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Written by Luke Bull
August 15, 2022
Manchester’s best conference venues
Let’s be honest, conferences rarely rank among the sexiest of events. Try as you might, getting people hyped for expo halls, lanyards and branded pens can seem like a tall order. Fortunately, Manchester has a whole array of conference venues that will give any conference you have the edge.
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1. The conference venue to inspire a religious fervour: The Monastery, Manchester
You’ll struggle to find a venue quite as impressive to your conference attendees as this Grade II* listed Monastery in West Manchester.
The old Franciscan refuge proves the ultimate setting for an unforgettable conference – with sweeping Gothic-Revival architecture you can impress your attendees and deliver a truly unique conference experience.
2. The venue for those wanting a hotel-based conference in Manchester: The Edwardian Hotel
One of Manchester’s most stately hotels offers fantastic spaces for all kinds of conference events. The building, Manchester’s Free Trade Hall, is a vast space that can accommodate a whole range of different conferences, from large-scale affairs to more intimate and exclusive conferences.
The Halle Suite, in particular, is a great shout for anyone wanting a large space (it can cater to up to 500 guests). The air-conditioned, elegantly furnished space is the perfect setting for a corporate conference that will keep the eyelids open.
3. The conference venue with a view of Manchester: 20 Stories
Taking the phrase ‘above the competition to a literal level, 20 Stories is the perfect place to conference in the clouds.
With a 540-person capacity, split across indoors and outdoors, 20 Stories is an ideal choice for those wanting an exclusive conference venue with bewildering views of Manchester.
If you manage to pull your eyes away from the panoramic views of the city, you'll be met with a beautifully decorated space that can cater for your guests with drinks and food to the standard expected by a world class conference venue.
4. A Manchester conference venue that can cater to a crowd: Hilton Deansgate
The Deansgate suite of Manchester’s Hilton outpost brings all the quality amenities you would expect from this hotel mainstay.
The impressive space can cater to 600 attendees and has high-quality audiovisual capabilities to bring your conference presentation to life. And, of course, you can always get a good night’s sleep in one of the Hotel’s 279 guest rooms.
5. A Manchester conference centre with a literal Concorde in it: Concorde Conference Centre
This aptly named conference space can be found in one of Manchester Airport’s huge hangars. Complete with its very own drooped nosed Concord aeroplane, this vast space enables you to max out your capacity (up to 700 diners) and ensure memorability, just don’t try to fly the plane.
6. A conference centre with an industrious past: Science and Industry Museum
Few venues evoke inspiration and innovation more than Manchester’s own Science and Industry Museum.
The historic building is packed with objects that attest to the City’s industrial past, with a textile gallery and 1830s warehouse combining huge spaces with genuine historic pedigree.
There is a range of interesting conference spaces for you to hire: from the Dalton Suite (70 attendees), to the large Garratt Suite where you and 300 attendees can benefit from the built-in PA system, projector, lectern and microphone.
7. A convention centre that can educate: Imperial War Museum North
Another mainstay of the Manchester museum scene, the Imperial War Museum is a fantastic space in the heart of Salford’s sleek Media City.
The real draw here is the Museum’s 360-degree projection capability – your conference can make full use of this unique facility and have a conference bolstered by a truly immersive backdrop.
With a whopping 700-person capacity, too, this is definitely an option for those larger conference events.
8. A truly vast Manchester conference venue: Victoria Warehouse
A huge industrial space that embraces the raw brickwork and steel girders, turning a 1920s cotton warehouse into a truly versatile event space that would be a striking and grand setting for any conference or corporate event.
Sprawling across 4,533 sqm and sporting a bar and a VIP mezzanine, the possibilities are endless for a truly exceptional conference.
9. A conference hall that will bring music to your ears: Bridgewater Hall
Holding the attention of a room is never easy – fortunately, Bridgewater Hall’s magnificent auditorium has been designed with a captive audience in mind.
The 1800 capacity hall has four levels of seating to give every attendee uninterrupted views of the stage.
You’ll be hard-pressed to find better acoustics, as well – the breathtaking space has cut its teeth on concerts and orchestral recitals, meaning your conference speakers will be crystal clear on the big day.
10. A A conference space in Manchester that will bring it all home: National Football Museum
Few cities compete with the footballing pedigree of Manchester. Testament to this fact is the National Football Museum, located just by Victoria Station.
This footballing mecca has dedicated its top two floors to a clean & modern event space that can host a range of meetings, dinners and networking dos.
Even if your guests aren’t fans of the beautiful game, the cityscape views and floating staircases will make a lasting impression.
More of the best conference venues in Manchester
Conference planning can be stressful - finding the venue doesn't have to be. Manchester has no shortage of beautiful conference spaces ready to impress and inspire your guests. Whether you're looking for an intimate conference room near you or the largest conference venue in Manchester, we've got the best ready for you to browse and book. If you need some ideas for where to have your conference event, check out our comprehensive collection below. We've got everything from unique, creative spaces to huge venues with all the facilities you need for a successful conference. Alternatively, tell us exactly what you need and we'll make sure the very best Manchester venues respond to your enquiry.
Our favourite conference venues in Manchester
Greater Manchester Conference Centre - PRICED BASED ON DDR MINIMUM 150, Cotton Theatre
Greater Manchester Conference Centre - PRICED BASED ON DDR MINIMUM 150, Pioneer Theatre
The Edwardian Manchester, A Radisson Collection Hotel - Private Room 1
The Edwardian Manchester, A Radisson Collection Hotel - Private Room 17
The Monastery Manchester - The Great Nave
The Edwardian Manchester, A Radisson Collection Hotel - Private Room 3
The Edwardian Manchester, A Radisson Collection Hotel - The Halle Lounge Bar
The Edwardian Manchester, A Radisson Collection Hotel - Private Room 6
Hilton Manchester Deansgate - Meeting Room 9
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Your guide to booking a conference in Manchester
Planning a conference is, historically, far from a walk in the park. With industry experts and your colleagues in attendance, your professional reputation is on the line. No one wants a conference washout or boring speakers, and nobody wants a dull venue. Fortunately, Manchester is blessed with a bewildering array of beautiful conference spaces, conference halls, exhibition centres and smaller conference rooms. Booking all of these conference venues has never been easier, and we're here to show you how.
Speaking the lingo
What actually is a conference venue? It's a fair question. In short, it refers to a large space that can host a professional event that may include speakers, stalls and light refreshments. A conference room, on the other hand, will be a much smaller affair – and the price will reflect this. The largest conference-based event normally takes place in an exhibition centre (also called an expo centre or a convention centre), and these will be huge venues that cater to thousands of attendees.
Getting in touch
A Manchester conference is a big deal. There are a lot of moving parts and you'll want to approach Manchester's best conference centres with really robust criteria of everything you expect and need to make your event go off smoothly. Think about timing, capacity, catering, accessibility and who your speakers will be – this last one is vital as if they’re on your list to have at your conference they’re probably in high demand. Get all these factors worked out before you approach Manchester’s best conference venues and you’ll make the booking process a whole lot easier for yourself and the venue.
A lot of conferences attract visitors from afar (especially the large ones in convention centres). Take this into account when booking your Manchester conference. Looking for quality venues near travel hubs such as Manchester Piccadilly Station or Manchester Airport is a great way to make getting to and from your conference much easier. And less travelling = less grumpy conference attendees.
Some attendees may wish to get to your Manchester event via car. If this is the case you’ll want to enquire with the conference venues about parking facilities.
Budgeting for a conference can be a tricky thing. Venues will often provide a base hire fee before adding on extra costs for things like staffing, audiovisual equipment and in-house catering (think of all the coffee needed to keep your attendees going!). Some venues will quote you for a price per attendee, so you know how much is being spent on each individual. It’s good to get an idea of how much you’re willing to spend before you approach the venue, this reduces any misunderstandings down the line and could be a massive time saver.
Manchester is a big city and has an amazing range of conference venues, centres, rooms and convention spaces. Here are a few standouts from the HeadBox team:
The Auditorium, Bridgewater Hall - Go big or go home. Manchester’s Bridgewater Hall is a truly awe-inspiring space that can accommodate 1800 attendees. With tiered seating, a central stage and incredible acoustics, your conference will truly stand apart from the crowd.
Pitch Gallery, National Football Museum - A unique football-themed space within walking distance of Manchester Victoria, the National Football Museum will please fans of the beautiful game and beautiful spaces, alike.
There really is no one answer to this question: so many variables come into play when understanding the cost of exclusive hire of a conference venue. How many guests are you planning for? Is the venue for the day, an afternoon, or the night? The good news is that you can find a venue for pretty much any budget (okay, almost any budget). Instead of letting the venue dictate the price, our advice is to be proactive and set a budget that you feel comfortable with – this way the right venues can reach out to you through HeadBox.
There are lots of ways to book a Manchester conference venue. You can do the old-fashioned thing and pick up the phone, or email the venue directly. Unfortunately, lots of venues are busy and may not get back to you in time. That's where we come in. Give us your enquiry and we'll reach out to the best conference venues in Manchester and let you enjoy your free time. Easy.