On Location: London and Brighton

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

For a recent visit to London and Brighton, the itinerary included all the important must-do’s while still introducing lesser-known sights—including a tunnel under a train station.

But more on that in a minute.

First, what better way for your group to explore it all than in a fleet of cherry red minis? Off we flew to view all the downtown sights, with a special stop at the Tower of London to tour the Crown Jewels—some of which had been removed to ready them for the Coronation of King Charles on May 6. Our excellent DMC, 2B UK, provided a taste of the VIP access that’s available for incentive groups, including expedient private entry to the jewels exhibit. The Tower has a variety of ages-old spaces for events, and its staff is used to a quick turnaround from when the tours end and your banquet begins. (See info on all the Historic Royal Palaces venues here.) Also make memories with a private tour at The National Gallery, followed by a bespoke dinner at Ochre. The landmark gallery is undergoing a major makeover ahead of its bicentenary celebrations in 2024.

LondonA guided walking tour took us to some the city’s shop-till-you-drop addresses, from Oxford Street to Bond Street to Saville Row, but the real finds were on smaller cobblestone alleys with independent shops selling trend-forward home goods and clothing, and lined with ethnic restaurants (including a stop at a Georgian bakery).

Our home base—the luxe Hyatt Regency London-The Churchill, with 390 bedrooms and 50 suites and 11 meeting spaces totaling 7,761 sq. ft.—is walkable to all of this. This refined, authentically British hotel channels Winston Churchill at every turn, especially at the award-winning Churchill Bar, known for its imported Cuban cigars and fine whisky (both favorites of the legendary Prime Minister).

Hyatt Regency London-The Churchill

A couple of the week’s highlights were far less-traveled spots: The Burough Market, with dozens of butchers, fishmongers, farmers, cheesemakers and specialty food stalls—the perfect place to sample a sausage roll or Scotch egg. Another was the Leake Street Arches, beneath Waterloo Station (known as the “Banksy tunnel”), where you can watch the street artists at work. A visit to the ultimate hipster neighborhood, King’s Cross, is well worth it, with its dozens of trendy restaurants and eateries set in gentrified mill buildings along a canal, and pedestrian-friendly walkways dotted with gardens and public art installations.

From London, it was on to the seaside city of Brighton, less than a two-hour drive, and Meeting Professionals International’s European Meetings and Events Conference (EMEC) at the Hilton Brighton Metropole. The Grand, our host hotel, is steeped in tradition, including an award-winning afternoon tea, and with a variety of styles of meeting rooms, the largest accommodating 600 banquet-style.

Leake Street Arches

Both properties sit right next to each other on Kings Road, the main boulevard overlooking the beach, and just steps away from the famous Brighton Palace Pier and the i360, a sightseeing glass “donut” that takes riders 450 feet up for sweeping views of the ocean and city. Groups can combine an event using its indoor and outdoor function spaces with a spin on the pod.

Also just a short walk away is the city’s charming shopping district, The Lanes, known for its independent shops set in charming buildings along endless, winding alleys. For the perfect group outing, a short drive into the stunning Sussex countryside takes you to the Ridgeview Wine Estate, which has led the English sparkling wine revolution, and is one of only 25 wineries in the world to be a certified B Corp.

Brighton Palace Banqueting Room

Brighton is home to its own palace, the Royal Pavilion and Gardens, ideal for high-end group events. No matter how well-traveled your incentive qualifiers might be, they’ve never seen anything quite like it. The home of King George IV, famous for his over-indulgence on many fronts, it has a spectacular Indian profile, with minarets, domes and towers—but with an elaborate interior design that draws its inspiration from China. A couple of intimate spaces, are available for events, including the Red Drawing Room, where the King’s female guests would retire following the lavish dinners he was known for hosting.

VisitEngland Can Help

Did you know that VisitBritain has a Business Events Growth Program, a dedicated fund for attracting and growing international business events that align with various industry sectors (healthcare, medical, life sciences, technology, finance, renewable energy and advanced engineering and manufacturing)? The program’s services range from helping to grow delegate attendance to targeted communications and promotion to relevant stakeholders and business ecosystems.

In 2022-23, this program supported 30 approved applications for events in 13 cities across Britain, including the Chatbot Summit in London.

“Many cities have established ambassador or sector leader programs to attract and support business events to their region in their sector areas strengths and those in development,” said Paul Black, Head of Business Events, VisitBritain/VisitEngland. “This provides international organizers strong access to speakers, potential sponsors, attendees and start-ups. Working with cities on a strategic level, VisitBritain also supports planners with information to make more sustainable choices, from venue choice, access to local suppliers, and transport advice to introductions to leading consultants and support with measurement tools.”

For More Information


London Convention Bureau






Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Previous articleLA Incentives: Hotel Stays Turned Mini Getaways
Next article20 Planner Podcasts to Boost Your Business Savvy
Barbara Scofidio is Editor of Prevue and heads up the Visionary Summits, our exclusive conference series targeting senior-level meeting and incentive planners. In her 30 years in the industry, she has become known for her passion around greening meetings, growing awareness of human trafficking and promoting CSR activities as part of business events. She is currently a member of SITE's Women IN Leadership committee and the media liaison for FICP's Education Committee. She was the first member of the media ever to be invited to sit on a committee by GBTA, where she spent three years on the Groups and Meetings Committee. She has also been an active member of SITE for 30 years, chairing its Crystal Awards committee and acting as a judge. Before joining Prevue in 2014, she served as Editor of Corporate Meetings & Incentives (MeetingsNet) for more than 20 years. She has a BA in Literature/Rhetoric from Binghamton University. Barbara is based outside Boston, in Groton, Mass.