My 12 favourite countryside wedding venues…
It’s surprisingly tricky to start picking favourite wedding venues. Originally I planned one post but there are so many I want to mention it had to be two posts! I have split these into ‘countryside wedding venues’ and ‘city wedding venues‘. The countryside ones are surrounded by greenery and are close to the countryside or within a large park. The city ones are based within or close to a city or town. There are a couple of venues that are in both lists as they cross over a little in terms of where they are situated and what they offer.
I have worked at all these venues a number of times and am a recommended photographer at many of them.
Many of the decisions and choices are based on the look of a place. I’m a photographer, a visual person, so the aesthetics of a venue are what really grab me initially. That and the light! Definitely the light. Nothing makes me happier than a venue with tons of beautiful natural light. I love venues that have something unique about them. Places that offer little areas that are pretty, or quirky. Venues with gorgeous gardens and beautifully designed exteriors that have a wow factor. Somewhere that offers amazing backdrops and fabulous photo opportunities as well as being great for a celebration!
So here are a few of my favourite countryside wedding venues. There are a few and they are in no particular order. Enjoy!
1. Preston Court
I have worked at Preston Court a couple of times and it’s such an amazing place in the heart of the Kent countryside. A beautiful barn with working vintage dance hall organs, landscaped gardens, a lake, a vintage caravan, peacocks strutting around the place and a working Victorian carousel. There is something quite magical about this location, I’m always excited when I get enquiries through for weddings here. To make it even better (can you get better than an actual carousel?) you can get married outside, under a gorgeous little gazebo in the middle of the lake.
2. Pembroke Lodge
This is one place I am always happy to work. Pembroke Lodge is situated at the highest point in Richmond Park, which means it has stunning views over the Thames Valley. The building itself is a Grade II listed Georgian Mansion and is surrounded by beautifully landscaped grounds. There are two indoor spaces for weddings with outdoor areas for reception drinks. They have recently set up the outside terrace for outdoor wedding ceremonies too. The building and gardens are beautiful and the location is wonderful, being in the middle of the park. The thing that makes this venue really special though is the people who work there. Nothing is too much trouble and they make sure everything runs smoothly.
I’m so happy to be a recommended supplier for Pembroke Lodge, I’ve photographed there many times, so do check out my Pembroke Lodge weddings here.
3. Busbridge Lakes
You can’t get much more idyllic than Busbridge Lakes. Picture yourself arriving through the arch of the old stone coach house and across the cobbled courtyard. You turn through the black swans wrought iron gates and see the enchanting grounds ahead of you. Your marquee or tipi sits on the main lawn next to the Canal Lake, surrounded by formal lawns and magnificent old trees. Busbridge Lakes is also a bird sanctuary and home to one of the largest collections of waterbirds in the country, with cranes and peafowl gracing the lawns. As you enjoy your reception drinks and canapes you will be able to watch the swans gliding on the lake. I have photographed a couple of weddings here and it really is the most beautiful place.
4. Nonsuch Mansion
I love this venue. A stunning Georgian building with lots of natural light, surrounded by vast lawns and landscaped gardens and situated on the edge on Nonsuch Park. There’s a beautiful dressing room tucked away upstairs, which is a perfect spot for morning prep. The rooms are large and light and there are lots of unique features both inside and out. It’s always a pleasure to work there and I cannot wait to get back and a wedding at Nonsuch Mansion soon.
5. Coworth Park
Coworth Park is a luxurious country house hotel is situated in picturesque parklands on the borders of Windsor Great Park. It’s a wonderful balance of high-end style without any of the stuffiness you might expect from such a beautiful place. The landscaped gardens offer a mix of styles with a beautiful wildflower field and ponds with swans sitting next to tree-lined pathways, a sunken water garden and a rose garden. You really are spoiled for choice on where to do photos. The inside is just as wonderful. Elegant design with lots of natural light and high ceilings. Basically, a very lovely place to get married and to celebrate your wedding.
6. Wadhurst Castle
I photographed my first wedding at Wadhurst Castle last Summer and cannot wait to go back. This hidden gem lies in the heart of an area of outstanding natural beauty on the borders of Kent and Sussex. It’s a wonderful countryside wedding venue with the most stunning gardens and beautiful views. You can choose to have an outdoor wedding in the walled garden or have your ceremony in one of the beautiful indoor spaces. Either way, this is a fabulous venue with a friendly and efficient team and very good food!
7. The Larmer Tree Gardens
Wow, wow, wow! I have only photographed one wedding at Larmer Tree and I was instantly blown away by the place. An amazing 11-acre of gardens are set in the heart of Cranborne Chase, an area of outstanding natural beauty on the Wiltshire/Dorset border well away from the hustle and bustle of busy modern life. The Larmer Tree Gardens are an extraordinary example of Victorian extravagance and vision. The gardens hold a unique collection of ornate buildings, ranging from the spectacular Singing Theatre to the magical Roman Temple. The majestic trees and intimate arbours create secrecy and surprise whilst the open lawns provide a perfect setting for reception drinks and a relaxing game of croquet. The magical garden welcomes guests to wander through hidden walkways, unwind on the lawns and to discover the unique charm of this beautiful setting.
8. Oaks Farm
This is one of the venues that appear on both the countryside and the city list. You might be mistaken for thinking you are in the middle of the countryside on an idyllic farm A little surprisingly Oaks Farm is only a few miles from Croydon and Bromley. I have photographed weddings here a number of times and each time it’s a joy. Spacious enough to wander and have room for your guests, but small enough to feel intimate and cosy. It’s a tranquil little spot with a picturesque lily pond to one side and a large lawn with fruit and blossom trees at the back. There are three indoor spaces to make use of, the newly converted stables, the light-filled elegant orangery and the oak-beamed barn. Perfect for a relaxed wedding with a touch of the countryside, but with easy access to London.
9. Gaynes Park
Always a joy to work at, Gaynes Park is a stylish wedding venue, set in the grounds of a historic country estate. It blends modern and rustic with a mill barn, an orangery, a beautiful walled garden and modern accommodation. The picturesque venue is surrounded by British countryside made up of farmland and woodland, with the London skyline visible in the distance.
10. Ratsbury Barn
A perfect spot for a festival, country garden, laid back wedding. Ratsbury Barn is a magnificent 17th-century timber-framed and thatched barn located in an area of ‘outstanding natural beauty’ near Tenterden in Kent. The barn itself is very pretty and has such rustic charm with floor to roof doors on one side and a smaller exit to the other that leads straight into an orchard. Alongside is a walled garden and a pond with a pretty bridge. A large tree provides perfect shade for a summers day and the grassed area gives great scope for games and fun during the day’s celebrations.
11. Leeds Castle
Next is Leeds Castle in Kent. A breathtaking building that is over 900 years old with battlements, a moat and acres of parkland. It is simply stunning. Leeds Castle has been a Norman stronghold; the private property of six of England’s medieval queens; a palace used by Henry VIII and his first wife Catherine of Aragon; a Jacobean country house; a Georgian mansion; an elegant early 20th-century retreat for the influential and famous. It has so much history that it offers something a little bit extra as a venue for a wedding. The opportunity to get ready in one of the Castle bedrooms while your guests relax in the Library or outside in the Courtyard is very special. Not to mention the entrance down the stone staircase and then the opportunity for photos in the grounds and around the Palace. This is an amazing venue that is happily very friendly and relaxed, even with the grand and awe-inspiring setting.
12. Eltham Palace
Eltham Palace is the second venue that fits in both the countryside and city list. It’s in South London, but because of where it’s located it has a real countryside feel. A wonderful mix of Medieval and Art Deco makes this a truly unique venue. There are so many amazing places for photos, you feel a bit spoiled for choice. It’s looked after by English Heritage and has three elegant Art Deco rooms, a stunning medieval Great Hall and beautiful moated gardens. It’s a really special place to get married or have your wedding reception.
Find out more about each of these countryside wedding venues:
- Preston Court
- Pembroke Lodge
- Busbridge Lakes
- Nonsuch Mansion
- Coworth Park
- Wadhurst Castle
- Larmer Tree Gardens
- Oaks Farm
- Gaynes Park
- Ratsbury Barn
- Leeds Castle
- Eltham Palace
I hope you have enjoyed this look at some of my favourite countryside wedding venues. What I love most of all is that all my couples choose to marry in places that are right for them. The venues and wedding styles reflect who they are and what they want from their day.
I would love to know your thoughts on wedding venues. Have you chosen yours? What type of place are you looking at?
Thanks for popping by
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