Along with a select group of industry stalwarts, I was invited down to experience the wonderful world of Wickham House, a new & very special venue to the corporate events market.
Wickham House is situated just 90 minutes from Central London and conveniently located just off the M4 / A34 junction at Newbury and so easily accessible from London, London Heathrow, the M4 corridor & Oxford.
The house is a magnificent Grade II Georgian house that overlooks the Kennet Valley with views all the way across to the downs. Privately owned by the delightful James & Philippa D’Arcy, both previously heads of industry in the City, they have spent the last 10 years painstakingly restoring & enhancing this stunning property to its former glory & some!
Wickham House is grand yet informal & personal and can be used for private dinners & receptions whilst within the grounds there is an array of possibilities. The Barn is a stunning new oak-timbered flexible events space just moments from the house. With built in bar area, seating for up to 24 for dinner, receptions up to 80 or presentations up to 125 it provides the perfect backdrop for high-end events. Superfast broadband built-in AV and purpose built kitchen - everything seems to have been thought of but uniquely in an incredibly personal way and very much giving a home away from home feel.
What is truly unique about Wickham are the grounds. Next to the house is a Saxon Church and within the grounds one of the most beautiful walled gardens complete with heated swimming pool and stunning pavilion able to cater for both lunches, dinners & receptions. For a senior team wanting to get away for a couple of days of discreet talks I can think of no better place.
A well thought out marquee site for up to 400 guests is located in front of the main house with adequate parking for up to 250 cars makes this a fabulous location for company fun days, corporate festivals, glamping & team building events.
Wickham House does not have accommodation but even that has been well thought through. A close partnership has been built up with The Vineyard, which is located just 6 minutes away. The Vineyard is a five-star boutique hotel with 49 bedrooms and renowned for its superb food & wine. Bedrooms are well appointed and staff extremely accommodating under the close supervision of General Manager Marwan Herchaoui. We were treated to a delicious 5 course tasting menu worthy of much applause and uniquely paired with wines from California, France and even a beautiful red from Turkey! Should more accommodation be required their sister hotel the 4 star Donnington Valley Hotel is only 10 minutes away and offers a further 111 bedrooms.
On Saturday morning we jumped in our cars for the quick dash to Wickham where we were warmly welcomed to the house by the attentive staff and a delicious wholesome breakfast freshly prepared by one of London’s most up & coming caterers Spook. Emily is young & eager to make her unique mark on the catering industry & from what I sampled throughout the day she is certainly doing a fine job & definitely one to watch.
After breakfast some team bonding & a chance to get to know every inch of the grounds with a brilliantly orchestrated Treasure Hunt provided by ACF Team Building & Events. Clues were solved, bombs detonated, plays acted & treasure found a brilliant way of us seeing & experiencing Wickham to its full.
We finally congregated back in the Barn for a hugely informative & spoiling Sparkling Wine Tasting by Coates & Seely one of the UK’s finest sparkling wine producers. Coates & Seely is one of the only UK Sparkling wines served in the George V Paris, Hotel Bristol as well as numerous Royal Palaces throughout the UK. A real treat to meet Nicholas Coates and try his delicious sparkling wine & I would highly recommend trying.
Just in case we hadn’t had enough to eat Spook circulated incredible canapés & bowl food all beautifully presented and delicious before we headed off.
Philippa & James were wonderful & passionate hosts who most importantly care. They care for their incredible venue but more than that they can’t wait to host an array of exciting high-end events and I know they will put all of their energy into ensuring they help create the most memorable backdrop for events.
A huge thank you to Philippa & James as well as all of the other suppliers who laid on such a memorable & enjoyable event!