Venues: Location, location

Where will you host your next media launch? Mary Cowlett suggests ten highly creative venues.

1. ACKERGILL TOWER, CAITHNESS - Three miles from Wick airport, this 15th-century Castle and millionaires' retreat is run as an exclusive private home. Highlights include a tree-house hideaway with broadband and video conferencing facilities and an opera house that seats 80.

There are 25 luxury bedrooms, and activities range from white-water rafting and falconry to aromatherapy and Scottish dancing.

Land Rover global product comms manager Chris Parsons, who oversaw a six-week product launch for 800 journalists, enthuses: 'Rugged landscape around Ackergill was an ideal playground to demonstrate our Discovery 3 model.'

2. BT TOWER, LONDON - A symbol of 1960s optimism, at 189 metres tall the former Post Office Tower is one of the best-known landmarks on the capital's skyline. While a listed building, it remains a fully operational telecoms centre.

Surviving an IRA bomb attack in 1971, the tower has been closed to the public since 1980. However, the revolving 34th-floor dining suite still exists, offering spectacular views.

Alison McKay, ChildLine media and PR manager, says: 'Photographers and film crews love to come along to experience such an iconic building.'

3. CHURCH HOUSE, LONDON - Set in the shadows of Westminster Abbey, this building offers strains of choirboys and leafy views of the Houses of Parliament.

Requisitioned for use by parliament during the Second World War, it has 17 rooms, with the Assembly Hall catering for up to 670 guests.

Kate Johns, director of Nudge Communications, which organised events for National Chocolate Week and deafblind charity Sense at the venue, points out: 'Being close to Westminster it enabled us to drag in a few loitering journalists.'

4. THE MCLAREN TECHNOLOGY CENTRE, WOKING - Opened last year, this self-acclaimed 'showcase of industrial architecture for the 21st century' houses 900-plus McLaren employees and was designed by Lord Foster.

Only available to McLaren partners, the centre features the 145-metre wind tunnel where the firm prepares its Formula One cars for racing.

Scott Wilson, head of media at Weber Shandwick, which organised a partnership launch for Italian cheese maker Consorzio Grana Padano, says: 'The centre provided a fantastic backdrop on a wet Thursday night.'

5. PINEWOOD AND SHEPPERTON STUDIOS, BERKSHIRE AND MIDDLESEX - Featuring two former manor houses and covering more than 200 acres, the studios include woodland, an orchard and 36 stages.

Over the years, the studios have seen characters such as Batman, James Bond and Superman walk their corridors, and the sites now home more than 200 companies able to deliver all aspects of event management.

'The film studios have a ring of glamour about them,' says Justin McKeown, associate director of Sinclair Mason, which led a Silentnight product launch at Shepperton.

6. ROYAL YACHT BRITANNIA, EDINBURGH - Berthed in the port of Leith, Royal Yacht Britannia served the Royal Family for 44 years, playing host to such figures as Nelson Mandela and Sir Winston Churchill.

Preserved in its original splendour, the vessel can host events for up to 250 guests. Optional extras include a private tour, fireworks display or traditional 'beat the retreat' along the quayside. Internet access is available and TV crews are allowed on board by request.

Nicola Walker, account executive at Porter Novelli Scotland, which organised a media briefing for the business tourism unit of VisitScotland, says: 'It provided a unique place to escape.'

7. SPEKE AERODROME, LIVERPOOL - Located next to John Lennon Airport, Speke Aerodrome has a disused air-strip, providing space for racing-type events.

Owned by the adjacent Liverpool Marriott Hotel South, the listed art deco building and former airport terminal - once thronged by screaming Beatles fans - also has the convenience of the hotel's facilities. These include meeting and 'break-out' rooms, exhibition space and catering.

Hayley Nathan, director of About Last Night, which managed a two-day event to launch computer game Juiced, says: 'The old air-strip allowed us to create a raw street-car-racing feel in a safe and confined environment.'

8. THE ENERGY CLINIC, LONDON - Five minutes from Liverpool Street Station, this chic meeting space is planned on the principles of Feng Shui.

Catering for between five and 250 people, there are five rooms - or 'energy zones' - themed around the elements of fire, wood, metal, earth and water. Each is designed to create an inspiring environment for different types of events. There is also a Wellness Centre offering a range of massage, beauty, relaxation and rejuvenation programmes.

Anna Cox is account director at August.One Communications, which hired the water room to unveil research for health drink Lipovitan. She says: 'The environment suited the brand and journalists were inquisitive to see what the centre was about.'

9. THE PENTHOUSE, LONDON - Imbued with a sense of red-carpet celebrity, The Penthouse in Leicester Square hosted the post-premiere party for Alexander and has entertained celebrities such as

Beyonce and Robbie Williams.

Spread over three floors, the members' club, dining room and VIP rooms offer panoramic views of London and access via an external glass lift.

Revlon hired the sixth-floor bar - featuring black snakeskin decor - to launch its Fabulash mascara to more than 100 fashion and beauty journalists.

'It was a new venue that was exclusive, had a real buzz about it and was located close to all the major magazine houses,' says Revlon press officer Tamara McLennan.

10. THE VIOLIN FACTORY, LONDON - One minute's walk from Waterloo Station, this high-spec Victorian warehouse conversion has featured on Channel 4's Grand Designs programme.

A private home, it is hidden from the street and only hired out at the owner's discretion.

Covering 7,000 square feet and three floors, it has an urban loft feel, with suspended walkways that lend themselves to beauty and fashion events.

A huge state-of-the-art kitchen has space for 30 diners and a central area seats 100.

Eleanor Hatfield, account director at Lexis PR, which organised a showcase for Maybelline NY, reports: 'Journalists turned up as they had no preconceptions of what the factory would be like.'

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