How to Host a Next-Level Summer Team Building Retreat (and the Best Venues to Host Them)

2019-03-27T14:14:45+00:00 28, 03, 2019-By |

If the idea of a team-building event fills you with horror, you are going to the wrong events.

In the olden days, team-building activities involved a set of familiar, cliched, and (frankly) silly games. There was the one where you had to fall and let your colleagues catch you. There was the one where you had a build a tower using tape and straws. There was the one where everyone had to write down something nice about each other.

So far, so boring.

Thankfully, today you are not limited to these out-dated formulas. A team-building event today, whether a full-blown weekend retreat or simply an afternoon away from the office, can be much more exciting.

What’s a Next-Level Summer Team Building Retreat?

Good question. Traditionally, the biggest challenge that had to be overcome when organizing a team-building event was getting your staff to genuinely engage with the activities you had planned. Too often, staff saw their Corporate Away Days as an extension of work, and the types of activities they were forced to take part in did nothing to dispel this idea.

A next-level team building event aims at the opposite. The idea should be to provide your staff with a genuine break from the daily grind, whilst also encouraging them to work together and gain new skills.

Above all, this means that team building events should strive to be two things: fun and relevant. Offer staff activities that they are genuinely interested in, and you will receive genuine engagement in return.

A good start is to think about what kind of events and courses your staff already go to. If your team is full of fitness fanatics, give them an obstacle course. If you catch them using their work email to swap recipes, send them to a cookery course.

Here at Eventwise, we can provide both of these activities, and many more.

Choosing a Venue

Another important element in planning a team-building retreat is where it will take place. When thinking about this, there are a couple of factors to consider.

One is simply this: that you want to impress your team! Here at Eventwise, we can offer plenty of venues that will achieve that, from huge Georgian mansions to roof terraces overlooking the city of London.

A slightly more complex consideration is how far outside the city you want to go. Whilst holding your away day in the city is great in terms of travelling to it, getting your team out into the countryside can make the event feel more like a break.

Below, we’ve pulled together a list of some of the best next-level team building events we offer, and recommended some great venues for them. Whether you want to get away to the country, or learn how to make cocktails in a high-end London bar, we’ve got you covered.

Country Pursuits

Let’s start deep in the countryside. Our Country Pursuits away days allow your team to try their hand at a range of rural activities. Clay Pigeon shooting and archery are among the most popular, but you can also try a range of more unusual activities: dune buggy driving for the adrenaline junkies, and duck herding for those who prefer a more chilled experience.

Though we can provide equipment and expertise for Country Pursuits at a range of venues, for the full experience you should consider travelling out of the city to a proper country mansion like Braxted Park.

Survival Island

A more ‘extreme’ set of outdoor activities are included in our Survival Island away day. With the help of survival experts, your team will learn all the necessary skills to survive in the great outdoors. 

The activities are designed around team working, allowing each team member to use their specific set of skills, and encouraging them to work together.

For Survival Island, we recommend a venue that provides a taste of the wilderness, albeit one that also offers excellent restaurants for decompressing afterwards! A venue like Coates Grounds is perfect for both.

Go Crazy in the Country

Go Crazy in the Country is a story-driven team building event, in which teams compete to solve a murder mystery. The challenge involves both physical and mental stamina, problem solving and team-working skills. 

Over the course of the activity, teams will meet some incredible characters and suspects, and will have to work out who can help them in their investigations. Though solving murders might not be a core part of their day jobs, the skills they learn during this activity are eminently transferable.

A popular venue for Go Crazy in the Country is Painshill Park, which is within easy travelling distance of London while also offering a taste of the country.

Cookery Schools in London

If your team are into food, a great option for an away day is to send them to a cookery class. Here at Eventwise we offer a few different types of class:

Dim Sum Masterclass

In this class, teams work together to create the most delicious dim sum imaginable! From wontons to gyoza, our expert instructors will teach your team all the techniques they need to create amazing dumplings: everything from simple folds to intricate details.
Best of all, this team building activity contains its own reward, because you get to eat everything you make during the class! This, as you can imagine, provides a powerful motivation for teams to work effectively together.


Cook and Dine is a wide-ranging cookery course that can be tailored to your specific requirements. With the help of a professional chef, your team will be provided with all the ingredients and skills they need to make amazing dishes.
Best of all, your team will also get to eat all of the food they produce, perhaps accompanied by a few well-earned glasses of wine.
A popular variant on the course is to make it competitive, so that teams can compete against each other to make the most delicious meal possible. 

Cocktail Challenge

If your team are into cocktails, what could be better than a chance to improve their mixology skills? In this cocktail making workshop, an expert mixologist will teach the skills necessary to make killer cocktails.
Once they’ve got the basics, teams will then be tested on their new-found skills in a head-to-head competition. Finally, each team will be given a mystery ingredient and tasked with creating their own unique (and hopefully tasty!) cocktail.
Our Cocktail Challenge events take place at the OXO2, an iconic and uber-trendy venue in the heart of London. The course is also highly flexible, and can take place before or after a team dinner.

Giant Garden Games

For the ultimate in flexible and fun games, look no further than our giant versions of Jenga, Connect 4, and Drafts. These oversized activities make the perfect accompaniment to team building events of all kinds, and add a splash of excitement to any corporate event.
To our mind, the best way to use these games is to combine them with a barbecue and a glass of wine!
These games work great in all kinds of venues. A large garden is perfect, but they can also be played in a rooftop garden in the middle of the city. Savage Garden, for instance, combines city opulence with a huge rooftop terrace, and is just perfect for Summer team building retreats.

The Perfect Next-Level Summer Team Building Retreat

If you are planning your next team building away day or retreat, it pays to think outside the box. Your aim should be to provide your staff with activities that are genuinely interesting, rather than just another day at work.
So, if you’ve been inspired by the suggestions above, just give us a call. We can adapt to any of your events to your specific requirements, and offer a huge range of different venues, from country retreats to chic bars in the heart of the city.