A sense of place

Couples are spoilt for choice when it comes to finding venues for wedding ceremonies and receptions in the West Country. With stately homes and castles, boats and barns, and even a planetarium, it can be hard deciding what to choose for your wedding day. So because we’re nice like that, we’ve put together a guide to some of the best venues in the area to help you make your decision. Sit back, put your feet up, grab a cup of tea and read on…

Park life


Set in 90 acres of rolling green countryside, the newly renovated 16th century country estate of Ellenborough Park is the very picture of a romantic English country house, with its centuries of history, stately limestone architecture, detailed Tudor-style interior and sumptuous furnishings.
There are several places within the grounds where vows can be exchanged, from the beautifully carved sandstone gazebo to the Ellenborough Gallery with its lofty ceilings, glass fronted balcony with tiered seating and original arched windows.
For couples needing to unwind before the big day, the hotel’s onsite spa offers a range of treatments, as well as bespoke wedding make-up and hair services for the wedding day itself.

Tudor treasure


Looking for the wow factor? With its magnificent medieval architecture, impressive Tudor Hall, luxurious bedrooms and walled gardens, Thornbury Castle certainly has this in spades.
If you’re a foodie, the castle has an excellent pedigree when it comes to food and has won many prestigious awards over the years. Head chef Mark Veale uses locally-sourced, seasonal produce for his modern British menu, and will create a delicious wedding breakfast for you and your guests to enjoy.
After the ceremony couples can choose to stay in a variety of luxurious bedchambers including the Duke’s Bedchamber, where Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn once slept and which features an impressive antique four-poster, an open fire and a freestanding bathtub. Or you could opt to spend your first night as a married couple in the Woodstock with its arrow slit windows and secret bathroom.


Bathing in elegance


A visual reminder of Bath’s rich history, Bath’s Historic Buildings are perfect for couples who are inspired by architecture and elegance – or for those who secretly want to be in the pages of a Jane Austen novel for the day. The complex provides a number of venues licensed for civil ceremonies. The Assembly Rooms can offer couples the choice of the Grand Ballroom or the unique Octagon – one of the most popular venues in Bath for civil ceremonies. Or, for something a little different, how about a torch lit ceremony next to the steaming waters of the Roman Baths?
For receptions, you’re equally spoilt for choice. The range of rooms available means Bath’s Historic Buildings can cater for guests ranging from 20 to 300. Go on, unleash your inner Elizabeth and Mr Darcy…

Sweetness and light


Doubletree by Hilton Cadbury House, set in beautiful North Somerset countryside, provides a fantastic mix of traditional and modern for your wedding day. Couples can enjoy luxury surroundings with stunning views and locations for wedding photos, as well as dedicated staff to make the day memorable.
The hotel can cater for large or small marital celebrations from wedding ceremonies to wedding receptions and evening celebrations. It’s licensed to hold civil marriage ceremonies and same gender commitment ceremonies any day of the week and has a number of rooms available for this. Our favourite is the outdoors thatched gazebo, with its spectacular panoramic views of the rolling countryside. The beautiful lake and garden will also provide a great backdrop for your photos – as will the hotel’s lifesize fibreglass cow!


Courting luxury


Sometimes it seems that venues are just made for weddings, and that’s certainly true of Tortworth Court. Lords, knights and dukes all played their part in weaving a rich historical fabric into the building, and today the house is a combination of Victorian splendour and contemporary luxury ideal for weddings.
Tortworth Court has a number of rooms licensed for civil ceremonies and can cater for a range of different-sized receptions. Choose from the grandeur of Moreton’s Library, steeped in character and tradition, or the sublime Orangery with its ornate glass panels. The newly-refurbished Westminster Suite is ideal for larger weddings, or a marquee can also be erected in the grounds, perfect for those mellow summer days.


Fairytale ending


If you dream of being a princess for the day, Berkeley Castle is the venue for you. Made from warm pink stone that glows softly in the sunset, it is intimate in scale, with uneven battlements, small towers and arched doors.
The castle is licensed to hold civil wedding and civil partnership ceremonies in six of the public rooms. In order to ensure exclusivity for couples, the facility is closed to the public on Fridays and Saturdays.
Winter weddings are particularly romantic there, with real fires in the Great Hall and the Long Drawing Room offering a special welcome and atmosphere on a frosty afternoon. Throughout the spring and summer, meanwhile, the gardens and grounds are a stunning backdrop for photographs, which include the Elizabethan terraces, the ornamental lily pond with high-jet fountain (originally the eighth Earl’s swimming pool!) and the mature pine and yew trees surrounding the lawns.


A day at the races


Imagine having a wedding with stunning views across the beautiful Bath countryside. Well, that can be yours at Bath Racecourse, where an exquisite backdrop provides the perfect setting to celebrate your marriage.
Bath Racecourse can cater for every type of wedding, from large wedding receptions to more intimate celebrations. It is also fully licensed for civil weddings and partnership ceremonies, so can accommodate you from ceremony to wedding breakfast through to reception. With a capacity of up to 500, the racecourse is also becoming a popular venue for Asian weddings.
A dedicated event organiser will be with you from start to finish, assisting with preparations, so you can be sure that your wedding will be a runaway success.

Sweeping statement

If a city wedding in the heart of the heritage city of Bath is what you’re after, then look no further than the Royal Crescent Hotel. Sitting in the impressive sweep of Bath’s premier street, the unique character of this hotel makes it an ideal setting for a wedding. Licensed for weddings and civil partnership ceremonies, the property offers an impressive number of elegant rooms in which to mark the occasion.
Set within an acre of grounds and gardens, the hotel can offer award-winning dining as well as the unique Bath House Spa, in-house floristry and the Lady Sophina, a beautiful vintage Thames river launch for private charter – perfect for a post-wedding boat party.

Inn fashion

The Holiday Inn Bristol Filton is an ideal location for a Bristol wedding. It is conveniently located near the M4 motorway and Bristol Airport, yet has beautifully tranquil grounds that form the perfect backdrop for your day.
Holiday Inn Bristol Filton is fully licensed to hold civil ceremonies for up to 280 guests in its bright function rooms. The team of experienced hotel wedding coordinators are dedicated to helping with your arrangements and can advise on all elements of the special day to ensure everything goes as smoothly as possible. Enter your wedding ceremony in style with a red carpet on arrival while the services of your wedding host will keep arrangements running to time. Family and friends are also well looked after with discounts available for their accommodation. And with bespoke wedding packages starting from just £999, this venue is as affordable as it is stylish.

To the manor born


Nestled alongside Castle Combe village in the wooded Bybrook Valley, the Manor House Hotel and Golf Club offers two choices of venues for couples looking to get married in this idyllic Cotswolds spot.
The 14th century manor house is one of the most romantic destinations in the South West to celebrate your marriage and is licensed for ceremonies. For those who like the outdoors, the garden pavilion, which incorporates fluted columns and ornate intricate patterned panels on an octagonal floor plan, is perfect for an outside wedding reception.
Next to the hotel is The Clubhouse, which boasts contemporary décor, breathtaking views of the wooded valley and its own lake – wonderful for the photographs.
This article was written by Helen and first appeared in West Weddings’ sister publication Folio, a monthly magazine celebrating the best in Bristol and Bath. Folio publishes a wedding guide twice a year, so keep an eye out for the next one in Spring 2012.

2 thoughts on “A sense of place

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