: Training and Conference Centre from £99-£160; B&B rates (in an ensuite room) from £54.20-£91.70; Conference Park rates from £75-£99; Conference Park B&B (again ensuite) from £39-£49
    Unique selling point: Warwick Conferences has been awarded the much coveted Gold AIM accreditation for all three of its training and conference centres and has won Best Academic Venue at the prestigious Meetings & Incentive Travel Awards 18 times.

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    AUTHOR

    Molly Dyson

    Former Editor – PA Life

    All stories by: Molly Dyson