The adjacent towns of Egham and Staines are commuter settlements of London, in the county of Surrey, with Egham a stone's throw to the southwest of the capital's orbital freeway, the M25; and Staines the same distance inside it. Egham is most famous for containing Runnymede, where in 1215 the Magna Carta was signed. Staines is infamous for being the fictional home of comedian Ali G, aka Sacha Baron Cohen. Both are close to Windsor and the River Thames. Egham event venues offer groups green escapes from the noise and bustle of the city.
London Heathrow Airport (LHR), one of the busiest in the world, is practically on the doorstep of both Egham and Staines, only four miles to the north of both towns along the M25. Heathrow is served by frequent flights from North America.
There are no convention venues in Egham or Staines per se, but planners seek out Egham or Staines hotels for a comfortable, less frantic base for accommodating their groups and use the conference and convention centers of London for meetings and exhibitions, or, indeed, the larger hotels at Heathrow.
Hotel venues in Egham include the 181-room property The Runnymede-on-Thames, which has 13 meeting rooms for up to 200 persons and a sloping lawn to the river. Two other excellent country choices close by are the 140-room Savill Court Hotel & Spa, which is a 19th-century mansion to the west of Egham in Oaklands Park with impressive function space such as the Great Hall for 800 persons, Orangery for 350, and Lower and Upper halls for 600 and 400, respectively; and Sunningdale Park, which is set on 65 acres of land, is near to the famous race course of Ascot, and is geared to business, with 59 meeting and training rooms, the largest able to host up to 200 persons. A Heathrow Airport hotel on the Egham side is the 398-room Hilton London Heathrow Airport, which has 22 meeting rooms, the largest able to host 350 persons, while another option is the 450 or so guest rooms, all of a high standard, at the college of Royal Holloway, University of London, in Egham itself, which also is a superb private-function venue.
There is a nice array of country venues for private functions in the area, while Staines has more urban choices. Select from the Boleyn Hotel, which is in Staines, seems to have no connection with Anne Boleyn, and has 45 guest rooms and function space such as the Parlour for 150 persons, a restaurant, and Old Library with a real fireplace; Beaumont Estate, which is on the western side of Runnymede Park and has 40 acres of landscaped grounds, an ivy-clad mansion, 414 guest rooms, banquet space for 550 persons, a separate, modern conference facility with numerous meeting rooms, and even the converted Chapel for 150; Great Fosters, another majestic, stately pile in the countryside, which is in Egham, started life as a royal hunting lodge in 1550, covers 50 acres, has 45 guest rooms, and contains spectacular function spaces such as the 14th-century Tithe Barn for 180 persons, as well as the Coach House, with the Clarence, Concord, and Victoria meeting rooms; and the business-oriented Jurgens Centre, which is in the Egham district known as Englefield Green and has the latest technology, as well as three meeting rooms and function space in the Small Hall and larger Complete Hall, the latter able to accommodate 80 persons. As mentioned, the Royal Holloway, University of London, which was founded in 1886 by Thomas Holloway, who made a fortune patenting medicine, looks like a palace in every respect, has 135 acres, and includes outdoor space and a 400-seat auditorium among its function facilities.
Restaurants where groups can relax in the area include Egham fish restaurant Loch Fyne, which is part of a chain, but a very good one; 163 Egham, which is hip, informal, and has a 70-seat main dining room and the 50-seat, private Balcony Room; in Staines, The Swan Hotel pub, which has 11 guest rooms and a patio by the Thames; at the Runnymede-on-Thames hotel, the Lock Bar & Kitchen, which offers fine dining; and, for an Indian menu, Staines' very respected, very attractive Roshni's, which can cater to private groups.
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