We’ve looked at venues for animal lovers and venues for sports fans, now we’ve tracked down some of the best destinations for those who love to be on the water. From lakeside tranquillity to thrilling boating experiences, you’re sure to find an inviting destination among our pick of the best waterside hotels and venues.
1. The Runnymede on Thames in Egham, Surrey
At this hotel, a short drive from Heathrow, they’ve taken to heart Ratty’s declaration in The Wind in the Willows that “there is nothing – absolutely nothing – half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats”. Not just your normal boats, mind. Here, they have electric-powered riverboats to pootle about in, and a luxury launch that’s perfect for a full-day party cruise. Other options include the HotTug, a boat-cum-hot-tub, in which you can sip champagne as you chug along the river.
2. Lake Vyrnwy Hotel & Spa in Llanwddyn, Powys
Stay in a premier lake-view room here and it’s tempting to do nothing more than sit on the balcony and gaze out across the valley. But this beautifully situated hotel is good for team building, too: you can sharpen up everyone’s communication and collaboration skills with raft-building, or send them off to bond over the shared adrenaline rush of white-water rafting in nearby Bala. You can also learn to sail, or hire out canoes and kayaks and paddle across the lake to picnic in a quiet cove.
3. Cameron House in Loch Lomond, West Dunbartonshire
Watching the Loch Lomond seaplane coming in to land and skimming its way across the water to the hotel jetty is one of the joys of staying at Cameron House. Even more exciting, though, is to hop aboard it for a tour over the mountains and glens before splash-landing back home. It’s not the only activity on offer at this grand hotel half an hour from Glasgow – you can also take a cruise on Celtic Warrior, the hotel’s private motor cruiser, or cast your reel in search of brown trout and pike.
4. HMS Belfast in London
Awayday venues don’t come much more nautical – or boats more impressive – than this Royal Navy warship. Sadly, only schoolchildren and teachers get to enjoy HMS Belfast’s ‘Kip in a Ship’ experience. Grown-ups can, however, hire it out as a memorable events space for a meeting, product launch or party. Take a tour with one of the ship’s company, then have a meeting in the Admiral’s Quarters, live it up with dinner in the Officers’ Mess, or host a reception on the Quarter Deck, with views of the River Thames.
5. Wyboston Lakes in Wyboston, Bedfordshire
If you have the kind of team that thrives on high-adrenaline activities, this hotel and venue is the place to take them for an action-packed awayday. Within its 153ha of countryside, purpose-built lakes provide the backdrop for all sorts of energetic fun and games. There’s wakeboarding, waterskiing and jet skiing; sports boats and banana boats; a hovercraft that can whizz over water and land… And the icing on the cake is Jetlev, a water-powered jet pack that propels users into the air. Find out more about Wyboston Lakes in our behind-the-scenes venue guide.
6. Macdonald Aviemore Resort in Aviemore, Inverness-shire
In winter, it is the mountains, with their snowboarding and skiing, that draw people to Aviemore – but in summer, the region’s lochs and rivers come into their own. Macdonald Aviemore Resort offers a choice of three hotels or 18 woodland lodges, with activities ranging from the relatively sedate (a spot of gentle canoe paddling on a quiet loch) to the rather more lively (white-water rafting). Or you could just enjoy the flume and wave machine in the resort’s lagoon pool.
7. Center Parcs Woburn Forest in Millbrook, Bedfordshire
Center Parcs are known for their subtropical swimming paradises, and their newest village at Woburn Forest is no exception. The all-weather water playground at the heart of the resort has flumes, rapids and whirlpools, plus a wave pool, lazy river, tube ride and the chance to try aqua jetting. If the weather gods smile on you, you can enjoy some outdoor action too, with electric boats and katakanus (six-person canoes) available for hire on the L-shaped lake.
8. Oakley Court in Windsor, Berkshire
When you have the country’s second-longest river running through your grounds, it makes sense to take advantage of it – as they do at this Thameside hotel on the outskirts of Windsor. You can take an electric boat for a self-drive trip, or entertain a dozen guests on a luxury cruiser, with a skipper to do the steering and a picnic provided by the hotel. If you’re there in late July, you can also sit out on the riverside terrace and witness ‘swan-upping’ – the annual census of the local swans.
If one of our water-themed venues has whetted your appetite, contact the team at Capita Travel and Events to book an awayday, event or stay.