All managed by the English Heritage Trust, these seven historic wedding venues allow you to immerse yourself in the past and write the next chapter in your own history
English Heritage cares for hundreds of historic places with amazing stories to tell, but it doesn’t just conserve these sites behind closed doors – hundreds of couples are welcomed each and every year to celebrate their weddings in the grandest of styles at castles, palaces and stately homes. Here’s seven of our favourite locations where you can say ‘I do’…
Osborne, Isle of Wight
Best for: Coastal Weddings
Osborne is a stunning Italianate house set amid glorious gardens and a sweeping estate –and it even has its own private beach.
It’s a venue fit for royalty – it was once the seaside retreat of Queen Victoria and her beloved Prince Albert. Victoria described Osborne as “a perfect little paradise”, and Albert helped to design the house and the gardens. Theirs was one of the great romances of English history, and today you can hold your own wedding in the house that this royal couple called home.
With a range of sumptuous rooms in the house and flexible outdoor spaces throughout the estate – including a private beach – Osborne is the perfect venue for your wedding, whether you’re planning a grand party for thousands of guests or an intimate occasion for a handful of family and friends.
Eltham Palace, London
Best for: Stately Home Weddings
The decadence of art deco meets the magnificence of the medieval era at Eltham Palace, which recently won a bronze award at the London Venue Awards. Once the boyhood home of Henry VIII, it was transformed in the 1930s by Virginia and Stephen Courtauld. They were wealthy socialites who loved entertaining their guests in style, and you can do the same as you celebrate your big day in this remarkable venue.
There are several wonderful spaces to choose from. You can exchange your vows under the domed roof in the curved Entrance Hall, enjoy drinks on the terrace or the drawing room, and dine in splendour in the grand medieval Great Hall with its stunning hammer-beamed ceiling.
Wrest Park, Bedfordshire
Best for: Stately Home Weddings
Wrest Park is a chateau-inspired country house set amid show-stopping grounds filled with sweeping waterways, woodland avenues and charming garden buildings.
In the 19th century Wrest was a venue for glittering dinners and balls put on by its owners, the aristocratic de Grey family. Choose to hold your wedding in either the elegant formal rooms on the ground floor, the dazzling glass orangery or a in marquee in the gardens.
Pendennis Castle, Cornwall
Best for: Castle Weddings
Pendennis Castle sits on a grassy headland on the windswept Cornish coast. This Tudor fortress guarded Falmouth’s docks for hundreds of years and provides stunning views of the estuary and the seas that surround it.
Your wedding can be held in the atmospheric keep, in a marquee on the castle’s lawns or in the Edwardian Royal Artillery Barracks, which has recently been transformed into a stylish banqueting suite with a choice of contemporary rooms to host your reception.
Ranger’s House, London
Best for: City weddings
This handsome Georgian redbrick villa on the edge of Greenwich Park is packed full of priceless treasures from the collection of a Victorian diamond magnate. You can hold your wedding in the Gallery, where the walls are lined with paintings and chandeliers throw sparkling light onto the wooden floors below.
The Walled Garden is a secluded spot for your guests to enjoy drinks and canapés on the lawn, or to dance the night away in a marquee.
Old Wardour Castle, Wiltshire
Best for: Castle weddings
Old Wardour Castle is a charming six-sided castle set within a wooded valley in the heart of the Wiltshire countryside.
During its golden years Old Wardour Castle would have been a hive of activity, but damage during the Civil War left it a picturesque ruin. Weddings can be held in a room inside the castle or beneath the towering entrance arch. There’s also an airy Pavilion dating back to the 18th century that’s perfect for ceremonies, drinks, dinner and summer entertaining.
Best for: City Weddings
This glittering white mansion offers a taste of rural life in the heart of the city. Perched on the fringes of Hampstead Heath, Kenwood was built as a country retreat in the 18th century, and today it is still surrounded by greenery, boasting commanding views over the famous buildings of central London.
You can hold your wedding in range of rooms inside the house itself, or dance and dine beneath the canopy of a marquee in the flower garden.