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    Checking in: Clevedon Hall, Somerset

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    Here at PA Life, we are always on the look-out for top-class event venues outside the capital, writes Daniel Fountain. And after a recent trip to Clevedon Hall in Somerset, we’re certain we’ve discovered a gem. Less than 15 miles from Bristol city centre, with stunning grounds and sea views, this Victorian mansion conversion is ideal for hosting a corporate event with a difference. The Grade I-listed building is an architectural work of art and its interiors create an event space oozing character and luxury.

    History abounds everywhere, but with various technological additions there is nothing archaic about the service Clevedon Hall can offer businesses. With a long pedigree in hosting weddings, the recent branching out to cater for corporate guests required the installation of state-of-the-art AV equipment and high-speed broadband connectivity throughout the venue.

    Whether it’s for conferences, board meetings, or away-days Clevedon Hall can cater for groups as small as six to as many as 200 people, with ample parking and the capability to collect people from the nearby airport and station. The corporate event team at Clevedon, aided by the extremely experienced Lawrence Dauncey, are able to create solutions for any type of request, allowing event organisers to book specific areas of the venue or even the entire building should they require it.

    Also, quite remarkably in comparison to London venues, half-day delegate rates start at £13 per person, full-day at £30 and a 24-hour package at £212, which also includes a fine dining three-course meal and a bedroom for the night. This isn’t a public hotel, something Lawrence tells me the owners are keen to maintain, and that forms part of the key selling point for this venue; its exclusivity. The beautifully-styled guestrooms are only available to event guests, offering complete privacy and security for event attendees.

    The recent £3 million renovation of the upper levels of the building has been money well spent, as each individually Jane Clayton-designed and furnished guestroom is a wonderful blend of traditional comfort and contemporary luxury. Plans are already under way to carry out a renovation of the ground-floor levels in a similar style, bringing a contemporary feel to the Great Hall entrance area, as well as the already-stunning event spaces such as the Grand Library, Orangery, and Conrad Finzel and Dame Rosa Burden suites – where we were hosted for dinner.

    On my visit, Alan Jones – the highly-regarded, Michelin-star trained chef – was showcasing not only his culinary skills but also the quality of local produce on offer for corporate guests choosing to dine at Clevedon Hall. After a selection of superb canapés, we were treated to a fresh starter of a Cornish crab tian served on pea shoots and sun-dried tomatoes, followed by a joyful trio of lamb – shredded, a chop and a mini-shepherd’s pie – all served with asparagus, new potatoes and a thick jus. While the chocolate-based dessert was slightly too sickly for this non-chocolate lover, the entire meal was a good combination of homely flavours and expert presentation. Another touch of Clevedon Hall’s bespoke service is that menus can be tailored to suit by Alan and his team depending on the event and the group of people involved.

    After a comfortable and quiet night’s sleep and a marvellous cooked breakfast the next morning, it was time to depart back eastwards. I was back at my Bedfordshire home within three hours of leaving the Somerset coast, and the drive gave me a chance to reflect on how good a venue Clevedon Hall really is. Flexible event spaces, glorious surroundings and grounds, luxurious guestrooms and a professional, competent team at the helm – at such competitive prices – prove it’s a myth you cannot find top-level venues outside the south-east. Think further outside the box and definitely give Clevedon Hall serious consideration; you won’t be disappointed.

    Clevedon Hall Estate, Elton Road, Clevedon, North Somerset BS21 7RH; 01275 795895; clevedonhallcorporate.co.uk

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    Daniel Fountain

    All stories by: Daniel Fountain