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The Heart of England, at its most southern shares its boundaries with the Home Counties and Monmouthshire. Right up to its most northerly point, towards the North West of England, South Yorkshire and the River Humber. Coal, shoes, jewellery, pottery, hosiery and countless other industries made the Midlands. For many, it is claimed to be the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution. The epicentre of which was Coalbrookdale and Ironbridge.

The village was inspired by Sir Abraham Darby's bridge across the River Severn. It was known for its ironworks, whereas nearby Coalbrookdale was known for its china clay. Today, it is possible to host a conference in and around this cradle of heavy industry. The Ironbridge Gorge museums are available for hire, being conference venues as well as historical attractions. You can hold a meeting in The New Inn pub within the Blists Hill Victorian Town and change your money to pre-decimal currency.

Without Ironbridge, there would have been no Black Country; Birmingham wouldn't have had more miles of waterway than Venice; Nottingham wouldn't have been a centre for lace making. As for Spaghetti Junction, cheap food, affordable motoring or anything else we take for granted, forget them. Today, the Midlands' excellent road and rail network makes for a popular conference venue location. One of the best connected venues is the National Exhibition Centre outside Birmingham city centre.

The NEC is served by road, rail and air, being next to Birmingham Airport. The city centre is half an hour away, and that too has a range of suitable conference venues, including the Symphony Hall, the Hippodrome Theatre and its footballing sides. Both Aston Villa and Birmingham City football clubs offer banqueting facilities, as does Wolverhampton Wanderers, West Bromwich Albion and Walsall a little further afield.

Cricket fans will be placated by plush facilities at Trent Bridge, Edgbaston and Worcester. Worcester is only a short distance away from Great Malvern and Hereford, with the former's rise due to its popularity as a spa town. Its legacy from the Victorian and Edwardian eras has meant a good number of hotels and suitable conference venues, with the Malvern Theatres being one example. The same is true of Royal Leamington Spa, close to Coventry and Warwick. Its Pump Room and Winter Gardens includes the town's public library.

Rural idyll is less than an hour away from the Midlands' main centres. Just outside are a number of delightful villages and small towns. It is framed by the Malvern Hills, Clent Hills and Shropshire Hills in the west, with the Peak District to the north, and the agricultural beauty of Lincolnshire. If thrills instead of hills are more your scene, there's the joys of Alton Towers, Drayton Manor and Cadbury World to whet your appetite. As to whether they are also suitable conference venues, the answer to that is 'yes', with Alton Towers boasting its own conference centre.

Throughout the Midlands, there is great number of universities and public schools available for hire as potential venues. There's no shortage of rural and semi-rural conference venues either. A recent arrival to the scene is the Warwickshire Exhibition Centre on the outskirts of Royal Leamington Spa. Shrewsbury, Leominster, Ludlow and Hereford have a good number of restaurants and venues, with Ludlow a 'must visit' for gastronomes. It has two Michelin starred restaurants, and other attractions include its racecourse and castle.

Historic buildings are in abundance: cathedrals tall or modern in Lincoln and Coventry; William Shakespeare's home in Stratford-upon-Avon; the crescent and spa gardens in Buxton. Plus castles and stately homes from Chatsworth House to Eastnor Castle, some of which also in use as superb conference venues.

All of the above features, plus exceptional road and rail access makes the Midlands an ideal region to hold a conference. Not only with the rest of the Heart of England, but also the South of England, Wales and the North East.

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