The Uk’s Best kept Devonshire Secret Island To Wed…
Amongst the choppy waters of this 1930s Art Deco hotel, on a private island off the coast of Devon, this is where I got engaged in February, and it couldn’t be a more idyllic location – even in the depths of winter. The occasion sparked dreams of a wedding in flapper style dresses against the glittering backdrop of antique interiors offset by rising surf.
Famous as the preferred writing retreat for Agatha Christie, and as the setting for the TV adaptation of her famed Poirot tale, Evil Under The Sun, the hotel has understandably attracted illustrious guests since it first opened. Notable names on the roster reportedly include Churchill, Eisenhower, Mrs. Simpson and The Beatles, but in truth this is not somewhere you go because of the who’s who of guests, you go because of the magic.
Connected to the mainland by a stretch of beach which welcomes in the tide from both sides, you leave your car at Bigbury-on-Sea and are collected by either a four wheel drive escort or the custom made sea tractor if the tide is in. It’s a chance for brides to make quite an entrance should you choose to hire the island for your wedding. For those looking for extra wow factor, some have been known to arrive by helicopter amidst a cloud of billowing silks.
The small island looks back across an idyllic coastline. As you wander around – a feat achieved in a profoundly short space of time – you can wander to the ‘mermaids pool’ – a natural swimming pool where seawater is trapped within the rocks. Alternatively, have afternoon tea or visit the tiny 700 year old pub next door – the only other building on the island.
Rooms are named after illustrious guests – all 25 of them – so when it comes to wedding hire it’s recommended to take over the whole island for an intimate wedding for 50. Our room was the Cunard suite, named after American activist and socialite Nancy Cunard, heiress to the shipping empire. Key to the rooms charm is a view across the beach back to the mainland from both the bedroom, the freestanding bath and the balcony that spans the width of both bedroom and bathroom.
“For sheer romanticism, Burgh Island Hotel sets a high standard and only those with a heart of steel could resist. I certainly couldn’t.”
The Good Hotel Guide, Editor Adam Raphael
The hotel is known for its can’t-dress-up-too-much black tie dinners each evening, and this is definitely the stuff that glittering weddings are made of. You start with drinks, champagne in our instance, as well as canapés from 6.30pm. Having selected your meal from the daily menu you are duly escorted into the dining room where, under low lighting and artisitic walls, the best of the local area’s produce is served up in exquisite three course fine dining style.
I think perhaps one of the most charming things about Burgh Island as a potential wedding destination is that you can make it as big or as small as you want. Do the whole thing and hire the island – get married there, take over the hotel and really luxuriate in the experience.
There is an increasing trend for low key affairs, but that’s not to say you don’t want to do something really memorable at the same time, and whether you go to Burgh Island with 50 guests or five, you won’t be able to resist the magic and uniqueness that keeps surprising you…
Guest Writer Bonnie Friend – Online Editor of the Good Hotel Guide