Historic castle's new event spaces revealed

Grade I-listed Hensol Castle, part of the Vale Resort, South Wales, has completed a £10 million refurbishment to upgrade conference facilities.
The first phase of work at the 400-year-old venue has included a refresh of castle conference rooms and the construction of a purpose-built Courtyard Hall, which can host 320 delegates theatre-style and 200 delegates banquet-style. Courtyard Hall is complemented by five smaller meeting rooms in the castle itself, hosting between 10-100 delegates per room theatre-style.
Phase two of the redevelopment the addition of up to 30 bedrooms and a top-end restaurant with 120 covers, expected to be open by late 2016. The Vale Resort has also invested £1m in upgrading 143 bedrooms.

Kick back in Chelsea's pop-up summer garden

Stamford Bridge, the home of Chelsea FC, has launched a pop-up summer garden events space. The Summer Garden at Stamford Bridge has been landscaped with trees, hedges and fairy lights designed to complement the outside terraces of Frankie’s Sports Bar & Diner and Marco Grill restaurants, providing a new al fresco cocktail bar and dining space for London during summer 2015. The garden will screen sporting fixtures across the summer, including the tennis championships at Queen's and Wimbledon, horse racing at Ascot, the Tour de France and the British Grand Prix. The garden is available from 30 May to 31 July.

Royal residence expands after bumper launch

A country house in North Yorkshire has expanded just six months after launching thanks to increasing demand. Rudby Hall, near Stokesley, officially opened as a luxury venue for corporate events in September following a three-year renovation. Now, as demand exceeds owners Martin and Sandra Johnson’s expectations, another seven suites within the historic home have been refurbished, more than doubling its capacity. The new suites are all named after historic figures linked to the Grade II* listed 19th century property, which was a former royal residence built for King William IV’s daughter Lady Amelia Cary. Martin Johnson said: “The popularity of Rudby Hall has exceeded our own predictions and there was a very real need to increase the number of suites.”

Inflatable pub ready to blow up at events

Pineapple Leisure has launched The Inflatable Pub, a pop-up pub which can be inflated by a single person in a few minutes. Aimed at open air events, The Inflatable Pub is available in seven sizes, from 9-200 sqm, with a tall, airy ceiling, yet when rolled up it can be transported in a regular family car. The pub is finished in the style of a traditional Tudor hostelry and can be adorned with a customer's own branding. Pineapple Leisure director Sharon Hadley-Ford said: "No beer tent or marquee can ever be mistaken for a pub. The Inflatable Pub changes that, providing outdoor events with a real pub image that stands out from everything around it.”

Ringwood supplies delegates with fresh menus

Ringwood Hall Hotel, a Georgian Grade II listed manor house in Chesterfield, Derbyshire, is making the most of its stunning formal gardens. The hotel is using produce from its Victorian kitchen garden in summer delegate and event menus, and in gifts of handmade chutney for conference and event buyers at its marquee open day in June. Ringwood Hall Hotel has 74 bedrooms, including many feature guest rooms, in its 200 year old main house. Offering stylish smaller meeting rooms, or a larger conference room for up to 250 delegates, the hotel has a total of six dedicated conference and meeting rooms, ideal for residential conferences, off site meetings, training, seminars, hospitality visits, team building and corporate dining just minutes from the centre of Chesterfield.

Howzat for a meeting venue? Hilton opens at Ageas Bowl

The 171-bedroom Hilton at The Ageas Bowl Southampton has opened with more than 1,500 sqm of meeting space. With bedrooms overlooking The Ageas Bowl’s cricket pitch, the hotel offers eight meeting rooms and a ballroom capable of hosting up to 700 people. An executive lounge also offers a 24-hour business centre, while the UK’s first Hilton includes eforea spa including eight treatment rooms, spa pool, salon, nail bar and restaurant. Dining options include the Spa Café, the Lakeview Sports Bar and all-day dining restaurant BEEFY’S, serving English cuisine.

Whisky venue's £7m event space revamp

The Scotch Whisky Experience, Edinburgh’s five-star whisky venue, has unveiled a major renovation of its top floor events suite. The newly refurbished Castlehill and Blender’s rooms have been given their own whisky-inspired identity. The renovation is the culmination of a six-year, £7 million programme which has seen the attraction position itself as the flag bearer for whisky tourism in Scotland. The 80-capacity Castlehill Room now plays host to whisky focused artworks and a vaulted ceiling with two bespoke light installations made out of whisky barrels. The smaller Blender’s Room, which hosts the Scotch Whisky Training School, has been inspired by a whisky blender’s sample room.

Hedsor House opens new 4x4 driving track

Hedsor House, the conference, meeting and events venue set in a private 100 acre estate in Buckinghamshire, has opened its new 4x4 off-road driving track. The new track and driving packages are the latest additions to the house’s range of facilities and services. In partnership with live events specialist M&MR, groups can now book stand alone off-road driving experiences on the specially constructed course or as part of a wider team-building day. The new blindfolded 4x4 Driving Experience is perhaps the ultimate team building trust exercise, as an allocated guide leads a blindfolded colleague around the course while not using the words left and right. A qualified instructor and an event manager will be on hand for the group throughout.

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