Inside the Local Flavors of the UK

Sponsored content by Visit Britain

Author: Sarah Beauchamp       

When at a meeting in the U.K., attendees are always steps (or a short train ride) away from local restaurants and venues that are at the center of innovation or steeped in history. Whether you’re holding a private event in a historic manor, or a large congress in a seafront convention center, here are some of the most unique places to gather. And because delegates have to eat, here’s a look at some of the best local flavors. From legendary curry houses to Welsh lamb and fresh seaside fish and chips, the U.K. is full of culinary excellence.

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The Oyster Shack in Bigbury serves some of South Devon’s highly sought-after crab and seafood. (Sam Barker/Visit Britain)

DEVON

What to eat 

Devon is famous for its cream teas, which consist of tea with freshly baked scones smothered in clotted cream and finished with a dollop of homemade jam. Attendees can find the best cream teas at spots like Docton Mill Gardens & Tea Rooms in Hartland, North Devon and Nelly May’s Parlour in Ilfracombe. When delegates have had their fill of afternoon tea, they can sample South Devon’s highly sought-after crab and seafood. Some of the best places to enjoy fresh seafood in Devon include Teignmouth’s Crab Shack, where attendees can try the famous crab sandwich, Fatbelly Fred’s in Barnstaple, and the Oyster Shack in Bigbury.



Where to meet 

Located off the borough of Torquay’s seafront, the Riviera International Conference Centre is a purpose-built events and exhibition complex that includes three multi-functional conference halls, plus seven further rooms for meetings and breakouts for up to 40 attendees. For a more intimate setting, there’s Lympstone Manor, a historic Georgian manor house right off the banks of the River Exe Estuary, just 25 minutes from Exeter. Situated on 28 acres of gardens and parkland, the property has been transformed into a contemporary 21-bedroom country house hotel, restaurant, and vineyard, producing English sparkling wine. Delegates can enjoy private wine tastings hosted by experienced sommeliers, or dinner in the Michelin-starred restaurant.

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The Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in South Wales offers a unique selection of conference and event spaces.

SOUTH WALES 

What to eat 

Welsh lamb is so desirable, it has protected food status. One farm in particular that’s worth checking out: Gower Salt Marsh Lamb. Their Welsh lamb is distinctly flavored due to the unique environment in which the sheep graze, the Llanrhidian Marsh, making it highly sought after by chefs all over the world. South Wales is also a mecca for cheese lovers — from Caerphilly (a hard, crumbly white cheese) to Pembrokeshire Goat Cheese, a smooth brie from Cresselly, Pembrokeshire. Attendees can sample some of the local cheeses at Madam Fromage, which serves more than 150 cheese selections, in addition to slow-cooked Welsh comfort food.

Where to meet 

Overlooking the park surrounding Cardiff Castle, the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama offers a unique selection of conference and event spaces, including a concert hall that can accommodate up to 400 delegates, a 180-seat theater, plus 10 breakout and meeting rooms. There’s also a versatile exhibition gallery and a contemporary three-story glass-walled foyer that can accommodate up to 400 guests. To help make your event even more memorable, the venue can provide professional musicians or performance artists. For larger events, there’s ICC Wales. The new international convention center is less than two hours from London and offers more than 270,000 square feet of versatile meeting and event space set within fresh green woodland.

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P&J Live, Scotland’s newest and largest event complex, has more than 51,000 square feet of exhibition space and a 96,000-square-foot multi-purpose arena.

ABERDEEN, SCOTLAND 

What to eat 

Aberdeen — a port city in northeast Scotland — is known for its Highland Cattle, Scotland’s most iconic native breed of cattle, which is sought after worldwide. Local farms like the Highland Beef Farm in the heart of Deeside, Aberdeenshire, offer authentic Scottish experiences through pop-up butcherys, tastings, and tours. Attendees can wash down some of the local beef with the area’s famous whiskey, served at any of Aberdeen’s iconic distilleries, known as the “Secret Malts” of Aberdeenshire.

Where to meet

Step inside north Scotland’s newest and largest event complex: P&J Live. With more than 51,000 square feet of exhibition space and a 96,000-square-foot multi-purpose arena the venue has the capacity to host up to 10,000 delegates. For attendees’ convenience, there are two onsite hotels, including the 200-room Hilton and 150-room Aloft. For a more unconventional setting, there’s Elphinstone Hall at the University of Aberdeen which was built in 1930. This stunning venue — perfect for cocktail receptions or brainstorming breakfasts — offers delegates a unique culinary experience in a beautiful setting.

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The ICC Birmingham offers more than 150,000 square feet of meeting space. (Courtesy The ICC Birmingham)

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND

What to eat

Birmingham — the curry capital of the UK — is famous for its Balti Triangle, an area with nearly 100 curry houses. “Balti” is a dish made famous in the area of South East Birmingham in the mid-70s. Loosely based on home-style cooking, Balti is made of lamb or goat curry, cooked with garlic and onions, and served with naan instead of rice. The best spot to try this local favorite? The chefs at Adils, a long-standing Indian restaurant serving Kashmiri specialties, are often cited as pioneers of the dish.

Where to meet

One of the epicenters of Britain’s diversity, Birmingham offers a diverse mix of unique meeting venues. For instance, the ICC Birmingham, located in the heart of the city, offers more than 150,000 square feet of meeting space, including 10 conference halls and 10 executive meeting rooms. Opening in September 2020, in the center of Birmingham’s Knowledge District, is Eastside Rooms. The new purpose-built conference venue, which offers 14 new and modern meeting rooms and what will be Birmingham’s largest pillar-free ballroom, mixes new innovations with the county’s iconic industrial heritage.