FAST FORWARD! While venues may be closed, we take a look beyond lockdown restrictions and visit some of the UK’s best wedding venues. As part of our ‘Fast Forward’ series, we’re looking back to the hotels, restaurants and destinations that we’ll be booking just as soon as we possibly can.
Wedding season is here! Cue brides-to-be poring over mood boards like serial killers or maverick cops, with every potential look, style and moment mapped.
While the world might be looking somewhat differently right now, wedding planning never ceases and you can still get planning for that special day in the somewhat near future.
Whether you’re planning sophisticated city nuptials, a whimsical garden reception or a laid-back pub knees-up, there really is a wedding venue that’ll fulfil all of your childhood dreams. Here’s our guide to wedding venues in, and beyond, the city – your Pinterest dreams can come true after all…
There’s something innately majestic about the Roman Baths in Bath. Maybe it’s the flickering waters at sunset, or the grandeur Roman architecture surrounding, either way it makes for the perfect backdrop to any wedding photo. Expect gas torches to be lit, steaming waters and one hell of a wedding do.
To get a feel of the space, you can do a walk-through tour of the venue and see if you can picture you and your fiancée walking down the aisle.
Where: Abbey Churchyard, Bath, BA1 1LZ
Stunning scenery? Check. Untouchable interiors? Check. British sunshine? Er, well we can’t quite guarantee that but the rolling countryside and glorious interiors at Holkham Hall are well worth the visit to see if they’re right for your big day.
Renowned for throwing elaborate parties for centuries, Holkham Hall has become a wedding venue of dreams for many, and with an entrance hall like that, it’s easy to see why.
When you imagine walking down the aisle, your mind doesn’t immediately flash to thoughts of a life-size giraffe awaiting at the end. But at Aynhoe Park, alongside your soon-to-be husband, that’s exactly what you’ll find awaiting you.
Nuzzled inside this historic Oxfordshire manor, you’ll find unique little quirks around every corner, all of which help add a special touch to your already special day. It’s effortless, it’s beautiful and we’re wanting to book in too…
Where: Aynhoe, Banbury, Oxfordshire, OX17 3BQ
With so many of London’s iconic buildings and attractions right on its doorstep, the London Marriott Hotel County Hall is the ideal venue if you’re looking to plan outings for your wedding party, or want your wedding photos against classic London backdrops.
There are over twelve rooms to choose from depending on your style and party size, but we love the grand King George V event space as it can host up to 100 for a reception or 72 for a banquet.
Where: London County Hall, Westminster Bridge Road, Lambeth, SE1 7PB
Here comes the bride…
Abrim with intimate spaces and ornate features, the Kimpton Fitzroy London makes for the perfect venue for those wanting a little city romance. The hotel’s Grade II listed ballroom can hold up to 200 guests and is home to its very own private entrance on Bernard Street and plethora of stained-glass windows too. It’s truly magical.
For those wanting to keep things intimate, Kimpton Fitzroy London also offers micro weddings for 15 too, which are just as special as a wedding for 150. From an intimate ceremony and candlelight dinner in their heritage listed ballroom to stand-up cocktails and canapés in their tree-lined Palm Court, or one of the eight unique event spaces – the choice is yours.
Sheraton Grand London Park Lane is home to one of the most magnificent ballrooms in London. The Grade II listed ballroom not only has its own entrance and sprung maple dance floor but it is also one of the best examples of Art Deco. If you’re planning a big wedding then you can sit up to 500 for dinner and dancing.
The wedding planners will work alongside you to create one very special day and can offer intimate wedding packages too, perfect for these Covid times or for something small and special.
Where: Piccadilly, Mayfair, W1J 7BX
See in your marriage with unrivalled sky-high views across London when you spend it at Searcys at The Gherkin.
Whether you’re looking for a lavish affair with all of your friends or you’re looking for a more intimate affair with your nearest and dearest, Searcys can adapt to any size or style of your special day, and offers breathtaking views over the city. Options include a private dining room, which is decorated with your special items and theme with tonnes of natural light flooding in from outside.
Nestled on a quiet, elegant street in Mayfair, Brown’s Hotel is the epitome of Mayfair luxury. Licensed for both marriages and civil partnerships, the iconic hotel offers 3 beautiful rooms catering up to 120 guests, including The Roosevelt Room (in honour of the American President himself who stayed at the hotel before marrying Edith Kermit Carow in 1886), The Niagara Room, which connects to adjacent Roosevelt for larger parties, and The Clarendon Room, a breath-taking setting with ornate Victorian ceilings and crystal chandeliers – The Handbook’s favourite. And with food from Michelin-starred chef Adam Byatt, what more can you ask for?
Where: Albemarle Street, Mayfair, W1S 4BP
Slotted just a stone’s throw away from Buckingham Palace and other major London landmarks, 116 Pall Mall is a stunning Regency Georgian wedding venue that’ll satisfy your Bridgerton obsession.
Out the back there’s a hidden tranquil garden that’s perfect for wedding receptions and for snapping up the all important photos so you can remember the day for years to come. To coincide with the Covid regulations, they’ve also created an intimate micro wedding package for up to 15 guests if you don’t want to wait. Think intimate fine dining under twinkling lighting in breath-taking surroundings.
116 Pall Mall is offering The Handbook readers an exclusive offer. Book your wedding at 116 Pall Mall and receive a complimentary menu tasting with wine pairing. To redeem the offer, quote HANDBOOK WINE PAIRING when making an enquiry via the form on the 116 website.*
*Offer applies on weddings of any size. Wedding must be booked before 31sy May & can take place anytime after. Only one offer can be used at a time.
Where: 116 Pall Mall, Westminster, SW1Y 5ED
Perched high up on Richmond Hill, the hotel has sweeping views of the Thames and lush meadows below.
If you want a scenic wedding in London then look no further than The Petersham. Perched high up on Richmond Hill, the hotel has sweeping views of the Thames and lush meadows below – the ideal backdrop to your wedding photos.
The Victorian building is packed with character, with an impressive sweeping staircase, huge chandeliers and marble floors but the view is what separates it from the rest. Tie the knot in an intimate ceremony for 30 of your nearest and dearest in the River Room before stepping out onto your own private terrace for Champagne and canapés.
Where: The Petersham Hotel, Nightingale Lane, Richmond, TW10 6UZ
Escape the hustle and bustle of city life and celebrate your special day in the country. At Great Fosters, you can exchange your vows in The Orangery before making your way onto the terrace for reception drinks with a gorgeous backdrop of the ornate gardens and parkland. Don’t forget to slip off into the gardens for your couple wedding photos.
From intimate civil ceremonies to receptions for up to 100 guests, celebrate your special day in the clouds with the enchanting backdrop of London at Shangri-La Hotel at The Shard London. From day to night, watch the magical sights of the city unfold from the grand staircase and double-height windows, providing the perfect setting for wedding photographs.
Their dedicated wedding specialist, Marta Bomprezzi will help curate the perfect day for you and your partner, and make your wedding dreams come to life. Enquire within to get your plans started.
WherE: 31 St Thomas Street, SE1 9QU
Tucked away in the heart of Hammersmith, members’ space Kindred is the statement spot you’ll want your wedding at. Based in the Grade II listed Bradmore House, the venue combines heritage features with modern elegance for ceremonies and receptions. It’s filled with sweeping natural light from high arched Georgian windows and blends rustic charm thanks to the reclaimed wooden floors alongside the contemporary touches.
The venue offers three packages for parties up to 30 people, perfect during these Covid times, and offers five star catering from their on-site restaurant, The Cellar. Kindred also works with a trusted list of suppliers including Meghan Markle-approved social enterprise The Luminary Bakery.
One venue that knows a thing or two about hosting a stellar wedding venue is South Place Hotel.
One venue that knows a thing or two about hosting a stellar wedding venue is South Place Hotel. Nuzzled in the hub of The City, the hotel has two stylish rooms that help provide the perfect backdrop for any wedding photo. Those looking for a summer special, the Secret Garden is a tropical oasis seating up to 80 guests, and has a retractable roof too so if you aren’t graced with the British sunshine, you can rest assured your pristine dress isn’t getting ruined.
Where: 3 South Place, EC2M 2AF
For a luxurious wedding to remember, you’ll want to celebrate the day in one of Corinthia’s four unique settings. Let the dedicated wedding team take control of everything from the cake to the flowers, delivering everything with the standard you’d expect of a 5-star hotel or say ‘I Do’ in a church nearby and head over for your reception. Nothing here is overlooked – you can even request to use the penthouse suite as the setting for your photos. Sweeping views of London and first class service – what’s not to love?
For a truly unique affair, try Battersea Power Station. The recently regenerated area provides the perfect and unique backdrop for weddings and engagement parties, from Megan’s that’s laden with fairy lights and handmade furniture and looks as it’s out of a fairytales, to Cinnamon Kitchen, which has a hireable floating mezzanine and offers delicious pan-Indian cuisine.
There are magical moments to be made at Circus West Village. Just imagine how great your wedding photos will look as you pose along the Coaling Jetty and Piazza.
For an elegant wedding, where tradition meets partying then look to The Lanesborough. There are seven dining rooms and event spaces to choose from based on your party size, but for us it’s all about The Belgravia, one of the finest dining rooms in London sitting up to 100 guests.
When it comes to the details, the in-house floral designers will be on hand to dress the room, the head sommelier will pair the wines to the menu that will have been overseen by the brigade of talented Michelin-starred chefs.
Where: Hyde Park Corner, SW1X 7TA
Once the romantic venue which saw Mark Wright and Michelle Keegan waltz down the aisle, Hengrave Hall is home to its own intimate chapel, ornate gardens and luxe bedrooms. Hidden inside the heart of Suffolk’s rolling countryside, this Tudor mansion will help add a sparkle to your very special day.
Hidden inside the heart of Suffolk’s rolling countryside, this Tudor mansion will help add a sparkle to your very special day.
Where: Hengrave Hall, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, IP28 6LZ
This luxury hotel in London enjoys an unrivalled setting on Regent Street where the elegance of Mayfair, energy of Soho and sophistication of St. James combine. It’s where history, culture, business and the stage are just steps away.
From the simple to the stately, intimate to extravagant, Hotel Café Royal understands that no two weddings are alike, any more than the two people joining their lives. With it’s own private terrace giving views of Regent Street and Air Street, the Pompadour ballroom at Hotel Cafe Royal is the perfect place for those looking for a central London location. The Grade II listed venue dates back to 1865 and has been restored to a Louis XVI style and features original and ornate detailing. This isn’t for the pared back wedding, it features fluted Corinthian pilasters, mirrored panels with gilded frames and a decorative ceiling depicting scenes of love – love really will be all around.
Where: 68 Regent Street, Piccadilly, W1B 4DY
If you’re looking for a technicoloured dream wedding, the colourful village of Portmeirion has all of your bases covered. Famed for being the stomping set of cult 60s show The Prisoner, Portmeirion has five bespoke packages that’ll help intertwine the magic of the village into your special day.
Where: Portmeirion, Minffordd, Penrhyndeudraeth, Gwynedd, LL48 6ER
Wedding venues don’t come much dreamier than Claridge’s. The Mayfair institution has a certain magic to it, from the charming doormen to that iconic sweeping staircase, the famous chequered floor entrance to the stunning ballroom.
But you don’t have to be hosting a 200+ guest list (good news, seeing as we’re still restricted with numbers), the five-star hotel have a wealth of options, from the intimate and charming Highgrove Room for a modest group of 16 to the fairytale-like ballroom and the utterly romantic Drawing Room.
The happy couple can rest assured everything will be curated to perfection by the Claridge’s team, from the seasonal food under the talent of chef Martyn Nail to the choreographer-in-residence who is on hand to assist with any first dance woes. Plus, if you celebrate your wedding in the Ballroom or French Salon and Drawing Room, you and your partner can look forward to a complimentary stay in one of the hotel’s famous five-star suites.
Where: BROOK STREET, MAYFAIR, W1K 4HR
The grand dome-shaped skylight floods the reception room with natural light for the daytime portion of the celebration.
Head to the City come the weekend and you’ll suddenly find yourself in a serene, historic enclave of glorious architecture, ideal for those picture perfect wedding photo backdrops.
1 Lombard Street is at the heart of this calm cityscape-setting, and can host as many as 400 guests standing, or 60 – 200 guests in The Brasserie. The grand dome-shaped skylight floods the reception room with natural light for the daytime portion of the celebration, while in the evening, the flicker of candlelight sets the tone for the first dance.
Where: 1 Lombard Street, EC3V 9AA
It’s enviable location next to the River Thames means one thing: awesome wedding day photos (weather dependant…). The renowned London venue offers a diverse and flexible range of rooms and spaces, accommodating between eight and 1,500 guests; perfect if you’re very shy or very extravagant! Look up Seamen’s Hall, which oozes stately elegance and iconic views.
Where: Strand, WC2R 1LA
For an opulent wedding breakfast with spectacular live entertainment then you need Park Chinois. Split across two levels, you can divide your time between the Salon which takes you back to the romance of the 1930s and the Club on the lower ground level, home to their famous gold bar where you can dance long into the night.
When it comes to wedding venues with spectacular views then we recommend the historic Flamsteed House at the Royal Observatory Greenwich. For those looking for an intimate wedding breakfast, the Octagon Room is the last surviving interior designed by Wren and gives 360-degree views of Greenwich Park, the Thames and beyond.
Sofitel London St James is all about the details and attentive service. Whether you are after a canapés and Champagne reception in the Kensington suite or you’re looking to host a large wedding breakfast in the Mayfair Suite and want all the bridal parties to have spa treatments the next day. Their wedding planners will work with you on every aspect of the wedding so that you and your guests have the most special day.
Nuzzled next to Fitzrovia’s Grade II* listed chapel, you’ll find Percy & Founders ready to welcome the happy couple and their guests for the wedding reception of dreams. Whether you’re after an intimate affair, or a bigger celebration, Percy & Founders have you covered with their various spaces fit for all wedding sizes.
Where: Fitzroy Place, 1 Pearson Square, W1W 7EY
For a wedding in a venue like no other than you need to book the Ivory Vaults.
For a wedding in a venue like no other than you need to book the Ivory Vaults. One of London’s unique hidden gems, the event space can accommodate up to 450 guests, so no reason to not invite all those family friends your parents insist on inviting. The space is made up of nine intimate dining areas which are interlinked by an open passageway so you can always put the family friends in the corner…
Not only does the Ivory Vaults provide a unique venue but they will also organise the theme, decorations, catering, bar and of course, music.
Where: Ivory House, St Katharine Docks, E1W 1BP
Created with entertaining in mind back in 1622, the Banqueting House in Westminster provides the perfect location for a luxurious wedding.
You’ll enter through the elegant entry hall, following in the footsteps of kings and queens, before climbing the grand staircase and entertaining the Main Hall. With chandeliers and giant pillars, it provides the perfect space to dance and enjoy the special day.
Celebrate your marriage at none other than Finsbury’s The Montcalm Royal London House. The centrally located venue provides the perfect spot for your special day thanks to its elegance and dedicated team who will help make your vision come to life.
From the white onyx stone and silvery grey velvet upholstery to, to Herringbone Parquet flooring, the venue space can host up to 300 guests for dinner and dancing.
Where: 22-25 Finsbury Square, Finsbury, EC2A 1DX
It doesn’t get more royal or romantic than a wedding at Hampton Court Palace. Let your dreams come to life and celebrate the ceremony at one of the UK’s most magical palaces.
There are several rooms and spaces to book in for, from the Little Banqueting House, seating up to 15 guests in line with the Covid guidelines, to the Great Hall, with its stained glass windows and beautiful tapestries seating up to 220 guests. The Orangery and Privy Garden also make for perfect photo opportunities and drinks receptions too, hosting up to 250 guests.