Destination focus: Hull and East Yorkshire

Hull city centre venues include art theatres, traditional civic buildings, and marina view hotels and there are eight free museums to explore.

A short trip up the rugged East Yorkshire coastline brings you to the seaside town of Bridlington and its flagship meeting space, The Spa, now restored to the UK events roster after major investment. It offers a mix of new and refurbished meeting rooms including an Art-Deco ballroom, Edwardian theatre, and suites overlooking the promenade.

The region has seen £1.5bn worth of regeneration work over five years. New structures have been created, including the pedestrianised Waterfront and marina, while the historical natural beauty, such as the Yorkshire Wolds, help provide a setting for teambuilding and golf courses to add into the meetings mix.

Humberside International Airport and a new train and bus station bolster connections to what is England’s 10th largest city.

Hull’s 2017 UK City of Culture accolade has also provided a great boost for the area and the many proposed activities will be a fantastic backdrop for planners wishing to hold conferences and events in the city. There will be an extra dimension for social programming and partners packages.

The proposed programme will include 15 national and international commissions, 12 artists’ residencies; 25 festivals; eight major community participation projects; major broadcasting events and an estimated 1,500 special events.

Hull’s historic Fruit Market is already a thriving cultural area with art galleries, live music and boutique market. This retro location is the home of Hull’s annual cultural festival, Freedom (the city is the birthplace of William Wilberforce).

Where to stay

Hull has finally invested in its hotel stock, raising the offer dramatically from a low base several years ago. Major hotels include:

Mercure Royal Hotel – A Victorian Grade II listed building where Queen Victoria was once a guest. Centrally located and fresh from a £1.5m refurbishment, the hotel can cater for up to 400 delegates and offers 155 bedrooms and on site parking.

Holiday Inn Hull Marina – Overlooking the Marina, it provides facilities for conferences and banqueting plus 101 bedrooms. Overnight guests have use of the hotel’s Spirit Health Club and there is free parking. Train and bus stations are a 10-minute walk.

Hallmark Hotel – Following a £3.5m makeover, this is now a four-star hotel. Bedrooms, meeting facilities, restaurant and bar have been completely refurbished. The hotel also offers a fitness suite and views of the Humber Bridge one of the world’s longest single-span suspension bridges.

Cave Castle Hotel & Country Club – A castellated manor house set in 150 acres of parkland, with a 18-hole golf course, fishing lake and a health and leisure club. This historical building can host most kinds of conferences or meetings. It is also only a few minutes from the M62 and three miles from the main line station at Brough.

Where to eat

Two Rivers Restaurant at The Deep – Hull’s iconic visitor attraction (also available for event hire) which is home to over 3,500 fish including spectacular sharks and rays.

Tapasya – a fine dining Indian restaurant in Hull, serving people who want high quality food. Head chef K K Anand was Head Chef for Indian and Asian cuisine at the Olympic Village during London 2012.

1884 Dock Street Kitchen – Yorkshire Restaurant of the Year – 1884 Dock Street Kitchen models itself on the meat packing district of New York.
 
Where to meet and where to go

KC Stadium is home to Premier League Hull City FC, and offers event organisers a choice of nine conference rooms. It can host meetings, lunches and dinners from 10 to 400 people. It offers 28 boxes which can be turned into breakout rooms.

All rooms have natural daylight, air conditioning and complimentary Wi-Fi.

The Circle Restaurant and 28 Executive Boxes on the second floor all look out on to the pitch. The KC Stadium offers 1,000 free car parking spaces.

Hull Truck Theatre started in 1971 operating as a touring company from the back of a truck. Today it is in a new £15m building in the city centre. The premises boast a 440-seat main auditorium, 134-seat studio theatre, breakout areas and a versatile interactive space along with two café-bars. The theatre is popular for an array of  meetings and events. Corporate hospitality theatre packages are on offer.

The University of Hull has training and meeting rooms and can host special functions or private dinners. It is 2.5 miles from the city centre and offers ample parking.

On the incentives menu organisers will find the Humberside Offshore Training Association’s purpose built Survival Training Centre. Delegates can be strapped into the Helicopter Underwater Escape Training simulator, fondly known as the Dunker, and submerged in the 4.5m deep training pool. Trained staff can offer useful advice and an experience to remember. If you’d rather not submerge, why not learn to sail a yacht at CatZero. Every member of the crew has to work together to overcome the challenges. It fosters team work and leadership.

Brewery Wharf, a former fruit warehouse and home to micro brewery the Yorkshire Brewing Company, is part of an emerging Arts Quarter within the city’s medieval Old Town.

Brewery Wharf can accommodate small groups through to larger festival audiences. Get to see how beer is produced.

This was first published in the February issue of CN. Any comments? Email conferencenews@mashmedia.net

Paul Colston

Author

Paul Colston

Managing Editor, Conference News & Conference & Meetings World.

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