It all started with a flat cap arriving in the post accompanied with an invitation with font that instantly looked familiar. It was ‘By Order Of The Peaky Blinders’. For those living under a rock or who simply cannot break away from Game Of Thrones, this is a popular tv programme centred around a notorious yet loveable gangster family, set in 1919 Birmingham, England. Exclusive Hotels and Venues were to host their very own Peaky Blinders themed evening hosted at The Royal Berkshire Hotel, one of their many elegant country house hotels. This was not something to be missed! But how would they do it? What lengths would they go to for a truly immersive and entertaining experience? I couldn’t wait to find out…
On arrival, albeit slightly late, I parked up near a vintage car at the entrance and was greeted by two lovely gentlemen dressed in British 1920’s tweed suits and flat caps. Excited, I checked in whilst trying to absorb the stunning interiors of this house steeped in history. I could smell the specially made Peaky Blinders ale from the bar and couldn’t wait to be further immersed in the theme.
The bedrooms were homely, spacious and comfortable with all the necessities to recover in after a great night of networking and fun. I took a moment to enjoy the views of the terrace below and the mere borders of what leads to 15 acres of beautiful landscaped grounds.
Whilst skimming over the welcome letter whilst trying to assemble a half decent costume that was a little more gangster than Gatsby, I noticed a gift on the bed! The Royal Berkshire had devised a backup plan for those less prepared! Inside the box there was a regal feather head-piece to wear, a definite saviour in my case! Finally ready to join the party, the reception drinks were to be scheduled in the Polo bar from which I was lured into, via the pianist’s own rendition of ‘Red Right Hand’ – the well-known PB theme tune.
The attention to detail of the decor was incredible, the large portraits of the Peaky Blinders sporting guns and riding horses blended seamlessly into the house. The atmosphere was buzzing and it was clear to see everyone was feeling excited about what was in store for us aside from delicious canapes and hidden boxes of chocolates.
To everyone’s surprise Arthur Shelby storms in flanked by the Shelby family and orders everyone into the Berkshire Suite for dinner! They had hired look-a-like actors that portrayed the Peaky Blinder’s characters, mannerisms and accents to a tee! The resemblance was uncanny, it was brilliantly done. We settled to our character themed tables (mine being Aunt Polly) and turned our attention to Debbie Guy, Royal Berkshire’s General Manager and Ian Wilson, the Agency Sales Manager who introduced us to their team and KDM events, who made the evening happen. When a theme is executed so well, it’s easy to take for granted all that goes into its creation. From here the chef served up a spectacular feast that was complimented by excellent service. Even the waiters donned the flat caps of the time!
As we relaxed into the buoyant atmosphere with good food and Ridgeview sparkling wine, we considered why there were fairground tickets tucked in to our cutlery. Of course it was for the fairground they had set up in another room! Prizes were to be won, cans to be shot down, horseshoes to be hooked onto plungers and more! I certainly gave Arthur Shelby a run for his chocolate coin consolation prize money at the tin can alley.
As far as events go, I like to see engagement maximised with their attendees and they certainly didn’t skimp in this area. Social sharing was definitely encouraged with lots of photo opportunities, not just with the actors and the giant fake horse, but an entire room was dedicated to a green screen photo booth complete with a dress up prop box. Each slide summoned a scene from the show and by this point nobody was shy about getting into character when in possession of an inflatable prop.
The evening was topped off with a live band called the cheeky blinders, who got the flapper moves going and the tassels flying.
Waking up in a peaceful and serene 18th century mansion back in present day was like waking up from a really vivid, good dream. Now that’s what you call an immersive event! To find out more about The Royal Berkshire Hotel contact our friendly venue bookings team at firstname.lastname@example.org.