On the banks of the River Derwent in the East Midlands of England – and about as geographically central as an English city can possibly get – Derby is the largest city in the county that takes its name, Derbyshire. Derby was an important center for the United Kingdom’s Industrial revolution, from which some Derby event venues originate; today, it has two major car manufacturers among its employers, Rolls-Royce and Toyota. A university keeps the city young, and not far away is the national park of the Peak District.
East Midlands Airport (EMA) is located seven miles southeast of central Derby, between the city and cities of Leicester and Nottingham. It has no direct flights to North America and specializes in budget airlines such as Ryan, or charter ones such as Thomson. It also has no flights to London, mostly because London St. Pancras station is only 90 minutes away by train.
Chief among convention venues in Derby include Riverside Centre in the Pride Park area, which has space for up to 800 persons, as well as the Carsington Suite for 200, three meeting rooms (each able to fit 35) and the Kedleston Room for 15.
Hotel venues in Derby feature the 213-room Jurys Inn Hotel Derby, which has four meeting rooms; the 105-room Holiday Inn Derby Riverlights, which also has four meeting rooms, the largest able to host 90 persons; the 87-room Hallmark Inn Derby, which is opposite the main rail station and has two meeting rooms for up to 60 persons; and the boutique, 38-room Cathedral Quarter Hotel, a former municipal building with four meeting rooms for up to 100 persons. A little south of the center is the Derby Conference Centre & Hotel, which has 50 guest rooms and meeting space that includes 28 meeting rooms for up to 400 persons, a 120-seat theater and an Art Deco lounge seating up to 250 persons for dinner.
The unique mix of special venues in Derby range from its industrial heritage to its modern sporting teams (its soccer team has twice been crowned champions of England). Among these are the oldest locomotive roundhouse in the world, aptly named today The Roundhouse, which finished up a renovation in 2009, has space for up to 680 persons and includes the Library for receptions of up to 300 persons and the Carriage Shop Theatre that seats 120; QUAD, a multi-faceted entertainment center, which has a cinema, gallery, cafe and function space for up to 230 persons; and the University of Derby Enterprise Centre, which has seven meeting rooms and space for up to 230 persons. Two athletic choices in and around this sports-mad city are the Derbyshire County Cricket Club, which can host 600 people on the cricket pitch itself and a further 700 in its function rooms, and – brand-spanking new and supposedly the jewel in the crown that will allow England to win its second World Cup since 1966 – the National Football Centre in St. George’s Park, which is 12 miles to the southeast in Burton upon Trent and has space for 500 guests, as well as two Hilton hotels and the opportunity to play "football" on one of its 11 floodlight pitches.
Restaurants ideal for groups in Derby include Graze Gastro in the city center, also known as Friargate, which has a contemporary British menu; equally contemporary Masa, which has space for groups of up to 210 persons, and French restaurant Le Bistro Pierre, in a building that dates to the 17th century. Two choices close to the rail station are Mansion, a fine-dining establishment, which has live music at weekends and occasional salsa dancing, and Antibo, an Italian restaurant.
In January 2015, the city will open a $45-million velodrome, the UK being cycling-crazy and the winner of numerous Olympic gold medals in the sport.