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Simon Mills, Head of Sales & Marketing for Twickenham Experience, shows ITCM’s Sydney Paulden round the stadium


Simon Mills, Head of Sales & Marketing for Twickenham Experience, shows ITCM’s Sydney Paulden round the stadium

Be warned! The vast majority of event organisers who visit Twickenham Rugby Stadium end up booking its function spaces. They are surprised at how many indoor and outdoor facilities there are, all so different that they can’t claim there isn’t one to suit their event.
‘We have a conversion rate of over 90% when we show people round,’ says Simon Mills, Head of Sales & Marketing for Twickenham Experience.
Walking through the labyrinthine stadium with him, I wondered how he knew his way after only four months in the job.

The stadium itself can seat 82,000. Then there is the little-known gem of the Twickenham Cellar. It is hidden away and fitted out like a medieval catacomb, with an impressive wooden dining table for 14 nestled amongst bottles of vintage wine and champagne. It is a favourite place for rugby stars and other celebrities to host private dinners.

The Live Room is aptly named, or perhaps it could be known as the ‘chameleon room’, for it can change its colour and configuration rapidly. Its capacity is 550 theatre style and 300 for a banquet. Its tiered seats can be retracted within minutes, it has state-of-the-art lighting and display facilities and its large doors permit sizeable exhibits to be driven in.
‘The Live Room’, comments Simon, ‘has no equal and is in great demand.’
As we move from room to room Simon adds more and more staggering statistics to my notes. ‘In total there is over 7,000 sqm of function space. There are 17 modern kitchens’, he explains, ‘so that every event can be provided with refreshments and meals from its immediate vicinity. We don’t have any transporting of food around the building.’

We move then into a sector of the stadium where all the special-purpose conference rooms are named after famous people – and not connected with rugby football. There are three Shakespeare rooms that can be conjoined to seat 400; four called Brunel for just 60; two named after Elgar for 300 and one each for Churchill and Nightingale to seat 250 and 360 respectively.
‘It is difficult to quote exactly how many events we host in a year’, says Simon understandably, ‘but it is certainly above 500.’

Twickenham Experience, his immediate employers, is a joint venture between the RFU, England’s governing body for the sport that owns the stadium, and the Compass Group, the giant catering enterprise. Its subsidiary, Payne & Gunter, provides the catering services at Twickenham.

‘RFU is responsible for its private boxes around the pitch’, explains Simon. ‘There are 156 and there are only 12 to 15 international match days a year at Twickenham. Some of the corporate tenants use them regularly several times a week for their own purposes, such as entertaining and interviewing and even brainstorming meetings, but very many can be made available to Twickenham Experience to employ as separate small break-out rooms.’

He adds that if a meeting room is not blessed with natural daylight, these boxes with covered outdoor seating and inspiring views of the pitch can provide great interludes for delegates to stretch their legs and breathe in fresh air, enjoy refreshments and network.

There are, of course, areas named after rugby stars. Wakefield’s and Obolensky’s are two glass-fronted restaurants in the East Stand with views over the pitch, named after rugby legends of the old days. {gallery}Issues/News/October11/Twickers{/gallery}

Twickenham has its Council Room and Members’ Lounge, carpeted with a red rose design, and unlike many other famous sporting venues, these are available for hire as conference facilities. The largest indoor facility is the Rose Suite, able to seat up to 800 delegates and Divisible into Rose Room 1 & 2.

As the stadium is designed to get 82,000 people in and out as rapidly and smoothly as possible, the concourses and corridors are wide, there are lifts and escalators and the car parking is unlimited. ‘Parking is free to delegates’, says Simon with some emphasis. ‘That is always an important plus point for organisers.’

Twickenham is an international attraction that needs no introduction and fortunately its prices are not at the same high level. They vary according to venue and numbers and requirements, but it is not unusual to pay a Day Delegate Rate of £48 to include breaks and a great meal.
There are also very unusual venues within the stadium that are actually priced at the lower rates. ‘We have recently started offering the changing rooms for corporate gatherings’, says Simon. He points out the names of the English rugby team in the locker alcoves around the rooms, each on a plaque emblazoned with a red rose, together providing a décor like no other.
‘And you can have a summer barbecue on the Astro Turf adjoining the pitch. It is not unusual to have 400 guests having a great time there’.

Ready to risk a show-round? Phone 020-8744 9997 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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