Having been invited to Weston Park, a 17th century stately home, by Wesley Mendy MD of www.prestigeeventsguide.com for a 20/20 Speed Networking event, I knew it was going to be amazing.
As soon as we arrived ( a little late) we were greeted by Butlers ushering us into one of the rooms for a buffet lunch! I say we, I was one of 20 companies invited to meet events industry suppliers over the next 2 days. From the moment you walk into the Front Hall, you will realise that this is not just any ordinary stately home; Weston was the ancestral home to the Earls of Bradford and contains internationally important collections of art and antiques, which reflect the collecting passions of the Newport and Bridgeman families.
Weston was first mentioned in the Domesday Book and the current House was built in 1671 by Lady Elizabeth Wilbraham, inspired by designs in Palladio’s First Book of Architecture. Whilst having lunch and taking in the splendor of our surroundings I recognised a Butler who worked on board The QE2 the same time as I did over 20 years ago! he was as surprised as I was and it was then I knew the service was definitely going to be special.
If you have ever travelled with Cunard you will know the service is exceptional and is considered to be the epitome of 5* service, how excited was I! Lunch was perfect as we all got to know each other over Tomato soup and home made sausage rolls along with a selection of freshly made sandwiches which were delicious. I particularly noticed (so I should with my training!) how everything was polished and sparkling (unfortunately I was so enraptured I forgot to take any pictures! )
After lunch we were shown to the library while our luggage was taken to our rooms.
is the heart of the house, with roaring log fires in the winter and doors open to the gardens in the summer, your guests will naturally gravitate towards this room and its large comfortable sofas to relax with a coffee or enjoy after dinner drinks and conversation. Here we were welcomed by the bluehat GROUP a team building company who were providing us with all the activities unfolding before us. To start we were shown a presentation from The Guinness book of Records, which was very enlightening I never knew there was a World record for how many LIVE scorpions someone could get in their mouth, but there is!
We went through to the music room for a chance to try and set our own World records.
The Music Room is
situated in the Victorian East Wing, the Music Room offers another location for dining up to 60 guests, civil ceremonies or recitals using the Baby Grand Piano.
We were split into 4 teams and all the while we were being told of various World records set in the challenges we had a head of us.
Unfortunately we didn’t set any new records but we had a whole lot of fun trying!
What I did notice and it dawned on me as we were awaiting the results each time was that we no longer seemed strangers to each other, something was happening which is why these team building away days are so beneficial to companies the world over, we were all working together to achieve the best result we possibly could.
People we had never met before we were discussing tactics with, problem solving with all different levels of management from all different types of companies.
Friendships were being forged, relationships were developing, discussions were rife.
Teambuilding was working!
After several challenges and much laughter we were shown to The Victorian Orangery . Originally built for the cultivation of exotic plants, the natural stone walls and floors make this an enchanting setting for any occasion. In the summer the doors can be thrown open and guests can enjoy drinks and canapés in the beautiful Italianate Broderie Gardens and around the fountain. After the 20/20 Speed Networking we were served afternoon tea in the corridor leading to The Orangery. I declined the fresh Scones with Clotted cream and jam because I wanted to save myself for dinner!
After tea we were shown to our rooms as we had several hours to relax, I adored my room which was called The Tent room
Every room was different to each other and we had fun checking each others out, Wows ensued and Oh my goshs’ were echoing around the upper levels.
After a heavenly bath and a little snooze
I dressed and went down for dinner.
The Marble Halls
Located in the centre of the House, with natural daylight the Halls are superb locations for a Champagne Reception, buffet lunch or exhibition space.
Everyone was quite excited and we were all looking forward to dinner in
The Dining Room
Created by the Victorian 3rd Earl, this room was designed to impress and entertain. On the walls hang a significant collection of Old Masters so you can enjoy dinner in the company of 17th century theatre impresario Sir Thomas Killigrew by Van Dyck and Charles II’s notorious mistress Moll Davies by Lely.
The formal dining table can seat up to 46 guests or up to 90 guests on round tables.
Dinner was a sumptuous affair and in between courses we played a grand scale “Call my Bluff” which again was hosted by the bluehatGROUP
Each table were a team and we were given an object with its real description, we then had to come up with 2 other descriptions and in turn present to the others, who had to guess which was the true one.
Hilarious, belly hurting, fantastic, are some of the words to describe this game .
If you want your guests to have an amazing experience but to have fun injected into the mix that they won’t forget in a hurry, then this is the kind of Team Building activities you want to have.
We were all animated and having an amazing time you would have thought we knew each other for years!
20/20 speed networking + Weston – Park + BluehatGROUP
Team building was working!
After a lovely dinner which I must add rivalled any michelin starred eaterie in London, food & service alike, we had drinks then bed.
The Prestige team looked after us extremely well with a special mention for Joanna Kafouris whos diplomacy and experience shone throughout!
Another exciting jam packed day lay ahead.
Sweet dreams were definitely had by all.
After a good nights sleep, I awoke to the sound of …nothing! it was bliss. I wrenched myself from the bed and got myself ready for the days activities. At breakfast we all talked about how wonderful our rooms were and how peaceful it was here as the staff glided unobtrusively around us (serving breakfast was never my favourite service!)
What is the saying?
Breakfast like a King
Lunch like a Prince
Dinner like a Pauper
Well I,m not sure if those rules applied here, going by yesterdays lunch and dinner we ate like Kings at every meal! Everything you could want for breakfast was offered and the coffee kept coming. So, set for the day we headed to The Orangery for our last session of Speed Networking. Check out the Video Production Company ‘s short clip of the day while it is still there as a full video is coming soon.
“Organising special events requires special information Information to help organisers plan and execute the perfect event. Information written independently with the organiser’s requirements in mind, enabling them to make informed choices about where to hold their events, and locating the service providers who will ensure those events are a success. Prestige Events – The magazine for those seeking event charisma, established 2003, – provides exactly that. Prestige Events publishes four annual periodicals each year and is distributed to a pre-qualified readership of 17,000 of the UK’s leading organisers of conferences, corporate hospitality, incentives, product launches, awards, gala dinners, and promotions – in short any event, in the UK or abroad – that earns the tag of ‘prestige”
After the speed networking we met up in The Dining room for lunch. Again it was sumptuous and fresh.
We moved on to the outdoor activities, making the most of the vast grounds
www.weston-park.com has to offer. We split onto teams for Orienteering using GPS and motorized vehicles across Weston Park’s vast grounds, produced by BluehatGROUP. Depending on the weather dress accordingly as we were about to trek across fields and woodlands, we were given waterproof clothing to wear on top of our own. So with the GPS touchpad in hand our team set off. Across the carpark and into the woodlands, the touch pad bleeped and our first question popped up, I answered it correctly but we lost points as we spelt it wrong!
We then followed the arrow and set off again through the woodland. Our next question popped up and we learnt from the last mistake, take your time, think it through as a team and ensure you spell it correctly! Kerching! we did!
Points added…. We then arrived at the first activity, Rage Buggies!
As a non driver I was a bit nervous but once we were shown the safety drill and I put my foot down for my trial lap Icouldn’t get enough of it! We all did timed laps and apparently got top marks.
We then took off in the direction the touch pad was telling us and answering several questions along the way. Important factor for achieving results in this is Teamwork and it certainly does what it says on the tin because you have to work together. We arrived at our next activity…
Check out the video clip above to see what its all about (I,m in there with a stripey jumper looking rather scared!) Again great fun but hard work this one…Off we set again across the lawns taking in the breathtaking scenery along the way.
We then had a game of Laser Tag , if you have ever played paintball this is without the splat of the balls but a laser instead, a bit of aiming skill is needed but altogether great fun.
These activities were provided and managed expertly by
Ater we all met in the Library before our return to london.