If the pandemic taught us anything, it was the importance of connection and the power of nature to restore. As the world recovers and businesses start to rebuild, this is something that is being recognised more and more by companies – both large and small – when planning their activities, incentives and events. With an increasing number of people now working remotely and many new members of staff that started during the pandemic having never met their team ‘in person’, now is the time for companies to search out ways to reconnect.
Whether they are organising thank you gifts for clients or motivational rewards for staff, looking to arrange face-to-face team building experiences, or organising their first client or customer events post-pandemic, companies are looking for innovative and ethical solutions that are sustainably sound. This is where the Surrey Hills can provide the answer.
Rich in both natural wealth, as a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and in terms of the huge array of independent companies working locally and beyond, the Surrey Hills AONB, its businesses and its places to stay, offer the ideal opportunity to corporate teams looking to reconnect and reward. Situated within easy reach of London and well-connected across the south east, the Surrey Hills boasts vibrant yet traditional market towns with fascinating history at their core, charming picturesque villages that are quintessentially English, and varied countryside of hills, valleys and vineyards providing ample opportunities for off-the-beaten track exploration and corporate activities in the great outdoors.
Search out the Trade Mark Surrey Hills, awarded by Community Interest Company, Surrey Hills Enterprises, to discover the very best local products, services, experiences and venues within the Surrey Hills. The new ‘Corporate Activities, Meetings and Experiences in the Surrey Hills’ publication summarises the best of these Surrey Hills Enterprises members and Surrey Hills Trade Mark holders, covering all the elements needed for companies to plan the perfect, successful corporate event in the Surrey Hills, whilst supporting small, independent businesses and being mindful of sustainability in the process.
As a destination, the Surrey Hills has a wide array of venues – as places to stay, locations at which to host an event, or to hold a meeting or team get together. The Merry Harriers in Hambledon, for example, is the ideal venue at which to host a team away-day or overnight stay, with a range of accommodation options including shepherd’s huts and the opportunity to take a llama trek in the Surrey Hills countryside. Alternatively, those looking for a self-catering option could look at Gate Street in Bramley, cleverly combining traditional country living with superb meeting facilities and luxurious accommodation, or the Grade I Great Tangley Manor in Wonersh, sleeping up to 12 guests and able to host meetings, team building, training and client entertainment.
Alongside a wide choice of places to stay, there are also a huge array of venues able to host non-residential meetings, such as the historic Loseley Park near Guildford able to cater for intimate gatherings to major public events, Fetcham Park which boasts the latest telephony and internet services, and West Horsley Place Trust’s Place Farm Barn which is a beautiful location for celebrations and events.
Those looking to arrange team building activities should also do well to consider the Surrey Hills. Proven to increase productivity, encourage positive communication and germinate a stronger team environment, team building activities within the Surrey Hills can encompass artisan experiences, health and wellbeing activities, or back-to-nature experiences in the outdoors. Surrey Hills Landscape Painter, Sarah J Cox, for example, offers small group workshops in her garden studio to create abstract art, lino printing, landscape painting and mixed media drawing inspired by nature, whilst artisan skincare company, Puremess, provides workshops in bath bomb making and sustainable skincare.
For teams wanting to get active in the great outdoors, there are a huge number of benefits, not least that the connection to nature reduces stress, increases happiness and improves memory, creativity and focus – making it the ideal activity for corporates looking to reconnect! Surrey Outdoor Learning and Development (SOLD) works with professional teams to achieve real personal development and positive behavioural changes through challenges set in the outdoors such as abseiling, archery, orienteering and woodland activities. Those wishing to explore the countryside could book with Back On Track, who host guided hikes in the Surrey Hills led by qualified guides, or The SHAC for paddle boarding, mountain biking and wild swimming.
The Surrey Hills is home to an array of independents, an increasing number of which have sustainable values at their very heart. With today’s consumers looking to buy from businesses that make green choices and with strong eco credentials being key for brand building, these are the ideal companies with which to align when making product buying decisions or organising client or staff experiences. Some such experiences on offer include Surrey Hills drinks experiences, such as a gin-making experience at Wessex Distillery, Surrey Hills Fermentary tours at the home of Nordic Wellness Drinks, a brew masterclass at Chimney Fire Coffee or a visit to one of the Surrey Hills many award-winning vineyards, such as High Clandon for tastings and demonstrations. Alternatively, foodies could look to take part in a Surrey Hills food experience, such as a Cheese Experience Tour at Norbury Park Farm Cheese, sourdough bread making at Pan Surrey or a culinary and spice masterclass at Mandira’s Kitchen.
Alongside this, those looking for ideas for corporate gifting can certainly find a wealth of options amongst Surrey Hills businesses. Physical gift or product options could include delicious wine from one of the many local vineyards, such as Albury Organic Vineyard – a family-run vineyard producing the highest quality English sparkling wines – or Greyfriars’ wide range of award-winning sparkling and still wines produced on the sunny south facing chalk slopes of the North Downs. Alternatively arrange gift set gifts from the renowned Silent Pool Distillery, personalised jewellery making at Silver Anvil Jewellery or vouchers for a forest bathing experience with The Forest Bathing Institute.
These and many of the experiences, activities, products and venues can be combined for the ideal Surrey Hills corporate event, which is where the new ‘Corporate Activities, Meetings and Experiences in the Surrey Hills’ guide is also a brilliant resource for companies planning upcoming and future client and team activities.