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CN highlights some of the UK’s towering venues offering a unique meetings perspective.

The Shard Trying to break the ice among delegates and encourage networking can be a tricky business. Holding an event in a high-rise venue complete with birds eye view of the skyline is one way to get guests talking.

“We’ve done some great networking events for clients in high rise locations,” says Top Banana’s Helen Davis. “The view somehow helps to break the ice so that people mix in more quickly.”

Davis tells CN that while it seems obvious, one thing that needs to be checked prior to an event at a high rise venue is how many lifts are available, whether these are shared with the public and how quickly they move.

“Moving lots of people to the top of a tower takes some time. Some older lifts can take an age to rattle their way to the top, so it’s always worth checking,” she says.

While these venues undoubtedly offer a spectacular view, Davis notes that this kind of venue is often limited when it comes to visibility within the space itself, with pillars and other structural elements often restricting vision. “But for an event where delegates are mixing in smaller groups, their quirkiness can be a real talking point.”

Meet up high
The View from The Shard, situated at the top of the building on floors 68, 69 and 72, is almost twice the height of any other viewing platform in London. To really get guests talking, the highest accessible point of the venue, level 72, provides an open-air viewing platform exposed to the elements and sounds of the city below.

The View from The Shard can accommodate 400 guests during summer months (300 in winter) for a standing reception and is also available for private seated dinners.

“We are delighted with how successful our private hire and events programme at The View from The Shard has been since opening in February 2013,” says Marketing Director. Anna Domingo. “September 2014 was a record for us, hosting an event almost daily.”

Over at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, The ArcelorMittal Orbit can accommodate 250 guests standing or 180 seated in its two viewing platforms, with the space able to be set up in theatre, boardroom, classroom or cabaret-style.

If it’s a towering venue by the water that’s required, Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth offers panoramic views of the South Coast for up to 70 delegates theatre-style. And set to grace the Brighton skyline in 2016, the i360 is a 170m viewing tower with events space for 600 guests. As an added extra, a ride in a 200-person pod can be arranged pre-meeting.

For a sky-high conference in Scotland, DoubleTree by Hilton Edinburgh’s penthouse Sky Bar, has capacity for 180 guests including a terrace space for 40. The penthouse offers a full service bar, terrace and meeting equipment, as well as the option to BBQ from a different vantage point in the summer.

It’s not just conferences or networking events that can take place way up high, Up at the O2 is a teambuilding activity that will really put delegates’ minds to the test. The roof-top climb is available for parties of up to 30 with packages including sunset and twilight climbs.

Exclusive sessions are available, while added extras include food and drink on the roof itself.
While just a taster of the towering venues on offer, if you want to get your delegates talking from the offset at an event, look no further than a venue with a view.

This was first published in the November issue of CN. Any comments? Email Zoe Vernor

13 Nov 14

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