Finding a great wedding venue can a be a tricky business. Sure there are numerous mansions, stately homes, swanky bars and country retreats to choose from but what about if you’re looking for something truly unique? If you start to view all prospective venues through this lense, you may well find that all of a sudden your options become very limited – once you’ve seen one Manor House, you’ve seen them all…
But do not fear, because help is at hand – we have put together thirteen of the most unique wedding venues that London and the home counties have to offer. From haunted crypts, through to glitzy cabaret venues, magic inspired spaces and theme park adventures – we’ve got you covered.
Have a browse below and do drop us a comment if you end up at one of our suggested venues for your wedding!
Where? The Coca-Cola London Eye, London
What? Take your vows on the world famous London Eye
Why? Ever dreamt about tying the knot 135m above London while taking in one of the world’s most famous skylines? The Coca-Cola London Eye offers just that, with a range of ceremony options that can include flowers, canapés, champagne and of course your own civil ceremony co-ordinator. The capsules can host a maximum of up to 19 guests making them perfect for intimate ceremonies. There is also the option of using Sea Life London Aquarium, Shrek’s Adventure, London Dungeons and Madame Tussauds as additional venues, once you are back on terra firma. For those of you that haven’t quite taken the plunge as yet, The Eye also offer a proposal package, complete with a private capsule, champagne, a host, champagne truffles and a photographer to capture that special moment.
Picture courtesy of: Flickr
Where? Natural History Museum, London
What? The home of dinosaurs
Why? London’s world famous museum is home to life and earth science specimens comprising of over 80 million items. A centre for a research as well as a huge tourist attraction, this is one of the finest museums of its kind in the world. With its iconic Victorian architecture and soaring arches, it provides many different settings for you and your guests to dine and dance the night away. Choose the Fossil room – home to some of the most complete fossils of prehistoric sea animals in the world. Or the Earth’s Treasury, where you will be seated amongst gold nuggets, Stonehenge rock and the Museum’s very own ‘kryptonite’. Dino-fans will love Earth Hall, which comes complete with its very own resident Stegosaurus fossil.
Where? Severndroog Castle, London
What? A gothic-style tower
Why? This towering castle, inexplicably situated on the summit of Shooters Hill in South East London was built in 1784 by Lady James as an expression of love to commemorate the achievements of her late husband, Sir William James. With a gesture as romantic as this as the foundation of the castle there can be few better places for you to tie the knot. The castle is surrounded by a woodland which provides a perfect backdrop for outdoor ceremonies as well as being a fantastic place for taking photos. With a maximum capacity of 55 guests, this is a venue perfect for small to medium sized gatherings and with views across London available from the top of the tower, this is well worth consideration.
Picture courtesy of: Flickr
Where? HMS President, London
What? Early 1900s Naval vessel
Why? Built in 1918, HMS President is a Flower-class anti-submarine Q-Ship and is said to be one of the last three surviving Royal Navy warships built during the First World War. She is moored amidst some of London’s most famous landmarks including St Paul’s Cathedral, Tate Modern, the London Eye and the National Theatre and boasts incredible Thames-side views. The ship is decorated with a plethora of original fixtures and fittings and its upper deck is home to an original Georgian Ballroom. The HMS President also offers a package that provides a solo pianist to play on its original 1900s grand piano to really put you in that turn-of-the-century mood.
Where? Pinewood Studios, London
What? Historic film studios
Why? Pinewood Studios is built around Heatherden Hall, a 19th century Grade II listed mansion and is set in 6.7 acres of gardens. The premises has had a fascinating history with a catalogue of notable owners but it really made its mark when the decision was made to turn it into a film studio. The first movie was shot here in 1936 and by its 60th anniversary Pinewood had produced over 600 films; including “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang”, “Oliver Twist”, “Great Expectations”, “The Great Gatsby”, Batman, the “Carry On” films, Star Wars and most of the “James Bond” adventures. Pinewood also boasts stately rooms, spectacular gardens, an ornamental bridge, a secret cave and offers a variety of packages and spaces for a variety of different weddings.
Where? Cafe de Paris, London
What? Opulent dining and cabaret venue
Why? Located in the heart of London’s Piccadilly, Cafe de Paris is one London’s glitziest (literally) venues, complete with a history that dates back over nine decades to its opening in 1924. Down the years it has played host to patrons such as the Prince of Wales, Mick Jagger, Boy George, Naomi Campbell, Grace Kelly, Andy Warhol and Noel Coward and since undergoing an extensive restoration project between 1996 and 1999 – having fallen into disrepair for a number of years – the venue has been at the forefront of London’s cabaret and burlesque revival. If you are looking to inject some glitz, glamour, cabaret and perhaps even some burlesque into your wedding day then look no further – and make sure to pack a feather boa.
Picture Courtesy of: Nick Rose Photography
Where? Hampton Court Palace, Surrey
What? Royal Palace in the borough of Richmond-upon-Thames
Why? Built by Thomas Wolsey in 1515, Hampton Court Palace is one of the UK’s most prestigious and history-steeped destinations. It is – along with St James’s Palace – one of only two surviving palaces previously owned by King Henry VIII and has been home to a multitude of Kings and Queens since. Whether you are planning a big showstopper of a wedding or a more intimate do, Hampton Court Palace has a wide selection of options, all boasting unique and stirring atmospheres as well as formal gardens, elegant cobbled courtyards and stunning Tudor and Baroque architecture. If you are looking for a wedding venue with real historic weight and pedigree then it is hard to imagine somewhere better.
Picture courtesy of: Flickr
Where? Dreamland, Kent
What? Dreamland Theme Park in Margate
Why? Is there anything more fun than going to a theme park? The answer is yes – getting married in one! With packages catering for anywhere between 20 and 800 guests, Dreamland can offer different spaces to suit virtually any sized celebration. The venue is home to an elegant vintage ballroom, a sunny tree top bar, a roller disco and VIP huts – not to mention being able to open up a number of theme park rides when the park is closed to the public. With the added bonus of sea views, roof top bars and a number of off-site accommodation options, this is a wedding venue that nobody is going to forget in a hurry.
Where? The Crypt at Bleeding Heart, London
What? A magical medieval crypt
Why? The 600 year–old Crypt that sits below what was once the palace of the Bishops of Ely at St Etheldreda’s in the centre of London has a rather royal claim to fame. It is here that King Henry VIII held a three-day wedding feast to celebrate his marriage to Catherine of Aragon all the way back in 1509. Today The Crypt serves the same fantastic food as the legendary, Bleeding Heart French Restaurant and offers a multitude of different wedding packages, all in this magnificent and uniquely historic setting.
Where? House of Magic, London
What? Victorian mansion, complete with enchanted garden.
Why? The House of Magic was built by prominent magician Simon Drake – who once toured with Kate Bush on her ‘Tour of Life’ – as his residence, nearly 20 years ago. The venue is set in an “unsuspecting residential street” and offers bespoke packages including blindfolded limousine or horse drawn carriage rides to the gates of the venue, where guests then enter via the ‘Enchanted Garden’ – an ancient woodland glade set in a haunted castle ruin. Simon describes the house as “a self-contained island of entertainment” where guests can be startled and amazed to varying degrees by some of the UK’s best close-up magicians. The House of Magic is one one of the best-kept secrets in London and offers truly immersive and memorable experiences sure to live long in the memory of all its guests.
Where? Castle Gibson MC Motors, London
What? Former car workshop in east London
Why? MC Motors is a building in the heart of super-trendy, Dalston that has previously been occupied by a boiler maintenance depot, the Metropolitan Waterboard and most recently a car mechanics (hence the name). These days it has been cleared to house a 6,000 sq/ft space used for everything from music videos through to photo shoots, art exhibitions and of course, weddings. The whole space is adjoined by a skylighted roof which has an untouched Victorian street running through the middle of it and the venue is complimented by a number of textured, naturally dilapidated walls that give the building genuine character. There are a number of different floors and rooms available for differing tastes but all with the same ramshackle, ‘Aladdin’s cave’ type feel to them making this venue a real photographer’s dream.
Picture courtesy of: Kris Piotrowski Photography
Where? The Barbican Centre, London
What? Prototypical central London venue
Why? Described as one of the most iconic Brutalist buildings in the world, London’s Barbican Centre is a venue with a huge amount to offer. The Conservatory is a spectacular space and can accommodate up to 80 guests – a hidden tropical oasis which is home to finches, quails, exotic fish and over 2,000 species of tropical plants and trees. For larger groups the Conservatory Terrace has a capacity of 120 guests for the ceremony and afterwards, guests can enjoy drinks and canapés before moving through to the Garden Room for the wedding breakfast and evening reception. This space has floor to ceiling windows on each side providing fantastic views of the City and the world-famous Barbican Lakes.
Where? Hedsor House, Buckinghamshire
What? A Manor House with a difference.
Why? Built in 1166 by the same architect responsible for the magnificent, Somerset House and set in a picturesque position high above the River Thames – this Manor House is steeped in history and set in 100 acres of historic parkland and Grade II listed gardens. The house was once the home of Dowager Princess of Wales (who was also the founder of Kew Gardens) and regularly played host to Kings, Queens and other royals from nearby Windsor Castle. The venue also boasts a kilometre-long driveway, highland cattle and endless fields of Bluebells – perfect for creating incredible wedding pictures.