Unusual meeting and event spaces in the South West

Looking for an alternative venue for your next business meeting or event? Here are some quirky options that are bound to impress colleagues or clients

Unusual meeting spaces: Brunel's SS Great Britain

Venue Assembly Rooms

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Bennett Street, Bath
What’s unusual? The Assembly Rooms were purpose built in 1769 by architect John Wood the Younger – and fast became a popular hotspot among fashionable Georgian society. The four rooms – the Great Octagon, Tea Room, Ballroom and Card Room – can now be hired for conferences, meetings, dinners and exhibitions. The largest room, the Ballroom, seats 500 people in theatre style, while the Card Room is suitable for smaller events of up to 30 people. There is also a small, formal garden which is used for drinks receptions.

Unusual meeting spaces: Assembly Rooms in Bath
Assembly Rooms

Venue Brunel’s SS Great Britain

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Where Great Western Dockyard, Gas Ferry Road, Bristol
What’s unusual? Designed by nineteenth-century engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel, the SS Great Britain was launched in 1843 and was called the “greatest experiment since the creation”. The ship, which was abandoned in the Falkland Islands in 1933, was recovered in 1970 and now lies in the heart of Bristol harbourside. There are a range of areas to hire including the Weather Deck, which can accommodate a reception of up to 150 people, the Great Eastern Hall, which can seat 250, and smaller spaces including various boardrooms and the First Class Dining Saloon, which accommodates 160 for a sit-down meal.

Unusual meeting spaces: Brunel's SS Great Britain
Brunel’s SS Great Britain

Venue Thermae Bath Spa

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Where The Hetling Pump Room, Hot Bath Street, Bath
What’s unusual? First discovered in around 863BC, Bath’s famous spa is Britain’s only naturally heated thermal spring. The main spa, New Royal Bath, has a roof-top pool with stunning views across the city and is suitable for groups (there are discounts for parties of eight to 12 people), while the Cross Bath is an open-air pool, which can be hired exclusively for a small gathering of up to 12 people. If you’re in need of a bite after all the relaxation, there is a café-restaurant on site, or Cross Bath visitors can request light snacks and drinks, including wine and champagne, to be organised by the on-site catering team.

Unusual meeting spaces: Thermae Bath Spa
Thermae Bath Spa

Venue Bristol Zoo

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Where College Road, Bristol
What’s unusual? Home to over 400 species of exotic and endangered animals, Bristol Zoo Gardens is the fifth-oldest zoo in the world. Built in the 1920s, the Clifton Pavilion sits within the zoo’s 12-acre grounds and can be hired out for events of up to 120 people. The pavilion has a large ballroom, small boardroom-style spaces and a lecture theatre. The whole zoo gardens can also be hired out in the evening – and guests are able to have private viewings of the animal enclosures. The zoo also offers a range of activities including zooropia – a high-ropes course through
the trees – and close-up animal encounters.

Unusual meeting spaces: Bristol Zoo
Bristol Zoo


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