The Great Outdoors

With summer just around the corner and the sun preparing to make an appearance, it’s the perfect time to start planning a meeting or event outdoors.

The famous ‘unsettled’ British weather needs no introduction, but rain wind or shine, the UK events industry is geared up to accommodate your delegation.

Twickenham Stadium

Twickenham Stadium offers a range of outdoor experiences, with its pitch-side facilities able to host over 1,000 delegates.

Your meeting or event can be complemented with pitch-side BBQs and drinks reception. Those looking to get into the heart of the Home of England Rugby are able to experience the England Changing Rooms and Players Tunnel, where the teams line up on a match day, the stadium theatre surrounded by 82,000 seats, and get a chance to get a feel for the atmosphere.

Other outdoor experiences the stadium offers include the HAKA incentive and the GPS treasure hunt packages, both incorporate the venue’s pitch-side facilities. To ensure an event goes ahead without any weather problems the venue suggests that clients incorporate additional inside space into their event; this can then be used as a wet weather contingency plan if necessary.

drp’s head office

Full service agency drp is more than just an agency; its head office in Worcestershire also features a for-hire venue complete with outdoor space. Studio 212 is a spacious blank canvas venue that allows the user to create original themed environments.

Studio 212 spans 4.2 acres with an atrium, three large adjoining studios, three meeting spaces and a cinema.

With vast outdoor space there is plenty of room for marquees, and in the event of bad weather, the nature of the studios means an outdoor environment can be recreated inside. This is an ideal venue for large product launches, particularly for the automotive industry.

De Vere Wokefield Estate

Located in Reading, Principal Hotel Group’s De Vere Wokefield Estate has recently undergone (and continues to receive) refurbishment.

The venue offers two meeting venues; the classic Mansion House and the ultra-modern Executive Centre, which boasts multiple breakout spaces and, combined, offer over 50 high-tech meeting rooms. Gathering outside is keenly encouraged.

The venue’s extensive outdoor facilities, which include an 18-hole award-winning PGA standard golf course and an outdoor adventure centre run by Grahame Robb associates. The adventure centre features Europe’s largest rope and zip wire course, woodland laser combat, archery and zorbing activities.

Hampton Court Palace

Hampton Court Palace’s 750 acres of beautiful gardens and parkland have long been popular with event bookers looking to host outdoors events. The palace’s famous formal gardens, courtyards and Tudor and Baroque architecture combines to create a backdrop steeped in history and royalty.

The palace’s all-purpose Garden Room is the perfect space for meetings and conferences for up to 180 delegates theatre-style and is nestled within its own private walled garden which can be used for outdoor teambuilding activities as part of a conference programme. Delegates can take part in a Wildgoose tablet trail around the gardens, which encourages them to explore and uncover the palace’s history through a series of challenges, questions and image recognition.

The events team keep a constant eye on the weather forecast in the run-up to an outdoors event, and routinely prepare a contingency plan, be it the use of a marquee or moving the event into one of the historical indoor spaces.

Wasing Park and Estate

Wasing Park and Estate in Berkshire offers a range of facilities for corporate events, conferences, meetings, and team building activities.

Accommodation comprises 26 individually designed bedrooms, including the three old estate rooms: Granary, Dovecote and Smithy, all of which are Grade II listed.

Wasing Park’s Castle Barn is available for conferences, dining and receptions and is the largest of the indoor meeting spaces. The Garden Room is wonderfully light and airy, which makes it a popular choice for those who want to bring the outdoors inside.

The grounds of the estate include lakes, a walled garden, and terrace garden, and 4,000 acres of woodland and parkland.

Center Parcs

With four venues across the UK, Center Parcs is a great destination for outdoor meetings and events, with each of its villages offering up to 400 acres of beautiful forest landscapes. The surroundings lend themselves perfectly to complementary teambuilding events.

Most events include some element of the outdoors – the opportunity for staff to enjoy some free time in the great outdoors as part of a conference programme is a key objective for many clients coming to Center Parcs.

With the added feature of lakes at each of the venues, the summer months are the perfect time to gather your delegation on the beach space.

Alternative venues are on stand-by if rain is forecast. Conversely, any event booked indoors can move outdoors if the weather is better than expected.


Treating the outdoors with due importance, QHotels launched a Netwalking Package which allows businesses to swap traditional meeting rooms for a taste of the great outdoors.

Companies can host their meetings during an adventurous walk through the rolling acres of the grounds, soaking up the scenery and landscapes.

Should the heavens open, then the extensive indoor space makes for the ideal contingency.

Agency case study: Off Limits

Legal and General requested on an outdoor event to complement a meeting. Despite inclement weather, Off Limits delivered a Team Work Challenges event, spirits weren’t dampened, and ponchos were provided to the delegates.

The event was run at the client’s offices. Lauren Grech, business manager from Legal and General said: “The whole event went to plan and we had a fantastic afternoon at the outdoor event. The service was impressive and everyone had a great, fun and action packed afternoon.”

Martin Fullard


Martin Fullard

Martin Fullard: journalist, presenter, producer. Martin is the Deputy Editor at Conference News and Conference & Meetings World magazines. He leads the digital channels on Mash Media’s Conference Division as well as heading up Mash TV. He is formerly a web editor at a national newspaper in the Middle East and motoring journalist.

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