There are more than 10,000 event and conference venues across the UK to choose from so it can be extremely difficult to know where to start. From purpose-built conference centres to the more unusual venues, it is all about finding the right space to match your event requirements.
If you are looking for auditorium seating, cabaret style, exhibition space or a large dinner and dance room, there are lots of venues to choose from. With a larger event you may feel that your venue choice will be limited, however this simply is not the case.
A large convention or conference event venue is designed and built to hold large capacity events. They offer sufficient floor space to accommodate thousands of delegates and are ideally suited for exhibition/trade show and big conferences, but can usually lend themselves to most events.
As an added benefit, some of the larger capacity venues also have accommodation on site, or very close by. This allows conference organisers the ease to arrange both staff and delegate accommodation local to where the event is taking place and allow quick transfer times between the venues.
If you are searching for a large conference venue in London, or nationwide, to support a bigger guest attendance, or are struggling to find a venue, DeSouza Associates are here to help.
Our top picks below are ideal for large scale events offering great facilities, well-connected transport links and cater for all budgets.
Excel London is located in London’s historic Royal Docks and has good transport links on the Dockland Light Railway to Canary Wharf and the City. Also with over 3000 car parking spaces on site it works well for people wishing to travel by car from outside London.
The space available for events varies with a number of multi-purpose event halls to smaller meeting spaces and conference facilities. Also on site is London’s International Convention Centre which includes a 2000 capacity auditorium along with smaller event spaces accommodation from 10 – 1,000 delegates.
With over 25 restaurants / bars / coffee shops within walking distance there is a variety of choices to suit all tastes. There are a range of hotels located on site ranging from budget to 5 star luxury options.
Manchester Central is an award-winning venue located in the heart of the city; the vaulted arches and station clock have made the venue an iconic city feature for more than 140 years.
Their range of flexible spaces provide the perfect platform for events of all shapes, sizes and formats; from team conferences and business expos, to drinks receptions and banquet dinners.
Manchester Central is close to a whole range of restaurants and bars on the doorstep and plenty of hotel bedrooms of varying standards & categories within a 5-minute walk.
The city-centre location and on-site car park means they are easy to reach, however you chose to travel.
Kia Oval London
Home of Surrey County Cricket Club since 1845, the Kia Oval lends itself well for all types of conferences and events. Just a stone’s throw from central London and situated just outside the congestion zone, the venue offers large event spaces over 250sqm.
The England Suite is their largest event room accommodating up to 650 guests in a theatre style layout.
They also have 6 outdoor, covered terraces to utilise during the Summer months (weather dependant), and the Corinthian Roof Terrace which is situated on the 4th floor of the OCS Stand. This space can accommodate up to 600 guests for a standing reception, and offers panoramic views across London.
The ICC Birmingham
A major conference venue in Birmingham, The ICC has around 10 conference halls and 10 meeting rooms available for corporate hire. With capacities from 1,500 in the main auditorium to 12 in a boardroom style their event space is extremely flexible and offers lots of options to the conference organiser. The ICC is centrally located close to the M6, M5 and M42. New Street train station is just a short walk away.
With over 6,500 bedrooms located nearby finding somewhere for your delegates to sleep should not be a problem. On the doorstep to The ICC there are at least 5 hotels offering accommodation to suit all budgets.
The ACC Liverpool is on a UNESCO World Heritage site located right on the waterfront close to the former Kings Dock. It is an award winning venue with Europe’s only inter-connected arena, conference and exhibition centres. Accommodating all types of events, the venues room configuration makes it flexible and unique.
The M & S Bank Arena space is the largest event room which can accommodate up to 10.600 people and has a flat-floor area of over 3,400sqm.
The Pullman Liverpool opened its doors in 2016 and has been cleverly integrated within The ACC. It offers 216 bedrooms, a Marco Pierre White Restaurant and also has 3 smaller meeting spaces which have a maximum capacity of 100 people.
Eurovision 2023 was a great success in Liverpool in May this year. As a result of this the city is attracting lots of interest and will be the place that everyone wants to book for their next event! See our latest blog on Liverpool and the Eurovision hype!
Kents Hill Park, Milton Keynes
A purpose-built, fully serviced training centre to accommodate events up to 600 delegates.
The venue has over 70 meeting spaces along with 300 bedrooms on site, ample complimentary car parking spaces, most up-to-date technology to support all events, leisure facilities including a swimming pool, sports hall and gym.
The venue is easily accessible being less than 5 miles away from Milton Keynes main railway station and just 35 minutes from Luton Airport.
Sandy Park Conference Centre, Exeter
Sandy Park is an award winning Conference, Banqueting and Events Centre, and is also home to the Exeter Chiefs Rugby Team.
One of the largest and most versatile conference centres in the South West, the venue has five executive suites and 18 event spaces to accommodate capacities from 2 to over 1,000.
On site there is also the Marriott Exeter Sandy Park – a 250 bedroom hotel, all ideally located alongside junction 30 of the M5 and only a few minutes from Exeter International Airport.
Perhaps you are looking for something a little different rather than a traditional conference centre so how about considering these venue types which offer some great large spaces.
University campuses work well for large conferences, especially if dates fall outside of term times. With many locations across the UK these academic venues have city centre locations along with more rural settings so can suit all tastes.
Why not think out of the box, and look to host your next event at one of the many Cinemas across the UK. All the major cinema chains all hire out their cinemas for external events, and capacities range from 25 up to 900 plus people.
Benefits of using a cinema include multiple auditoriums available of varying sizes, all the technology and AV assistance is on site and included within packages, large foyer spaces to accommodate catering and exhibitor stands, comfortable seating and surroundings which can be privatised, and unique branding opportunities
Livery Halls, in the City of London, provide the perfect space for those large seminars, gala dinners or evening drinks receptions.
For example Haberdashers Hall near St Pauls can accommodate up to 650 guests and has a wonderful outdoor courtyard garden area too.
Sporting stadiums, all over the UK and Ireland, offer unique and prestigious spaces for your meetings, conferences, team building away days and much more.
From football or rugby clubs, to racecourses, cricket grounds to indoor arenas, there is a unique space to play host to everyone’s needs. Located around excellent transport routes they offer an array of modern event spaces with all the latest technology.