In conversation with Raymond Blanc: The Michelin-Starred Chef Shares His Catering Secrets

London’s catering and events community gather annually for SquareMeal’s Venues & Events Live – to showcase, share and speak about the best and latest in the industry.

This year there was edible smoke (!) talks from famous chefs and cutting-edge marketeers and, most importantly, there was us. Prestige Venues & Events collaborated with Raymond Blanc OBE and The RHS to present Jardin Blanc – a gorgeous secret garden restaurant for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2018.

Launching Jardin Blanc, now in its third year, Raymond Blanc gave a live interview in front of an eager audience. Here, we share Raymond’s passion, his take on the events industry and some insider knowledge on Jardin Blanc 2018.

A MOVE FROM RESTAURANTS TO EVENTS…

Raymond’s work in the events world stems all the way back to his early days at Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, his two Michelin starred restaurant and hotel in leafy Oxfordshire. When a client – be it corporate or private – hosts an event at Le Manoir, Raymond and his team are deeply involved in the details (calling himself a curator, rather than a manager). He takes his guests’ enjoyment very very seriously, and the team love hosting these intimate lunches, dinners, weddings and corporate events throughout the year.

This feeling of intimacy and personalisation is something Raymond Blanc’s team undoubtedly bring to the RHS Chelsea Flower Show.

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A peek inside Jardin Blanc at RHS Chelsea Flower Show

HIGH QUALITY, UP-SCALED

Raymond suggests that high quality hospitality is about knowing your guests, working with enthusiasm and, of course, an exceedingly capable team.

“At Jardin Blanc, guests are looking for so much more than just good catering, they want an experience. Guests no longer want a corporate environment, they want joy, fun, to feel well – and, alongside this, a better business environment, a social space where networking is a pleasure.

To make an operation like Jardin Blanc flourish you need to have a great team and a great plan. Every detail is critical to ensure the guest feels happy at every level. Your team need to be specialists and this comes from training – invest in your people if you want them to be completely confident, instil faith in the project and faith in themselves.”

Raymond also mentioned his partners – the RHS and Prestige Venues & Events – stating that each party brings something to the table, making the event bolder and better. Each are a great sources of support, with strong, matching values of ‘responsible luxury’.

FOOD TRENDS: TO LEAD OR FOLLOW

Raymond errs on the side of style rather than fashion.  With the ambition of creating modern classics, Raymond does, however, listen to modern guests’ changing wants and needs. Plus, there’s practicality too: for example, finger foods help guests move around whilst eating, creating a more convivial environment, whilst sharing dishes prompt interaction between guests at the table – providing a point of discussion for those who may never have met before.

Raymond wants the food at Jardin Blanc to enrich the experience, to give guests the adventure of tasting something they’ve never tried before.  This sense of childlike wonder extends to the entertainment too: “We have beautiful bars, sculptures, gardens, music, champagne and even garden swings for taking in the afternoon sun. And the dining rooms are tailored to a client who is looking for a beautiful yet relaxing space, forgetting the stress of everyday and bringing small delights throughout.”

“It’s a micro climate,” Raymond says, “a haven in Chelsea.”

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For more infomation on Jardin Blanc and their new packages for 2018, click here: https://www.rhs.org.uk/shows-events/rhs-chelsea-flower-show/Food-drink/Jardin-Blanc

Be heard. A guide to auditoriums.

Get your message across with drama, clarity and focus with our wide range of auditoria. We can provide auditoria in spectacular settings: from gardens, galleries and museums, to sports stadia and innovative new buildings. With the addition of Peyton Events, there are also a number of central London venues boasting lecture theatres in places you wouldn’t expect…

All of our auditoriums are equipped with state-of-the-art technology and facilities that help ensure a high-quality experience for delegates.  However, these facilities should not be limited to presentations, conferences and lectures – auditoria are ideal for awards ceremonies, exhibitions and product launches too.

So here is a quick round up of all things auditoria. And, we’ve even included a few quirky facts about each of our venues too!

The Apex, Bury St Edmunds

The auditoria in The Apex, Bury St Edmunds, is incredibly versatile and boasts an award winning floor design which can be arranged in rising tiers like a lecture theatre (516) or hidden under the floor for a large, flat space which can take 270 for a gala dinner. It also has 3 studios for smaller meetings or break-out sessions and there is a secret door (called the ‘Narnia Door’ by staff) that allows stars such as Brian May and Joan Collins private access to the venue.

 

The Crystal

The Crystal, London, is the capital’s most sustainable events venue, located at London’s Royal Victoria Docks. A striking red sphere at the heart of the building houses the 270 capacity modern auditorium which boasts high ceilings and views of the Thames and Canary Wharf. Guests enter the space through a breath-taking, glass lobby area and by visiting the Crystal Exhibition it adds a totally different dimension to any event being held in the auditoria.

 

Hampden Park, Glasgow

Located within the BT South Stand, the auditorium at Hampden Park, Glasgow, seats a generous 250 guests and is renowned for its excellent acoustics. It’s fully equipped with two large projection screens, variable lighting and air-conditioning as well as a soundproof booth, the latest AV and technicians on site to help with any aspect of an event. Recently, it was transformed into a spectacular designer catwalk for a wedding show! 

 

The Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh

The newly refurbished lecture theatre at the Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh, can accommodate up to 240 guests. This light and airy room with a stunning octagonal ceiling also has amazing acoustics and highly sophisticated audio-visual and lighting facilities. Combined with use of the auditoria delegates often complete treasure hunts in the garden and enjoy BBQ’s in the summer months.

 

The National Museum of Scotland

The National Museum of Scotland recently celebrated its 150th anniversary and completed a £14m restoration of the Grade A listed building. Its 200 seat auditorium boasts a full suite of audio visual equipment and hire includes exclusive use of the South Hall Gallery and Events Space – offering convenient spaces for breakout sessions, catering and exhibitions.

NatMuseum Auditorium high res

 

Southampton Solent Conference Centre

The mysterious red orb at the centre of Southampton Solent Conference Centre is, in fact, a lecture theatre! One of five lecture rooms, alongside 35 classrooms, The Spark has a combined teaching capacity of 1,500 at any one time and is equipped with all the modern gadgetry needed to create an interactive and compelling presentation, every time.

 

Iconic London Venues, as part of Peyton Events

The IWM London

The IWM, once Royal Bethlem Hospital, boasts a beautiful Grade II listed exterior. It’s now a hugely successful visitor attraction and event venue. With a cinema complete with Dolby digital surround sound and a flat floor – allowing total flexibility for any event – and an adjacent foyer, perfect for refreshments..

The National Gallery

The National Gallery houses one of the greatest collections of Western European painting in the world, spanning a period of 700 years. Designed by architects, Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown, the recently extended Sainsbury Wing offers a modern and sleek entrance and facilities, with four contemporary conference rooms which can be hired individually or combined, as well as a lecture theatre which seats a mighty 328 people. Its mosaic floor on the terrace (also available for receptions and dinners) depicts Greek muses based on celebrities of the day, including Greta Garbo, Virginia Woolf and Sir Winston Churchill.

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The National Gallery, London

The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, located in fashionable Marylebone, houses The Wallace’s lecture theatre and seats 150 for intimate presentations. The AV is state-of- the- art, being updated in 2015 to include surround sound, and it’s fully accessible with step-free access and an induction loop for the hard of hearing. Ornate frames are hung in the lecture theatre and are considered to be works of art in their own right as they used to house masterpieces of the collection, including the iconic Laughing Cavalier.

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For further information about all of our Auditoria visit our Meetings & Conferences page here: https://www.prestigevenuesandevents.sodexo.com/occasions/meetings-conferences

Arabian Nights at Southampton Solent Conference Centre

Southampton Solent pulled out all the stops (there were camels!) on the 7th September to deliver a themed, Arabian Nights event at The Spark, celebrating their fantastic first year as an events venue.

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Arabian Nights at Southampton Solent Conference Centre

The entrance was decorated in a traditional Moroccan style, with majlis, embroidered rugs and staff dressed in exotic and colourful outfits. Many clients and customers, including couples who were married at SSU in the last year, were welcomed back to the venue to celebrate and share their personal experiences. Canapes and drinks were served upon arrival and guests were greeted with goodie bags and raffle tickets once seated

An array of entertainment was available; including a henna stand, a fancy dress booth, a cocktail bar, a Disco DJ and an Arabian dancer. But, making a real star appearance was a friendly faux camel.

Street food was served by a Gordon Ramsey lookalike from decorated stands, offering a selection of curries, salads and khoubz. A variety of rich cakes, flaky pastries and sticky sweets came after.  Upon request, the head chef even sourced some traditional Kunafa (a Middle Eastern dessert made with cheese pastry soaked in sweet, sugar-based syrup) for guests to try.

After dinner, guests were whisked away to a different climate altogether – the Tea Bar at the top of The Spark. Fortunes were told, ornate Moroccan outfits were tried and queues of nostalgic, sweet-toothed individuals formed by the candy-coloured pick ‘n’ mix.

For us, the event highlighted yet another great use for this very modern and versatile space. With Southampton Solent Conference Centre the options are endless, with an on-site team that are efficient, approachable and eager to try new things.

To learn more about this venue visit our website https://www.prestigevenuesandevents.sodexo.com/venues/southampton-solent-university-conference-centre or call the central enquiry hub on 0845 6055 699, or email Venues&Events.Prestige.UK@Sodexo.com

Festive fun (& fundraising) at Newcastle United

Our colleagues at Newcastle United are busy preparing for their second Festive Fayre in support of a local children’s charity.

The event, which is due to take place over the weekend of 11 and 12 November, will build on the success of last year’s event and feature around 100 stalls selling a selection of handcrafted gifts, novelties, outdoor decorations, festive food, live cookery demonstrations and Christmas gift ideas for the whole family.

Santa will be on dropping in to meet young visitors too! Plus there will be live music and entertainment throughout the weekend.

Frankie Angus, general manager at St James Park said: “Our annual festive fayre will give shoppers the chance to pick up gifts, browse some fantastic Christmas decorations and ornaments and, of course, there will be entertainment throughout the weekend to get everyone into the festive spirit.”

Monty Maggie Festive Fayre

Come meet Monty & Maggie Magpie!

The event will support Metro Radio’s Cash for Kids charity, which supports disabled and disadvantaged children aged up to 18 in the North East. Visitors will be encouraged to donate gifts to the charity’s Mission Christmas appeal, which aims to give all children the chance to wake up to a gift on Christmas morning.

Anyone donating a gift on the weekend will have the chance to go pitch-side and have their photo taken with the Cash for Kids’ mascot Courage the Cat along with NUFC’s Monty and Maggie, while the kids can enjoy a free face paint.

Frankie added “We are extremely proud to once again be supporting Metro Radio’s Cash for Kids as they launch the Mission Christmas appeal. Last year we managed to collect 355 gifts, so this time we’d like to surpass that total. We will be encouraging everyone who comes along to bring a gift, so we can do our bit to improve Christmas for those youngsters in our region who really need it.”

The 2017 Festive Fayre will be held at St James’ Park on Saturday 11 and Sunday 12 November from 10am-5pm each day. Admission will be £3 in advance per person and £5 on the door. To buy advance tickets call the events team on 0191 201 8535 or email candb@nufc.co.uk

 

 

 

Who’s behind the mask? A festive Masquerade Ball at Hampden Park

Masquerade balls first took place in the 15th century and were held as part of pageants, processions, marriages and other events of late medieval court life. They were originally held for members of the upper classes but eventually extended into public, costumed carnivals  in Italy during the  Renaissance (16th century).

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Masked revellers at the Venice Carnivale

Over the years and centuries Masquerade balls have turned into highly entertaining events as guests try to guess the identity of the person behind the mask. The theme proves popular today with the mystical disguises becoming even more elaborate. They also feature in lots of high profile romance novels, TV programmes, movies and theatre productions. Who doesn’t know or love The Phantom of the Opera?

This year Hampden Park is embracing the Masquerade Ball and encouraging all guests to join in the fun by wearing their own mask (the more elaborate the better!) to their special party nights. There is of course a bottle of fizz for the best mask on the night. The special themed events take place on various dates throughout December, as well as a special lunch event on the 22nd December. Packages include a festive cocktail reception, three course meal, festive novelties and music until the early hours.

In total contrast the venue will also be hosting Christmas Curry Karaoke Party nights on selected dates throughout the festive season.  A two course, curry themed buffet will be followed by music, dancing and of course Karaoke – which tune will you be singing along to?

To learn more about our #trulymagicalChristmas offers, see our brochure here.

For further information about Christmas experiences at Hampden Park visit our website at www.prestigevenuesandevents.sodexo.com or call the central enquiry hub on 0845 6055 699, or email Venues&Events.Prestige.UK@Sodexo.com

Spice it up: Christmas at Knebworth House

Christmas is all about tradition and, it just so happens that, curry is the traditional, British dish Knebworth House fancy for their dinner.

Curry has been popular in the UK since the days of the British Empire, signifying the imagined glamour of the Raj. Many of the Indian curries we enjoy today are modified versions of an original: made milder for British palates, adjusted in terms of the ingredients available and made with a few odd alternations along the way (that yielded delicious results!). Curry is now a fundamentally British dish, representative of a meeting of cultures, colours and flavours.

Curry and Christmas are meeting in perfect harmony this year in Knebworth House’s Cobbold Barn. Diners are invited to indulge in a two-course Indian curry buffet, followed by traditional celebrations, a DJ and dancing – oh, and a late night bar to accompany the dancing… it’s only right.

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The menu offers a well-curated selection of dishes, giving guests a choice between hot and mild, meat and vegetarian. This includes chicken tikka masala, chickpea, spinach and tomato curry, saffron rice, tarka dhal, naan bread, poppadums and pickles, with a dessert of mouth-watering mango cheesecake.

However, if you fancy a classic Christmas, Knebworth House are offering a scrumptious, old fashioned turkey dinner. Expect a perfected roast from one of the most historic venues in England.

Knebworth Xmas

Hosted in the Cobbold Barn, guests can indulge in three-course meal of aubergine or smoked salmon cannelloni followed by roast turkey with potato fondant, or roasted root vegetables and a red wine jus for veggies, Christmas pudding cheesecake and coffee.

The Cobbold Barn is named after current residents of Knebworth House, the Lytton-Cobbolds, whose family have lived in there for an astounding nineteen generations! Though, the Barn itself has been around for a much shorter length of time, it is a contemporary build, with a beautiful oak structure and opens onto a private garden.

Likewise, a traditional turkey dinner will be served under Knebworth’s spectacular, star-clothed marquee as part of their Christmas in Central Park package. Available for private bookings of 250 persons or more, your party-guests can dine and dance in luxury. The night will feature a three-course meal, table crackers, karaoke and a late bar and disco (running until 1am the next morning).

No matter which tradition you choose to celebrate at Christmas, you are certain to have a unique time at Knebworth House. Also… who doesn’t love tikka and turkey?

For more information on our Christmas packages, see our #trulymagicalChristmas brochure here

Christmas Curry Nights are available on Wednesday 6th, 13th and 20th December 2017.
A Cobbold Christmas is available throughout December for both lunch and dinner.
Christmas in Central Park exclusive hire is available from Sunday to Wednesday in December.
On Sunday 3th, 10th and 17th December Santa Claus will be paying pre-Christmas visits to families enjoying lunch at Knebworth Barns, bringing a gift for every child.

 

A Scottish celebration: the history of Hogmanay

As the year draws to a close all eyes are on Scotland and her festivities, and for good reason. Scotland’s notorious New Year celebrations are better known as Hogmanay: for three days, revellers celebrate with street festivals, parties, and fireworks. Join us in looking at the holiday’s origins, traditions and where they apply to modern-day events and venues.

The celebration of Hogmanay allegedly dates back to the Vikings. However, in the 16th Century it gained further importance due to a religious dispute that resulted in Christmas being banned across Scotland. And it continued to be banned for 400 years! Since Christmas was no longer a national holiday, everyone was expected to work through the season and took time off to celebrate New Year instead. Though the ban was lifted in the 1950s, Hogmanay remains a key cultural festival today.

Hogmanay customs differ between regions, within families and friendship groups – some traditions being passed down from generation to generation. One custom you might have heard of is ‘first-footing’, which refers to the ‘first foot’ in the house after midnight on New Year’s Day. The visitor determines the household’s fortune for the year, and it’s customary to bring gifts for good luck. Other Hogmanay customs include cleaning the house to ward off bad spirits, and – of course – singing Robert Burns’ classic, Auld Lang Syne.

Traditionally, Hogmanay is celebrated from 31st December to 2nd January. Luckily, our Scottish venues cater for the entire Christmas season.

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Aberdeen FC in the snow

First up, our Scottish stadiums. You’re promised a party to remember at Aberdeen Football Club. The club is available from November to January for a range of events – from festive gatherings to private dinners to a festive drive-in cinema, showing family friendly rib-ticklers like The Grinch, Elf and The Muppet Christmas Carol. Over in Glasgow, Hampden Park Stadium is hosting masquerade balls and karaoke parties throughout the festive season, including their signature sparkly dance-floor.

It’s undeniably Scottish to share your celebrations with as many loved ones as possible (the more the merrier was never more applicable), and two of our venues have taken this sentiment to heart with their shared parties. In the capital, Edinburgh Corn Exchange invites revellers to join over 850 guests for one of the capital’s biggest parties. This includes a three-course dinner and live entertainment. Hamilton Park Racecourse in South Lanarkshire are also offering shared parties in dates throughout November, December, and even one post-Hogmanay date in January, so you can continue celebrating into 2018. Highlights at the racecourse include their inaugural party quiz, so get your Hogmanay-themed team names ready.

For private events, there’s nothing more magical than a real Scottish castle. Dundas Castle is available for exclusive-use hire throughout December and January. With 17th Century opulence, 5-star service and quintessentially Scottish features, Dundas Castle is perfect for an unforgettable party.

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The beautiful Dundas Castle in the snow

Looking for a traditional Hogmanay celebration on the day itself? Book with Perth Racecourse for their Ultimate Hogmanay Party on 31st December. Highlights include a traditional buffet, ceilidh, and a live piper while the midnight bells ring. Meanwhile in Edinburgh, the Royal Botanic Garden will be holding Hogmanay Dinners on various dates in December. The dinner includes a five-course banquet, after-dinner dancing, and a midnight toast with a view of the fireworks over Edinburgh Castle.

And – if you’re looking to hold a conference before Hogmanay, this year the Assembly Rooms Edinburgh is offering an exclusive day delegate package throughout December, including mulled wine and mince pies, because all work and no play…

However you’re planning to ring in the New Year, Scotland promises the world’s best celebrations, with fun, flair and a few drams of whiskey. We couldn’t possibly be anywhere else.

For more information on our Hogmanay,  Christmas and other seasonal packages, see our brochure here

For more information on Prestige Venues & Events packages call the central enquiry hub on 0845 6055 699, or email Venues&Events.Prestige.UK@Sodexo.com

Top Tips for Planning your Big Day

Today we want to focus on those happy couples in the midst of their planning processes. Whether you’re steadily crossing things off a to-do list, or you haven’t a clue where to start, we’ve taken advantage of our sizeable black book to find out how the best in the business manage the task.

We called on an expert – Jenny Marks, owner of events company, Complete Bliss. Jenny’s wedding planning expertise is highly sought after across the UK. With years of experience planning all manner of events, she’s the safest pair of hands you can imagine.

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Jenny Marks, Complete Bliss

Jenny took a break from her unfathomably busy wedding-season schedule to share five useful tips she always gives her clients.

1.Don’t get bamboozled. With photo-sharing apps at our fingertips 24/7 it’s easy to get overwhelmed with ideas and opinions. Rather than trying to crowbar everything you’ve ever seen on Pinterest into one marquee, Jenny advises couples to take a step back. Focus on the most important things you both want from your day. Once you’ve established your priorities, trust that the wedding vision will fall into place.

2.Be ready for your close-up. Whether you’re camera shy or snap happy, preparation is key when it comes to your wedding photographs. Even if your photographer has shot weddings at your venue previously, it’s a really good idea to meet them at the venue prior to yours. Scope out the best spots together. You’ll be on the same page and save lots of time on the day.

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Knebworth House

3.Don’t be afraid to delegate. Your venue team will be on hand, but your nearest and dearest will be very eager to pitch in too. From helping guests find their seats to picking up flowers at the end of the night, all extra pairs of hands are invaluable. In Jenny’s experience, your wedding party love being given a job to do – it makes them feel important, and they’ll love knowing they’re helping you relax and enjoy the day.

4.Eat breakfast. Even if you’re not hungry. And remember to rehydrate at every opportunity – water, not champagne!

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5.Time flies when you’re the main event. With so many of your loved ones together in one place, it’s easier than you might think to say your vows and then lose track of your new legally-wedded partner until the first dance. When scheduling your day, Jenny recommends couples put aside 15 minutes in the middle of the day just for the two of you – by yourselves – just to bask in the moment together. She promises you’ll be glad you did.

You can find Jenny at Complete Bliss (http://www.completebliss.net/).

To enquire about Prestige Venues & Events portfolio of wedding venues please visit our website at www.prestigevenuesandevents.sodexo.com or call the central enquiry hub on 0845 6055 699, or email Venues&Events.Prestige.UK@Sodexo.com

Cooking back at The Open with chef Malcolm Emery

Malcolm Emery is no ordinary chef. With a glamorous career that includes catering the country’s most impressive venues and events; to drop a few names: Windsor Castle, Hampton Court Palace, the Lord Mayor’s Banquet and Buckingham Palace’s Garden Parties. It is nevertheless his incredible length of service at The Open golf championship (a whopping 42 years!) which Malcolm credits as the most defining aspect of his working-life to date.

Malcolm Emery

Principal Chef, Malcolm Emery

Since his first Open in 1975, Malcolm has seen the competition change dramatically, witnessing its incredible growth first hand. One of the key challenges and pleasures in his preparation for The Open is the event’s annually changing location. Whilst other Sodexo hospitality events – such as Royal Ascot and Henley Royal Regatta – are held in the same location each year, The Open is a somewhat nomadic championship. Each location presents its own unique set of surprises, of which Malcom and his team have unfailingly overcome via working in temporary structures and managing the logistics of delivering supplies to the middle of a course.

Malcolm, most recently, was instrumental in overseeing the opening of The Champions Club restaurant. The Club includes roaming waiters offering a selection of pre-lunch canapés, chefs serving a variety of bistro style classics and savoury snacks from a central station and a quirky, centrepiece garden with large bar area. The experience allows guests to enjoy the luxuries of fine food and flexibility, as they are able to drop in at any time rather than having to book.

Planning is a crucial consideration at The Open, with 700 covers being served each day, innovation and quality are of paramount importance. A different menu is presented each day, including everything from a full Scottish breakfast to a five-course lunch and afternoon tea. The key to Malcolm’s success is his enthusiasm to discover new recipes, the best local fare and new ways of food preparation, a pursuit which involves participating in food innovation tours and study groups as well as working closely with his supply team.

The last 42 years have seen The Open and its culinary offerings evolve in leaps and bounds. And one thing is certain; whether at this internationally renowned sporting event, or at any number of other beautiful venues, with Malcolm at the helm, the catering is sure to score a hole in one.

For further details on Hospitality at The Open, go to https://www.theopen.com/  or contact Sodexo Prestige Venues & Events on 0845 6055 699 or email Venues&Events.Prestige.UK@Sodexo.com

Scots & English unite at Hadrian’s Wall

A wall, built by the Romans to protect England from the Scots, has brought the two nations together – and will form the focal point at a North East wedding.

Newcastle University students Stuart Brown and Fran Lalor fell in love while taking part in an archaeological dig at Hadrian’s Wall. Now the pair are preparing to tie the knot next to a giant model of the structure at Newcastle’s Great North Museum: Hancock.

The happy couple at another of their favourite sites, the Inca Trail, Machu Picchu

The couple (who now live in Manchester) will travel north for their wedding, where they’ll exchange their vows facing a 1:4700 scale model of the 73-mile long wall, built to serve as the northern frontier of the mighty Roman Empire.

The groom, Stuart, whose mother’s family are from Scotland, will wear his kilt for the ceremony, which will be attended by around 15 close family members and friends, in November.

Hadrian's Wall near sunset at Walltown

Hadrian’s Wall, a World Heritage Site in the beautiful Northumberland National Park.

The pair met while taking part in a two week dig at the wall’s Birdoswald fort during a summer break in their Ancient History and Archaeology honours degree course at Newcastle University, “so it really means a lot to us,” said bride, Fran.

“We have great memories of studying in Newcastle and, of course, of The Wall, so it’s great to be holding our wedding in a venue which unites those two places.”

The Great North Museum’s interactive model of the Wall, its forts and milecastles, forms the centrepiece of a gallery and, quite significantly, houses the gold Aemelia Ring – believed to be one of the earliest Christian artefacts found in Britain, with this romantic symbolism making their wedding at GNM:H very special indeed.

For further information about holding weddings at Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums’ venues, call 0844 856 1074, e-mail events@twmuseums.co.uk or visit www.prestigevenuesandevents.sodexo.com.

Al Fresco Yoga at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh

By midsummer, our thoughts (and meal plans) revolve around long balmy evenings, bright summer mornings and al fresco dining.

And so – with this in mind – The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh have embraced sunshine, sustenance and… serenity with their summer series of Yoga Breakfasts.

The first in a series of three took place last weekend overlooking RBGE’s beautiful biodiversity pond and gardens; the sessions are hosted outdoors, on the peaceful and newly refurbished terrace of the John Hope Gateway Restaurant.

The classes have been created in partnership with world-renowned athletic apparel brand, lululemon, from whom we’ve borrowed expert Hatha yoga educator, Pam Echiverria. Hatha yoga focuses on strength, flexibility and breathing, boosting physical and mental wellbeing, and so supports Sodexo’s ethos of improving quality of life.

After a good stretch and gentle meditation, guests indulged in a healthy breakfast. Hosted in the refreshed Gateway Restaurant, the menus included ingredients from RBGE’s very own market-garden, a ¾ acre vegetable plot within the grounds. Their full time gardener grows produce for all catering operations throughout the site and works closely with the team to ensure the finest and freshest ingredients are included in the dishes.

The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh Yoga Breakfasts are the perfect way to use this new space, to explore and experience the restaurant and gardens it in a way it’s never been experienced before.

Click here to learn more about the Yoga Breakfasts at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh.

For more summer event options check out our summer brochure too!

Or contact us on 0845 6055 699, or email Venues&Events.Prestige.UK@Sodexo.com or visit www.prestigevenuesandevents.sodexo.com.

A Night at The Museum: team building & treasure hunts at IWM London

Team-building activities at IWM London are all about exploration and innovation.

Offered as part of the Day Delegate Package and for those booking an evening dinner or reception, The Imperial War Museum now offers an interactive treasure hunt to corporate clients! Peyton Events – who manage conferencing and banqueting at IWM London – worked with entertainment specialists, Wildgoose, to develop the experience. The trail is great fun, a greater challenge and makes the most of IWM’s fantastic and fascinating exhibitions: allowing participants engage with stories surrounding war in a unique and exciting way.

Showcased in April, guests were split into different teams and each team was given a tablet loaded with challenges and a map. They then navigated around the game-screen unlocking a series of rooms, answering questions and completing tasks: multiple choice questions, video challenges, taking photos and locating invisible treasures.

That evening, Peyton Events also re-designed its food offering for those taking part, with informal food stations and bowl dishes replacing a formal buffet or seated meal. Vodka cured smoked salmon blinis and bowls of five spice and honey roasted duck with Asian slaw and citrus dressing were served to fuel the fun. Classic dessert options such as miniature Eton mess and Pimm’s strawberry and cucumber jelly shots were a great touch and throw-back to a simpler time.

The treasure hunt took guests through a variety of spaces, including the building’s magnificent Atrium – the main hall, featuring a rare Battle of Britain Spitfire suspended from the 25m high vaulted ceiling. This journey demonstrated what IWM London has to offer as an exemplary events and conferencing venue – a versatile, contemporary and culturally engaged space – though we think guests were a little too involved in finding hidden treasures at the time…

For further information about events and conferencing at IWM London contact Peyton Events on 020 3637 5200 or info@peytonevents.co.uk

Or, to learn more about Prestige Venues & Events’ summer packages check out our summer brochure here