The attractive walled city of York is one of the UK’s most visited tourist hotspots but it has much to win over business travellers too, with its plentiful choice of historic and cultural venues and a vibrant restaurant and nightlife scene, writes Emma Allen
The atmospheric Grade I listed Merchant Adventurers Hall is one of Europe’s best surviving examples of a medieval guild hall. Its impressive interior lends itself perfectly to grand dinners and events. Groups of up to 180 can be seated in the main hall, and outside there are scenic walled gardens, bordered by the River Foss. Hall hire starts at £1,100.
The York Dungeon is part of the national Dungeon group and it hosts interactive shows and live action events that bring historical stories to life, with actors taking visitors through more than 2,000 years of York history. Private events during the day or evening can be catered for in the Dungeon’s cellar rooms. Visitors can also go on tours after hours, with prices starting at £20pp.
ON A SHOESTRING
Address: Nunthorpe Road, York YO23 1BW
Just outside the city walls, Clements Hall is a community run events hall located a short walk from the railway station. The light-filled main room is suitable for receptions and presentations, seating up to 120, while the first-floor art room can seat 20. A separate meeting space is available for up to 18. Room hire starts from £18 per hour for the main hall and catering can be organised.
In the city centre, the modern Spring Lane building is part of the University of York. It re-opened in 2016 after a £13.8m refit. It now offers a 350-seat lecture theatre and 26 seminar rooms, along with state-of-the-art AV and an on-site technical team. In the York Conferences university portfolio there are more than 200 venues, most with free high-speed wifi.
Set in the historic Minster Quarter, York’s Chocolate Story sets out the history behind York’s chocolate-making industry, and the building makes an interesting backdrop for dinners and receptions. Tastings and workshops can be arranged, as well as tours and hiring of the Factory Zone. Prices start at £100 per hour for evening hire, and 20-75 can be catered for.
York Racecourse is located a mile outside of the city centre, and has a wide range of conference and meeting space available, along with hospitality suites suitable for groups up to 650. The venue also has more than 2,000sqm of exhibition space, as well as 2,500sqm of external tarmac courtyard areas, allowing events to be extended outdoors. There are 2,000 free parking spaces.
Getting there: York is less than two hours from London by train, and around two hours from Edinburgh. There are also direct services from Liverpool, Manchester, Birmingham and the South West. The nearest airport is Leeds/Bradford, which is around 50 minutes away by road.