Finding a beautiful place to get wed is part of the thrill of being newly engaged. These are the destinations that we’re always delighted to receive an invitation to.
The Ned, London
Who wouldn’t want to get wed at the Ned, one of the most stylish hotels in the city? As far as smart London weddings go, there are few places that can compete in our books. The ceremony itself takes place on the sixth floor, where there are two outdoor terraces with knock-out views right across the city. Meanwhile, if you’re just looking for a venue for the wedding feast, there are options for more intimate celebrations (the lovely Rose Room), right through to the grander likes of the Tapestry Room for a more lavish and formal affair. The bride and groom will spend the first night of their married life in the Terrace Suite; who wouldn’t want to wake up to views like these or an al fresco breakfast on the terrace on their first day of married life? Find more info here.
Tythe Barn, Oxfordshire
The Tythe Barn has been in the same family since 1933, when the current owner’s father snapped it up and used the previously tenanted farm as a stable. His son, under whose auspices it remains, later ran it as a dairy farm, but transformed the buildings into a wedding venue in 1991. Its newest incarnation has been a roaring success, its beautiful and rustic vibe a perfect fit for informal country weddings. If you want a religious ceremony, there is a church in the village that is within walking distance, too. Magical. Find more info here.
Built in 1903, Voewoood House, just outside the pretty Georgian town of Holt in north Norfolk, is one of the finest Arts and Crafts houses in the country. Even Pevsner was bowled over, calling it ‘By far the most interesting building in this part of Norfolk. A violently idiosyncratic house. Some of its inventions remind one of Gaudi’s work in Barcelona.’ Its current owner, Simon Finch, resurrected it to former glories after its stint an old folks’ home; that it was a labour of love is clear to see. Each room is adorned with artworks and furniture from his impressive collection; this is no off-the-peg wedding venue. If you are planning your nuptials here, you’ll need to hire the house – which has 17 guest rooms – in its entirety. For that, you’ll get its exclusive use for the whole weekend. If you have a larger party, the eleven acres will accommodate a marquee nicely. A place unlike all others. Find more info here.
East Quay Venue, Kent
How do you fancy hosting your wedding right on the beach? If the sound of the waves lapping or crashing would make the perfect soundtrack to your day, look no further than East Quay Venue in Whitstable. The original oyster grading room of the Seasalter and Ham Fishery Company, it is packed full of coastal charm. Mermaid-style dresses mandatory. Find more info here.
Polurrian on the Lizard, Cornwall
This spectacular Edwardian hotel on the Lizard Peninsula makes a wonderfully dramatic prospect for a wedding, teetering as it does atop clifftops. Its own private beach, Polurrian Cove, and its twelve acres, with views that stretch from Mullion to St Michael's Mount, supply a plethora of scenic spots in which you might tie the knot. You can book the whole property, with its 41 bedrooms, or opt for non-exclusive use for a smaller affair. Every wedding is bespoke, from the menus to the decorations. Coastal charm in spades. Find more info here.
Cornwall Manor, Oxfordshire
Anyone who has ever been lucky enough to go to a wedding at the exquisite Georgian-fronted Cornwall Manor will attest to its sheer romance. But you’ll need to have secured an invitation to know; it’s closed to the public, and available only for private hire in its entirety – and for a minimum of three days. That includes all 2000 acres, a privately owned hamlet, a swimming pool and extensive beautiful gardens. There are a variety of permutations as to how you might choose to celebrate your wedding here; perhaps you might opt for a ceremony in the ballroom? Or maybe a church wedding and a marquee is more your style? Or it could be a rustic affair in the fields that has your heart aflutter. A truly bespoke affair, this is a place that is synonymous with legendary weddings. Find more info here.
The Bleeding Heart, London
What better named venue for a wedding than The Bleeding Heart in Bleeding Heart Yard? Handily, this Clerkenwell stalwart is adjoined to a medieval crypt at St Ethelreda’s that makes an atmospheric wedding venue for up to 120 guests, while the excellent food is supplied by the French restaurant of the same name. Any newlyweds who hold their wedding breakfast here will be forming part of a long and illustrious line; Henry VIII himself once held a three-day wedding feast on the site in 1531 (don’t let his woeful marriage record put you off). Simply book and The Bleeding Heart’s charming team will take care of the rest. Find more info here.
Alfriston Gardens, Sussex
Alfriston Gardens in Berwick, East Sussex, is set within two acres of land amidst the South Downs National Park. Natural beauty is, then, in plentiful supply. Its barns are rustic, magical and charming, while the gardens are maintained by RHS Chelsea Flower Show Gold Medalist, Juliet Sargeant. There’s accommodation at the Lavender Lodge, too, which makes an ideal bridal suite, while a hotel on site is currently under construction. Find more info here.
Sopley Mill, Dorset
We can think of few more picturesque spots for a country wedding than a renovated watermill flanked on both sides by the River Avon and with views that stretch across the idyllic water meadows. Couples must hire the mill in its entirety and can choose whether to bring in outside suppliers or to opt for help from the venue (the latter is only available for off-peak weddings). It holds 100 guests for the ceremony and 140 for the reception. There is parking for 80 cars, making it super-practical too. Find more info here.
Hedsor House, Buckinghamshire
If you’re looking for a classic country wedding a stone’s throw from the capital, Hedsor House is a brilliant option. Set amid parkland, you can choose between the Centre Hall (which seats 60 guests) or the Grand Ballroom (150 guests). And should you want to be married in church, the 12th-century St Nicholas’ is just a short walk away. Find more info here.
Newton Hall, Northumberland
All hail this glorious Georgian boutique hotel, which is both architecturally stunning and dreamily situated. Right on the beach, this Alnwick idyll has a plethora of choices for couples preparing to get hitched; you can choose to be wed right by the shore, or in the enchanted chapel in its grounds, making the only tricky element having to choose. There are 21 rooms for guests and the whole affair is that happy thing: exquisite and romantic while remaining unstuffy and informal. Find more info here.
Coworth Park, Berkshire
There are 240 acres of beautiful parkland at the stunning Coworth Park, which forms part of the Dorchester Collection, meaning that there will be near endless picture-perfect opportunities for your wedding snapper. A 45-minute drive from London, it is an ideal country affair for city folk, whether you hire the whole house, or opt for a smaller get together in the Dower House, a private house with views across the lake. Classic, elegant, and the perfect way to start married life. Find more info here.
Stubton Hall, Lincolnshire
Stubton Hall, an elegant Regency house on the borders of Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire, is situated in twenty-four acres of park and gardens on the edge of a small village. Only five miles from Newark and its fast rail connection to London (just over an hour), it makes the ideal place for a celebration. Lovingly restored to its former glory by its owner, it is more a charming home (nothing corporate here) where you can hold your wedding and have the house and grounds all to yourself. Find more info here.
This breath-taking 18th-century house at the foot of the Slieve Bloom Mountains
is a dream location for a wedding. From the ballroom to the State Dining Room, views are over the water cascade. Interiors, meanwhile, are all opulence; indeed, the Downton set wouldn’t baulk at the splendour on offer here. Why not start married life the way you mean to go on? Find more info here.
Anyone who knows the rugged North Norfolk coastline will be familiar with the resplendent jewel that is Holkham Hall, right on the doorstep of one of the most glorious sandy, dune-studded beaches in the country. Others might know it best as the place where Lady Glenconner – the octogenarian author of the bestselling Lady in Waiting – grew up, socialising with The Queen and Princess Margaret (she later became said lady in waiting for the latter. Sitting amid a 25,000-acre estate, the Palladian mansion could scarcely be more ravishing. And it’s all the more special for the fact that Holkham Hall deliberately does not churn out wedding parties every weekend, preferring to limit the numbers and therefore make every single one as special as can be. As they say, ‘Bohemian woodland weddings, luxury marquee receptions, twinkling parties and extraordinary moments under the Marble Hall’s 50ft domed ceiling. No matter what the occasion, every Holkham wedding is as unique as the couple at the heart of it.’ Perfection. Find more info here.
By Nancy Alsop
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