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Destination review: Oxford

Oxford is a city which conjures up images of Inspector Morse driving around in his Jaguar Mark II, and indeed is the home to the Cowley Plant, which for decades was where the famous Mini was built (and where the new model still is). But it’s not all about cars in this green part of the country. 

The city centre is today predominantly pedestrianised, affording you the chance to take in some of the great cafés, shops and exquisite architecture, all fume-free. 

Anna Snoep, director of operations at agency Inntel, offers warm words on the area. She says: “Oxford and Oxfordshire are key locations for Inntel clients, not only is the area well connected by the M40 and centrally located between Birmingham and London, it features some of the most beautiful and unique venues in the country. The area lends itself exceptionally well for high-level board meetings and away days, some of our favourite venues in Oxford are the Malmaison Oxford and MacDonald Randolph.”

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It will be of no surprise that one of Oxford’s key draws is its academic venues, with countless events spaces located across the city’s colleges. 

There is clearly demand for such spaces. Keble College in Oxford has recently undergone restoration of its Dining Hall. The Hall, which can accommodate up to 300 guests, has been restored back to its former glory.

Roger Boden, the bursar of the College (1965 PPE) says: “Over the past five months, the Keble College Hall has undergone a major restoration. The brick, stone and timber have all been cleaned, the tables and benches repaired, the portraits restored, the lighting improved and various unfortunate interventions from past decades reversed.

“Complementing the Hall is the new servery, which it is hoped will greatly improve traffic flow, as well as being a much more pleasant place to be, with windows looking into both the Liddon and Newman Quads. The next (and final) challenge will be to remodel the kitchen itself.” 

Medical conferences are big business for the area, with clients seeking to make use of the various colleges’ infrastructure.

In early April, more than 450 delegates attended a three-day conference at the King’s Centre organised by the British Nuclear Medicine Society Spring Conference (BNMS) that provided educational talks for healthcare professionals working in nuclear medicine.  

Talks covered topics including artificial intelligence, the impact of Brexit on nuclear medicine, radiopharmacy and radiology. 

The event saw an international delegation including industry experts from Australia, USA, Sweden, Spain and the UK are among the line-up of keynote speakers for the Spring Meeting. 

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Charlotte Weston, CEO of BNMS, said: “Our Annual Spring Meeting brought together professionals working in Nuclear Medicine and contributes to Continual Professional Development. We selected Oxford this year because it is a great city for delegates to visit and has good rail and road links. The King’s Centre is the perfect size for us enabling us to host three sessions in parallel each day. We have exclusive use of the venue with plenty of room for our commercial exhibition. Our annual awards dinner will be held in the medieval hall at New College Oxford. We’re really looking forward to bringing our delegates to Oxford and hope we can return in future.”

The King's Centre is the largest event and conference space in the city and the south Midlands with more than 2,780sqm of space. It has two large convention halls and 10 support rooms and all the profits from the centre, which is a 10-minute walk from Oxford train station, are used to support charitable projects. 

Venue checker

Ashmolean

Meeting spaces: 10 

Max delegates: 900

Balliol College

Meeting spaces: 12 

Max delegates: 226

Christ Church

Meeting spaces: 14 

Max delegates: 300

Examination Schools

Meeting spaces: 17 

Max delegates 440

Hertford College

Meeting spaces: 10 

Max delegates: 120

Jesus College

Meeting spaces: 10
Max delegates: 100

Mathematical Institute

Meeting spaces: 16
Max delegates: 360

Oxford Playhouse

Meeting spaces: 5
Max delegates: 634

Sheldonian Theatre

Meeting spaces: 3
Max delegates: 726

St Stephen’s House

Meeting spaces: 7
Max delegates: 52

For a full list of venues, visit
www.conference-oxford.com