Where Should We Have DrupalCon UK?

Robert Castelo's picture
43% (61 votes)
35% (50 votes)
13% (18 votes)
Other (leave comment)
9% (12 votes)
Total votes: 141


Robert Castelo's picture

This is a quick poll to

This is a quick poll to decide which city to put forward in our proposal for a UK DrupalCon. Poll will finish at 9 p.m. today as the proposal deadline is 1st October and we'll need some time to put together the information for the chosen city.

Please read comments below before making a choice, and feel welcome to leave your own comments on the merits of each location.

SteveD's picture


For better or for worse it is the most central.
MJR's picture

East is not central

London's right by an estuary into the North Sea and about an hour's train from the channel tunnel - in other words, not central at all. I think Manchester if we want a fairly central hub and Cambridge if we want a smaller city with scenery but still fairly good access, but I think the Cambridge group hasn't even had its first meeting yet, while the NW groups seem fairly strong. Why is this poll showing for me under Home › Groups › Drupal East Anglia UK ? Isn't that going to bias the results a little? -- MJR Cooperative webmaster for hire: ask on my contact page, or directly.
anthonyalbertyn's picture

Cambridge group

MJR East Anglia UK group is new, our first meetup is on 12 October '09. Our group is not only for Cambridge. I think the reson for the poll being in East Anglia UK section is probably because we are the one's that requested Robert to do the poll. We don't want to take anything away from the more established groups. We wanted to open up the debate on location. I am sure people will use their critical judgement to make up their own minds without being influenced by where the poll is located on this website. We are not seeking glory. We want a great DrupalCon and hope all the groups can work together to make it a success. Thanks for all the support for Cambridge as a location.
Robert Castelo's picture

All groups

The poll is set to show on all groups to get the most people involved and publicly on the home page.

Scorecard criteria

Might be worth mentioning the scorecard criteria here - http://groups.drupal.org/node/27616
  • Team meets regularly
  • Team has hosted events
  • Team is large and structured
  • Proposal is well crafted and carefully prepared
  • Proposal was submitted on time
  • Proposal includes space/infrastructure for BOFs, multiple presentation tracks, trade fair.
  • Proposal includes "green stuff": public transport, short (walking) distances, rail connections from airport(s) and so on. Innovative concepts for "greening" cons higly encouraged.
  • Location is easily accessible
    • Accessible in terms of public transport
    • Accessible in terms of "barrier free" for all
  • Location has nice local attractions
  • Location reaches a new European DrupalCon audience (spread the love - there are plenty of places to go before we repeat any locations)
  • Location has strong business or media interest/involvement in Drupal
  • Location is popular among Drupal Community (open poll)
  • Venue can support 1500-2000 people
  • Venue is close to hotels and restaurants
  • Venue costs are reasonable
  • Venue contracts are reasonable
anthonyalbertyn's picture

I vote for Cambridge because

It is a beautiful city that has a vibrant community It is well know for academic excellence It is a tech hub in the UK It has the capacity to host the event


Easier access for foreign visitors who are planning to join. Ok, I do not pretend to be objective, it is also easier for me to attend. ;P
anthonyalbertyn's picture

Easy access to London

I agree with you on easy access. London has very good transport links and visitors won't need to travel the extra distance by train. My main concern with London is cost. However, using a University (as suggested by Simon) as a venu can be a cheaper option. I will happily support London if it won the vote.
jp.stacey's picture


Well, I *would* vote for Oxford. But there's reasonable venues, it's a manageably compact city centre for strangers, and, you know. History, innit? Otherwise London is by far the easiest for me to get to. Cambridge is one of two subtly different pains in the rear on public transport, whether bus or train. Manchester always seems to cost three million pounds to get to, for reasons which only Virgin Cross Country could ever explain.


I agree with Oxford, the transport system into London, Heathrow and Gatwick is excellent. Just thinking of the non drupal people who will be coming too.

Oxford venues

Maybe have a search to see what venues might be suitable in Oxford.


Heres some info on one venue The Examination schools - Oxford During Christmas, Easter, and summer vacation periods (some 14 weeks per year) the building is available as a conference venue capable of accommodating nearly 2000 delegates throughout its 18 rooms. Spacious accommodation is available in high elegant oak panelled rooms for between 20 and 500 delegates per room. Each room can be adapted to suit the individual needs of an event with a range of furniture and Audio - Visual equipment to suit most common needs. Nearly 13,000 sq. ft of floor space in the North, South, and East Schools provide ample space for exhibitions and displays whilst adapting equally well to banquets and promotional receptions. Accommodation is available at 36 of the colleges or at central hotels, most of which are within 10 minutes walk of Schools, which is Oxford's largest city centre conference venue. http://www.admin.ox.ac.uk/schools/conference/


Business hub - much better in terms of advocacy and recruitment Better access More attractive to people coming from abroad More facilities
McJim's picture

London's too big

London's too big. We need a smaller place that makes it easy for folks to bump into each other. Put a DrupalCon in a big city and you lose a lot of the vibe/random meetups/general good times that makes DrupalCon so worthwhile.

This isn't a normal conference we're talking about here. DrupalCon is something special. Smile

Small is good. 

natts's picture

Bumping into each other

People won't be bumping into each other (outside of the conference venue) unless we hold it in a small village!
Robert Castelo's picture


With 2,000 of us it'll be hard not to bump into other Drupal people in a city the size of Cambridge!

I managed to bump into

I managed to bump into people about 3 times in paris, that is people I did not know who where drupalers.


What about Greenwich - best of both? (And a few halls of residence for cheap accommodation.)
Joachim's picture

Not true at all. Szeged

Not true at all. Szeged proved about perfect for bumpability, population of 169,030. Though it's probably more the size of the city centre that counts.


Not true. I randomly bumped into 2 drupalconners who I'd never met before in a metro in the middle of paris. We went on for dinner and drinks. :) The problem with London (apart from the hideous expense) is that it's not a city - it's 30 communities joined together by a lack of proper green space. :)


Much more sponsorship potential also
Robert Castelo's picture


  • Small enough to give a strong sense of community to DrupalCon
    we'll be able to walk around and meet other Drupal people wherever we go
  • Enthusiastic local Drupal user group
  • Well known to overseas Drupal people
    somewhere our target audience has heard off and wants to visit
  • Close to international airports and to London
  • Good venues
Drupalcon held in Cambridge, would would have an intimate Drupaltown feeling. You can walk across the city centre in not much more than five minutes. The venues would most likely be spread out across the city centre. Cambridge is 45 minutes from London by train and benefits from all the London transport links. Cambridge is famous for architecture, punting, and the university, which is spread across all of the city.

Manchester great location

Manchester great location but what about somewhere a bit further south i.e. Chester?
Robert Castelo's picture


  • Well known to overseas Drupal people
  • Great transport links
  • Many local attractions
  • Well established and enthusiastic Drupal user group

Held in London, DrupalCon would be a lot like Paris; London is a large, spread out city. DrupalCon would most likely be held in a single building - a conference centre or university. London is a world transport hub, with hundreds of flights a day, and the Eurostar train to the continent. London is famous for being the capital of the UK, the London Eye, Buckingham Palace, and thousands of other attractions.

Robert Castelo's picture


  • International airport
  • Well established and enthusiastic Drupal user group

Manchester is a vibrant city in the northwest of the UK. It's smaller than London, but a lot bigger than Cambridge. Drupalcon would most likely be held in a conference centre or a university. Manchester is 2 hours from London by high-speed train, and has its own international airport. Manchester is famous for Man Utd, music, including Oasis, and being the birthplace of acid house.

aycaat's picture


I'd recommend Cambridge because:
  • Cambridge's characteristics is more in tune with Drupal spirit and a large DrupalCon presence in a small city will have more press and PR coverage, leading to more sponsorship revenues for future DrupalCons.
  • It would be easier to manage a whole DrupalCon crowd in a smaller periphery than in a huge city like London. It will also create better opportunity for extra curricular networking/meeting. London's wide options will easily break the crowd into smaller groups whereas Cambridge will enable people to stick together.
  • Cambridge is the technology town of the UK, the university is unique in its reputation and such partnership will create lots of opportunities in terms of collaboration, endorsement, volounteers, press coverage, etc. It will strengthen the Drupal brand value. Drupal is much less signifiant in London than it is in Cambridge. During a DrupalCon, Drupal can take over Cambridge, but will be swallowed by London.
  • Cambridge would be considerably more cost effective than London both from organisers' and delegates' point of view.
  • Cambridge can be more effectively linked to an 'environmentally sustainable' theme/branding for a DrupalCon - if desired with everything being within walking/cycling distance.
  • It is lush, green, student town with all the right connotations for a DrupalCon.
Last but not least, London is rather spoilt by the level of year-round demand for various events that it is becoming almost impossible to get any acceptable RoI. The price/quality ratio is rather appalling and it does take a lot of strength and patience to see an event through even at smaller scales. As an event gets bigger, the suppliers' flexibility and ability to think laterally plays a huge role in determining the success of the event. Thinking by the sheer size of a 2010-11 DrupalCon, London will challenge the entire event team a lot more than Cambridge, especially before London 2012. I hope this helps. Best,


Could I recommend Brighton? 2 Universities so cheap facilities, quite a cool city, good bars/restaurants, something for everyone. Good transport links, cheap hotels and B and B's particularly at this time of year. It has the advantages of London and Cambridge roled into one.... Only draw back would be it is as South as you can get...... Just an idea!
stewsnooze's picture

London - Big - Conference venue

I think if it is in London we should make it as big as we can. Earls Court, Olympia e.t.c. If we want the small conference and good small feeling lets go for another city. I am quite pro London as I think it is the UK city with the best transport worldwide. I still think Boston is the best DrupalCon I've been to and it was in a huge conference centre. Conference venues are good at being conference venues. They are much better than universities and town halls. Lets not think that Drupalcon is so different that it warrants a completely new architecture for the conference. We should think about hiring someone like http://carsonified.com to arrange the thing. Drupal needs to grow in the UK and I think big is the way to go! BIG BIG BIG
Pete Sonderskov's picture

London - Big - Conference venue

I'm with stewsnooze on this one. The bigger the better and London does big well. Also, essential to get professional help, ideally from the planning stages and not when it's too late to rescue a limping conference. Start as you mean to continue BIG, PROUD and LOUD! Pete
anthonyalbertyn's picture

Big venue in London means big budget

There are lots of very nice big venues in London, but big venue menas big budget which will push up ticket costs. Here are some venues that could do the trick in London if we had the budget. Hope I don't offend anyone with the mention of two football venues here. The Business Design Centre http://www.businessdesigncentre.co.uk/media/1... The Barbican Conference Centre http://www.barbican.org.uk/conferences Central Hall Westminister http://www.c-h-w.com/roomhire/capacities.shtml Emirates Stadium http://www.venues.org.uk/venues/arsenal_footb... Chelsea Football Club http://www.venues.org.uk/venues/chelsea_footb... Somerset House http://www.venues.org.uk/venues/somerset_house Hilton London Metropole Hotel http://www.venues.org.uk/venues/hilton_london... Wembley Statdium http://www.wembleystadium.com/events/conferen... Alexandra Palace http://www.alexandrapalace.com/For_Exhibitors...

Maybe useful

I was looking at King's College and found this - http://www.venuemasters.co.uk/
Robert Castelo's picture

Blue Project

BlueProject have been hired by the Drupal Association to organise all forthcoming European DrupalCons in collaboration with the local community.

I would love to see it in a

I would love to see it in a big venue, the only problem is cost. Excel want £140,000 for a 4 day event. I like the look of http://www.qeiicc.co.uk/, and awaiting a quote.
mrsimonelliott's picture

That kind of money isn't out

That kind of money isn't out of the question for an event for 2000 people. We should expect to raise £400,000 from ticket sales alone if we get 2000 participants. San Fran are aiming for over 3000.
natts's picture

London, baby

London is the obvious choice for me. Best national transport links, close to the continent, and the widest variety of venues and accommodation (and delegates can be encouraged to stay in selected hotels to encourage networking). As well as university venues, there are also town halls which can be cheaper than commercial venues too. From my own experience of organising the PHP UK Conference, I would recommend avoiding places like Olympia Conference Centre unless you want to higher-priced tickets. Depending on what size you're aiming for, the Inmarsat Conference Centre at Old Street is pretty good and not too expensive (we used it in Feb 2008). Dave http://natts.com
NikLP's picture


I'd pick Cambs out of the three, but there's so much going for London. I'd have to suggest some serious investigation into transport links. As I've already mentioned I concur with Castelo and Jim on the DrupalTown thing - it's much easier on the brain and the legs. Boston was a nightmare (taxi every 5 mins) and Paris was all MetroMetroMetro. Edit: Also - what year??

I voted for London, I

I voted for London, I understand cost issues involved but I think it would be most attractive to overseas people. It is also central and has excellent transport links.
davenewton's picture

manchester all the way!

plane train and automobile accessible, cheap hotels, (great nightlife!) its much easier to get to the city from the airport in manchester than london there are plenty of venues in central manchester too

What's wrong with the midlands?

How abut Birmingham? Plenty of places and good transport links.

London sucks...

...anything that is doing well elsewhere into its black-hole. Living in the midlands I am sick and tired of having to put up with the elitist view of London over other cities. There is nothing wrong with Manchester, Cambridge or any other place, it's just that the immediate assumption is that London is biggest and therefore best. I'm sure you'd be hard pushed to get the same kind of value, service and personality from a London venue. It's not as if the roads turn to dirt tracks north of Watford. I'm touting for Birmingham (England's second city) mainly because I live there but I could put up a good argument for doing so too. Especially if you look at how many hotels there are within spitting distance of the ICC.

elitist view? It's our

elitist view? It's our capital city in the middle of england. That kind of gets you some attention you know...
budda's picture

London is where?

London in the middle of England? what? -- Drupal Consultancy from Ixis
leowhite's picture

London isn't the middle of England and certianly not the UK!

Geographically if this is DrupalCon UK would it not be fitting to place it roughly centrally between all the major cities of the UK? This would mean Manchester / Leeds possibly even Newcastle area? Glasgow and Edinburgh have decent size developer populations who would benefit just as much from feeling part of it, rather an seeing something tilted UK as another international event that requires a flight to get there. I've nothing at all against London as a city but feel that looking outside the obvious choices and reflecting the whole community would be in keeping with Drupals ethos. ____________________ http://www.hydrant.co.uk
mysty's picture

London may be big ..

.. but that doesn't make it intimate. Or cost effective.

More importantly - and feel free to call me a hopeless romantic - I think for our foreign visitors that Cambridge is a much more attractive prospect. They, in many senses, are the customer.

So in their shoes, would you be drawn to the 'heartless, samey metropolis’ of London, or Cambridge the ‘font of learning’??

And so much more fun to cycle or row than to take the tube. Really didn’t enjoy the distances or metro metro metro of Paris. 

Maybe I would feel different if I already lived in Cambridge, but for me Cambridge is much more appealing.

How many people from other

How many people from other countries will even have heard of cambridge? When I think of America I think of New York. Japan - Tokyo France - Paris That's just me of course! I think it's a shame Oxford did not make the list.


I agree, its a shame Oxford didn't make the list. The city centre is actually quite small and you would bump into drupalers every 5 minutes.


Canterbury. Why? 90 minutes by coach or train to London/Gatwick or 30 minutes if using speed train from Ashford. Eurostar station in Ashford is 15 minutes away from Canterbury. Ease access to facilities in the 2 large colleges, 2 universities within the city. Cheap accommodation and food. Not too busy. You could easily remember delegates if you bump into them in the local joints or the cathedral. Historical attractions and English Heritage-samuel Becket, Ian Fleming,Great House Meadow where Charles Darwin did his thing:-) No?

What's the big deal?!?!

Who cares where it is? It's not like people have far to travel on this tiny island to get to any of the prospective locations.

Drupalcon is an

Drupalcon is an international event. There will be people coming from all over Europe, America, Asia, Australasia etc.