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The leisure industry creates truly exceptional experiences, from exhilarating theme parks to relaxing spa retreats. Your business captivates guests by crafting unforgettable moments. However, behind the scenes of every thrilling ride and rejuvenating massage lies a host of legal considerations.

The Leisure Sector requires navigating a complex web of regulations, from employment law to intellectual property and everything in between. At our firm, you benefit from a team of specialists who work together seamlessly to address all your legal needs. Allowing you to focus on what matters most to you, your guests.

Our Leisure Sector Lawyers are adept at open communication and collaboration, guaranteeing your legal needs are addressed comprehensively and efficiently. You’ll have a single point of contact with the ability to access the combined expertise of our specialists across various legal disciplines. This not only streamlines the process but also leads to cost-effective solutions. They leave no stone unturned, ensuring you receive the best possible legal support for your business.


Meet the Team

Imogen Holland


Imogen Holland is a Partner in the Corporate department at Ward Hadaway. She qualified in 2003 having trained at Ward Hadaway. Imogen advises on corporate matters including acquisitions and disposals and , the raising of equity and acquisition finance and the acquisition of new business sites in the leisure sector

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Simon Errington

Real Estate

Simon Errington is a Partner in the Real Estate Team and has a broad range of experience in acting for clients in the investor, retail, leisure, industrial and agricultural and renewable energy sector. In the Leisure Sector, Simon has acted on hotel developments and also on numerous hotel acquisitions for a northern based operator.

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Richard Arnot

Licensing and Regulatory

Richard Arnot specialises in licensing and regulatory law, and heads our licensing team. He has a national reputation as a licensing specialist, representing pub companies, nightclub operators, convenience stores and supermarkets (including the CO-OP and Iceland), hoteliers and restaurateurs, as well as Local Authorities and Police Forces on all aspects of the law relating to the sale of alcohol and the provision of regulated entertainment.

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Susan Honeyands is a commercial solicitor with over 30 years' experience working with a wide range of clients across all industry sectors, although she specialises in supporting clients in the leisure and retail sectors. Susan's work ranges from drafting and negotiating commercial agreements for new attractions, concerts, plays and special events to preparing agreements for sponsorships, promotions and the full range of supply, logistics, distribution and procurement contracts

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Jamie is a partner and head of the Newcastle Unit of the Employment Team and has specialised in employment law since 2002. Jamie has a diverse range of clients but has particular experience in advising the Leisure and tourism sector as well as many others.

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The State of the Market

Despite recent adversity, the UK leisure sector is back in business. Here’s why…

There’s no doubt the UK economy and the subsequent leisure sector has, over the last few years, struggled, to put it mildly. The outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, eyewatering energy costs and global inflation has hit our pockets hard.

Find out more about the key issues and legislative changes that are are affecting the sector. Put together by our expert team of Leisure Sector Lawyers.

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    Our Experience

    • Acting for a national operator of health clubs, spas and hotels for approximately 15 years. During this time, we supported the Group to develop both organically and through its portfolio acquisition of health clubs and hotels, as well as providing general legal advice across the vast spectrum of our services.
    • Advising on the sale of a national museums catering division to the Government.
    • Acting for the owner of a restaurant when acquiring their Newcastle site.
    • Acting for shareholders on the sale of an aparthotel on Princes Street, Edinburgh.
    • Acting for a pubs and hotel operator on a number of matters, including private equity funding and bank refinancing
    • Acting for a major bank on the funding to various hotels in the UK.
    • Acting for a major bank on its funding to a hotel group on a number of North East city centre acquisitions.
    • Acting for a local authority on loans to two separate theatre companies for the redevelopment of buildings.
    • Unique experience of advising major leisure attractions, including many household names
    • Drafting and negotiating agreements with companies, for the sponsorship of attractions, leisure venues and sports clubs.
    • Acting for various venues in preparing and negotiating the full range of contracts for concerts, plays and public events (including the New Year’s Eve London fireworks display), and events with performers, sponsors, insurers and companies providing security, facilities, food and beverages, and media services.
    • Preparing entertainment contracts, venue hire and location agreements with television and film companies.
    • Advising on major collaborations between national museums, including exhibitions and the loans of priceless art and artefacts.
    • Advising an award-winning major property developer and investment company in relation to trademarks.
    • Preparing terms and conditions for consumer contracts, including hotel stays and package holidays, to ensure compliance with consumer law and regulatory requirements.
    • Providing promotion advice (including in relation to prize draws, competitions and two for one offers) to ensure compliance with ASA regulations and the CAP Code.
    • Dealing with celebrity and brand ambassador endorsements relating to products, events and appearances, including acting for a major international skin care company encompassing many household named brands.
    • Negotiating major agreements for the acquisition of new leisure attractions and retail premises both in the UK and overseas (including the Middle East).
    • Assisting a prestigious regional arts centre in respect of a multi-million pound redevelopment and refurbishment to create a state-of-the-art facility.
    • Acting and supporting several Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisations in respect of all their commercial contracts.
    • Providing a pubs and hotel operator with general employment support. This includes advice on furlough, implementing changes to all employee contracts, advising on accommodation provision to staff, ET claims, advising on temporary closure of sites for refurbishment and moving staff; and supporting on immigration issues.
    • Acting for a national operator of health clubs, spas and hotels in regards to all employment support, including discrimination issues in the provision of their service to customers.
    • Advising a development and investment company on their visitor attractions and all employment issues, including staff with zero hours, volunteers, redundancies, reorganisations, furlough, discrimination issues and tribunal claims.
    • Acting for a charitable visitor attraction, providing general employment support and TUPE advice.
    • Advising and representing a national hotel operator across 2 hotel brands in all aspects of their licensing applications, including those for new premises across the UK.
    • Advising and representing numerous other hotel operators.
    • Advising and representing a restaurant operator across two brands in all aspects of their licensing applications across the UK.
    • Advising and representing a bowling alley operator across the UK.
    • Representing a national charity which includes historic monuments, buildings and places on over 300 licensing applications nationally.
    • Representing a national restaurant in all aspects of their licensing applications nationally.
    • Representing a rugby club in several areas.
    Real Estate
    • Advising a national operator of health clubs, spas and hotels on the lease of a health club in Broadstairs, regears of leases of two existing health clubs in Manchester and Birmingham, an electric vehicle charging point lease in Darlington and various other queries.
    • Advising on the legal matters during the entire development process of the Beacon of Light facility.
    • Acting on all management and growth aspects of a North West pubs and hotel operator’s estate, which includes  approximately 150 pubs, inns and hotels.
    • Acting for a visitor attraction in respect of leases across Northumberland.
    Property Litigation
    • Acting for a holiday company on a break notice and providing dilapidation advice.
    • Advising a landowner on the termination of a holiday park lease.
    • Acting for a national operator of health clubs, spas and hotels on service charges, dilapidations, forfeiture claims and providing general property litigation advice.
    • Acting for a brewery on possession claims .
    • Acting for a heritage venue and visitor attraction, during its dispute in connection with the redevelopment of the Newcastle Mining Institute building.
    • Acting for an airport  on a freehold covenant enforcement dispute.
    • Acting for an airport on various renewals and providing general property litigation advice.
    • Acting for a North West pubs and hotel operator, during a dispute regarding access issues.
    • Acting for a Yorkshire brewery on possession claims and providing general property litigation advice.
    Data Protection, IP and IT
    • Providing a national operator of health clubs, spas and hotels with ad-hoc data protection and e-privacy advice, and drafting complex IT contracts.
    • Providing a holiday company with advice on the full range of commercial legal services, including intellectual property, supplier contracts, information technology and data protection.
    • Assisting a health and fitness company to protect their fitness studio brand in numerous countries and advise the company on its franchising arrangements and regional development agreements.
    Health, safety and regulatory
    • Representing a nightclub owner in York who was prosecuted for overcrowding.
    • Representing a nightclub owner in Manchester for breach of fire regulations.
    • Representing a national gym operator in a civil matter brought by a member with cerebral palsy under DDA.
    • Representing a County Council following the death of a school boy at one of their activity centres.

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