From Berwick-upon-Tweed right down to Cleethorpes, or Totley to the Kielder Forest, the North East of England is a diverse area. One where castles coexist with ports, petrochemicals, former woollen mills, moorland, picturesque villages and traditional seaside resorts.
It is well connected by road and rail with Manchester and London. There are links to mainland Europe with ferries from Newcastle-upon-Tyne to IJmuiden, and Kingston-upon-Hull to Rotterdam or Zeebrugge. Transpennine Express rail services connect Liverpool and Manchester with Sheffield, Cleethorpes, Hull, Leeds, York, Scarborough, Middlesbrough and Newcastle. As for the number of iconic conference venues, quite a great amount.
Around Leeds and Harrogate, there is the First Direct Arena and the Harrogate International Centre. The former opened in July 2013, seating 13,000 people with 'super theatre' style seating. There is a number of conference rooms and bars. Among Yorkshire's most established purpose built conference venues is the Harrogate International Centre. It opened in 1982 with one of its earliest events being the 1982 Eurovision Song Contest. It now adjoins the restored Royal Hall.
Harrogate's rise in popularity came courtesy of its spa water. That is also true of Scarborough, where the Scarborough Spa Complex plays host to classical music concerts, live theatre and performing arts. It has a number of rooms and an outdoor arena, which often sees classical music concerts. In the northern part of the resort, is the Northstead Manor Gardens and Open Air Theatre. Restoration work on its open air theatre has seen renewed popularity of this venue, particularly with live performance.
Sheffield has a number of first class conference venues including the City Hall, its universities and the Motorpoint Arena. The city's Lyceum, Studio and Crucible theatres can accommodate anyone from two to 1,000 delegates, with functions ranging from trade fairs to conferences, and the World Snooker Championships at the Crucible.
If your ideal conference venue has historical leanings, the centre of York is a fantastic place to start. As well as a wealth of hotels, why not consider hosting your event at the National Railway Museum or York Minster? In and around the historical city is a number of smaller and unique venues like the Merchant Taylors' Hall, and the National Centre for Early Music.
Throughout North East England, there's no shortage of historic buildings with Northumberland having more castles than any other county in England. Within the same county is Holy Island, once a place of pilgrimage with Lindisfarne accessed by a causeway at low tide. Durham Cathedral, Castle Howard and Harewood House make for most inspiring conference venues.
As for rural venues, there is no shortage of them throughout the North East of England. Its most southerly point takes in the Peak National Park whereas the North Yorkshire Moors, Yorkshire Dales and Northumberland National Parks are well within its boundaries. There are pubs, stately homes and castles galore, some of which with golf courses, health spas and picturesque grounds.
Of equal abundance is North East England's range of urban conference venues, some of which refurbished long after their original use had ceased. Gateshead's former town hall is part of the SAGE Gateshead complex. The Baltic - formerly flour mills - is also available for hire, with one level of its six storey building available as a conference venue. A former comprehensive school on the outskirts of Middlesbrough is today's MTLC, the Middlesbrough Teaching and Learning Centre.
There is also no shortage of sporting venues which make for good conference venues either. Most of the area's football stadia from St. James' Park to the KC Stadium, The John Smiths Stadium and Bramall Lane boast banqueting facilities. It is possible to watch cricket or rugby league and have a conference in style at Headingley.
With scenery to die for and excellent accessibility by road, rail, air and sea, the North East of England is an excellent area to hold a conference. There is also no shortage of academic institutions, hotels and other accommodation options to suit all types of delegates.