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Unleash your creativity: 6 cities in England that will inspire your next event

As we all venture back into the world of events, it is time to find some inspiration. Take a look at the places where creativity comes alive in England.

1

Brighton, South of England

Brighton

A view of BAi360 Tower on Brighton seafront with the road and beach below.

Brighton and Hove is home to England’s largest annual arts festival - the Brighton Festival - which  takes place each May, as well as the Brighton Fringe festival which is the second biggest fringe festival in the world. These and many other local festivals cultivate Brighton’s exceptional creative and cultural talent, all packed into this vibrant and compact city.

The unofficial LGBTQ+ capital of England, Brighton is also known for its open attitude, vivacious clubbing scene and two-day colourful and creative Pride extravaganza.

A great way for groups to learn about Brighton’s LGBTQ+ history is to follow in the footsteps of Lord Byron, Oscar Wilde, Dusty Springfield and other notable gay icons with a Piers and Queers Tour. This unique exploration of Brighton from a lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans perspective, involves an inspirational 90-minute walk along the beach and around the historic city centre.

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2

Manchester, North of England

Manchester

Out houses with colourful murals on Stevenson Square, Manchester, England, UK.

The birthplace of the Industrial Revolution, Manchester is all beautiful red brick buildings, former cotton mills and canals. It’s one of Europe’s most successful creative, digital, tech and media hubs and the industry is growing faster here than anywhere else in England.

Manchester has always been known for its music scene (The Stone Roses, the Happy Mondays, The Smiths, Joy Division, Factory Records and The Hacienda), arts (Lowry, Ford Madox Brown, Adolphe Valette), culture, media (the BBC now lives here) and it has a thriving, growing tech scene with digital and creative agencies springing up all over the place.

The city’s key strength lies in how its various physical and geographical clusters – MediaCityUKCorridor ManchesterManchester Science PartnershipsThe Sharp Project, and the Northern Quarter – collaborate. Collectively they create countless innovation opportunities around media production, software development, augmented reality, digital health, e-commerce, gaming and data analytics, to name just a few.

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3

Bristol, South of England

Bristol

Bristol international balloon fiesta, Clifton Suspension Bridge, Bristol, England

Bristol, home to Aardman Animations, the creators of Morph, Shaun the Sheep and Wallace and Gromit, is a city in the south west of England known for its vibrant creative culture.

Aardman’s clay building workshops offer a truly unique experience, providing participants with the opportunity to learn from expert model makers on how to create the world-famous Aardman characters and develop a story around them, whilst simultaneously enhancing communication and team work. 

Artist Banksy, plus Upfest, Europe’s largest graffiti festival, have ensured that Bristol is internationally also recognised for its street art. A self-guided walking tour for groups will introduce them to some of Banky’s earliest work, hidden around the city.

Almost 21,000 people are employed directly in Bristol’s creative and media sectors. Bristol Film Office welcomes a growing number of film and TV companies, which make use of the cutting-edge facilities found at Bottle Yard Studios, as well as the city’s diverse filming locations. Recent high-profile British TV productions have included Wolf Hall, Poldark and Sherlock.

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4

Bath, South of England

Bath

 Aerial view by drone over the Georgian housing of The Circus, UNESCO World Heritage Site, Bath, Somerset, England.

The ancient spa town of Bath is one of only a few cities in the world to be entirely designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Now the largest city in the county of Somerset, Bath provided its most famous resident, Jane Austen, with her literary inspiration.

A Jane Austen festival takes place in Bath annually each September and groups can walk in her footsteps with a guided tour of the city and a visit to the Jane Austen Centre to discover life during Regency times and how living in Bath inspired the famous author’s works.

Bath was acknowledged as the most productive UK digital tech cluster in 2016 and hosts an annual week-long digital festival to explore this thriving scene.

To fuel continued growth, I-START is a city-based initiative to help local people gain new skills and retrain for roles in the creative and digital sectors. It’s a collaboration between the Bath College, the University of Bath, Bath Spa University, Bath & North East Somerset Council and the West of England Combined Authority (WECA). The plan is to create an innovation centre on Bath College’s city centre campus. As well as training, the innovation centre will also work with businesses, helping them to develop new ideas.

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5

York, North of England

York

Timber-framed buildings lining The Shambles in York, North Yorkshire, England.

York is a creative city and UNESCO agrees. It made York the first UK UNESCO Creative City of Media Arts in December 2014.

The creative industries represent the fastest growing sector of York’s economy and the University of York is home to Digital Creativity Labs, a world centre of excellence for impact-driven research in games, interactive media and the rich space where they converge.

In 2018, the university, in partnership with Screen Yorkshire and the British Film Institute, was awarded £5.5 million to develop a creative cluster around the screen industry. The funding supports film, television, games and related art and media in the city. The sector is growing strongly and predicted to be worth £195 million to the York economy by 2024.

Groups can take creative inspiration from York’s reputation as the UK city of chocolate by visiting  York’s Chocolate Story attraction. Take a fascinating fully-guided tour through the history of York’s most famous chocolate-making families and their finest creations.

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6

Nottingham, North of England

Nottingham

Wilford suspension bridge at sunset in Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, England

Nottingham is a creative city of historic rebels and pioneers including Robin Hood, Lord Byron, and DH Lawrence. One of Nottingham’s most famous and successful modern-day sons is fashion designer, Sir Paul Smith.

Starting his career in fashion aged 15 with a job as an errand boy in a Nottingham clothing warehouse, Paul Smith’s designs for the showroom displays caught the eye of his boss. 

This led to a position as the factory’s menswear buyer, aged 17. By 1976, Paul showed his first menswear collection in Paris under the Paul Smith label.

Paul Smith is now a global phenomenon. His collections are designed in Nottingham and London before being wholesaled to 35 countries and shops around the world (including 200 throughout Japan). Sir Paul’s most stunning retail venture however is Willoughby House, a five-floor, Grade II listed building in Nottingham for men’s and women’s collections. The shop’s interior has been designed by Sir Paul and complements the 18th century building’s history.

18 Aug 2021(last updated)
  • 1

    Brighton

  • 2

    Manchester

  • 3

    Bristol

  • 4

    Bath

  • 5

    York

  • 6

    Nottingham

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