Wedding Ideas sent Wersha Bharadwa to decamp at a quintessential Tudor manor house once a regular hangout for William – and where he tied the knot in 1582. Here she writes why Billesley Manor Hotel in Stratford-upon-Avon makes the perfect wedding venue and romantic getaway…
Why you’ll love it
You know the line ‘All the world’s a stage’ from Shakespeare’s As You Like It? Well, it was penned in the library of this very house. When staying or getting married at Billesley Manor, you have The Bard’s birthplace in Stratford-Upon-Avon only an eight minute drive away, Mary Arden’s farm up the road and Anne Hathaway’s cottage around the corner. For literary-loving brides, this is as good as it gets location-wise. There are tennis courts for pre-wedding friendly matches and free bicycles to explore the local area too.
Why get married there
The Tudor mansion has had a revamp since a rebranding by the Hotel Collection but retains most of the same 16th century charm which fascinated Shakespeare himself. You want an English Garden as the backdrop for your wedding? Well, the hotel is surrounded by 11 acres of Warwickshire countryside, not to mention a wedding-album friendly 100 year old topiary garden.
Wedding ceremonies at the house (once a bonafide hunting lodge for royals) are a dream! There’s an 11th century chapel on the grounds (Shakespeare and Anne Hathaway tied the knot here in 1582 even!), where you have a blessing after a ceremony in one of the hotel’s licensed four rooms. All have period features and the topiary suite can accommodate up to 125 guests for a ceremony and 100 guests for a wedding breakfast.
Spacious and filled with beautiful ornate paintings on original dark-wood panelled walls and antique furniture, each room is individually designed. We’re in a four-poster bed in the main historic building and the suite also has a large sofa and seating area. More contemporary rooms are located in the Cedar Barns. Our bathroom is white with a double sink, large bath and shower, plus plenty of Molten Brown goodies.
Having your honeymoon or first night there
The comfy rooms have views over the rolling hills and a TV and DVD player, so you’ll have little inclination to leave. But if you must venture out, you’ll find attentive staff happy to bring walking maps up to your suite and help book tickets at the Royal Shakespeare Company Theatre. The Stuart Restaurant serves up yummy afternoon tea with platefuls of scones, and delicious locally-sourced fare such as wood pigeon breast with puy lentils, mushrooms and pancetta for starters, and loin of Everleigh Farm venison for mains.
What’s the cost?
Double rooms start from £81. The address is Billesley Manor, Alcester, Nr Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, B49 6NF. To book, just call 01789 279955 or visit thehotelcollection.co.uk.