Liverpool’s venues and hotels are supported by an impressive collection of museums and attractions that provide organisers with plenty of options for gala dinners, social iteneraries or unique experiences.
Alongside business travellers, it is estimated that more than two million people a year who plan to visit Liverpool are influenced to do so by The Beatles. One of the city’s most popular attractions, The Beatles Story charts the rise of the fab four and can be made use of for private events, drinks receptions and dinners. Also available for hospitality is the Cavern club, the world-famous venue where the band played in the early 1960s. Today it is still a thriving setting for live performances and one of many iconic concert spaces available in the city.
As well as musical sightseeing, there are a number of other historical attractions for delegates to visit, or that can provide hospitality. For instance, Liverpool Cathedral, which is the largest in Britain and the fifth largest in the world. Its Tower Experience takes visitors to the very top of the church for a bird’s-eye view of the city. The scale and beauty of the building makes it a stunning space for meetings, conferences, receptions and private dining or for large-scale civic events, exhibitions and gala dinners.
Meanwhile, the city’s UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Albert Dock, celebrates its 25th anniversary this year. Home to the largest group of Grade I-listed buildings in Britain, venues in the region include Tate Liverpool, the aforementioned Beatles Story and the Merseyside Maritime Museum, as well as numerous restaurants and bars. Liverpool also has more Grade II- listed buildings than any other city in the UK outside London, providing a wealth of attractive event settings.
When planning hospitality, Liverpool’s sporting history should not be ignored. Aintree Racecourse is best known for holding the annual Grand National steeplechase. The addition of two grandstands means the ground can accommodate up to 600 delegates and boasts 17 areas in which to hold an event. The most legendary is the Weighing Room, which overlooks the parade ring and winner’s enclosure.
Nearby, Southport forms the centre of England’s golf coast, being home to the highest concentration of championship links courses. Widely regarded as England’s golfing capital, delegates visiting the region may like to take the short journey over to the Wirral to enjoy a day on the green, golf lessons or to soak up the resort atmosphere of Southport.
How to get there – and where to stay
Over the past several years, Liverpool has seen no less than 22 brand new hotels and serviced apartments in the city, collectively adding 2,970 bedrooms to the region. Hotels opened since 2012 include Premier Inn Liverpool One and Adagio. The greatly anticipated Doubletree by Hilton Liverpool is scheduled to open later this summer.
The area has a number of international travel connections via rail, road and air. John Lennon airport, located in the south of the city, provides direct air connections across the UK and Europe to destinations including Berlin, Rome, Barcelona and Zurich. For domestic travellers, Liverpool’s rail network is one of the busiest and most extensive in the country, while the M62 motorway provides connections to both the M1 and M6, linking it to other major cities.
The Port of Liverpool is one of the UK’s largest, providing passenger ferry services across the Irish Sea to Belfast, Dublin and the Isle of Man. The Mersey Ferry, meanwhile, provides a regular cross-river service that is popular with visitors and locals alike.
As part of its remit to promote the city and wider region for events, conferences and meetings, Liverpool Convention Bureau has launched an online bidding tool, airport transfer services and its free wifi and ‘Delegate Goodnight’ initiatives.
MEET IN STYLE
Since opening five years ago, the ACC Liverpool has won a host of awards, attracted three million visitors through its doors and generated £620 million for the local economy. Comprising the BT Convention Centre and Echo Arena, the venue as a whole offers a variety of flexible spaces for meetings or conferences on a grand scale, including a 1,350-seat auditorium, 7,125 sqm of exhibition space and 11,000-capacity arena. It is the only directly interconnected arena and convention centre in Europe and will be opening a brand new exhibition centre and on-site hotel in spring 2015 to complete the portfolio.
Southport Theatre & Convention Centre (STCC)
One of the largest and most flexible multi-purpose venues in the region, it has undergone a £40 million investment programme and can cater for events up to 4,000 delegates. The venue consists of the Southport Theatre, with a 1,631-seat auditorium, eight backstage rooms and a large flat stage, as well as the 1,000sqm Art Deco Floral Hall ballroom, complete with breakout spaces in the form of a green room and Gardens bar.
Liverpool John Moores University
Able to host conferences for up to 300 delegates, the university has a number of meeting spaces, including the signature £27 million art and design academy, complete with seminar rooms, galleries, exhibition space and roof terraces with spectacular city views. Alongside accommodation, several spaces are available with facilities designed to replicate working environments such as computer suites, professional kitchens, a mock court room, sports science facilities and even a ship’s bridge simulator.
Conference suites at Aintree, many overlooking the iconic racecourse, are able to host a maximum of 600 delegates. The venue also boasts up to 3,700sqm of exhibition space. In addition to the five main stands that provide meeting and events rooms, the team at Aintree Racecourse can arrange behind-the-scenes stadium tours, or talks from jockeys, trainers and owners as part of an events schedule.
The Conference Centre at LACE
Situated on the edge of Sefton Park, the venue is able to host smaller conferences for up to 120 delegates. The venue consists of 16 rooms with natural daylight and two halls that are able to cater for up to 240 delegates.
Museum of Liverpool
The £72 million venue, situated on the city’s iconic waterfront, is the largest newly built national museum in Britain for over a century and the world’s first devoted to the history of a regional city. Operated by National Museums Liverpool, it opened in July 2011 and can host events, with views over the river, for up to 1,000.
Camp and Furnace
A selection of quirky, industrial-style rooms, Camp and Furnace is one of the city’s more unusual events spaces. The venue offers a lobby bar, eatery and a 2,700sqm event space complete with birch trees and industrial features. It will soon be the UK’s first indoor vintage caravan hotel, situated in a woodland setting inside the building as a kitsch alternative to traditional rooms.
Floral Pavilion Theatre and Conference Centre
The Floral Pavilion in New Brighton is famous for its historic promenade and views over the Mersey. It offers three interconnecting rooms for exhibitions, conferences and receptions that can accommodate up to 550, as well as a plaza, lounge and an 800-seat theatre.