Posted by: Natalie | April 10, 2012

If Money Were No Object: Historic Wedding Venues

Being a girl who likes her history, specifically, British history, and also being a girl who can easily get swept along in a fairytale romance (no, seriously), where would be more perfect than a stately home or castle to tie the knot?! Of course, it would be amazing yet would  probably involve a lottery win (or two) along with re-mortgaging several family homes. But a girl can dream can’t she? Even if the following venues aren’t necessarily up for wedding hire! Poor Steve has a lot to contend with . . .

Hoghton Tower

Actually, probably one of the more affordable historic venues and one local to my family. I have to admit, I did have a sneaky enquire as to how much it would cost, but before you even begin to factor in ANYTHING, you would need quite a healthy budget. Having said that though, exclusive hire of this venue, I believe could be yours for around six grand – I’ve heard a lot worse!!

I love this place, it is so full of history. Originally belonging to the de Hoghton family from the Norman Conquest, it sits prettily upon a small hill. This allowed the family seat to reign high over a vast estate which stretched as far as the coast in one direction and the Pennines in the other. The building as it stands is predominantly Tudor and any person of note through history, stayed a night or two in its halls, Shakespeare, Dickens, Turner, Kings and Queens. My personal appreciation, however, comes from its role in the Civil War and the fact that its initial owner was directly related to Lady Godiva! It was also here on an undoubtedly drunken night, that King James I actually knighted a loin of beef!

Besides being historically awesome, the grounds and buildings are truly stunning. There is the an incredibly long drive way, lined with trees which look most spectacular in autumn. There are court yards and gardens and wooden wall panels and coats of arms and the pure scent of centuries long past. In October they also run ghost tours! I adore it, but even at such a historic snip, Hoghton Tower was always going to be out of my budget!

Lancaster Castle

Ok, so it may actually house a few hundred petty criminals and may also have been to venue of witch executions four hundred years ago; and perhaps also one of my literary protagonists is based on a man who tried to burn it down in the seventeenth century, but I Love Lancaster Castle for many reasons. This history speaks for itself (how cool is it to walk on the spot where witches once stood?!) and on a good weather day, there are fewer places I would like to be. Having lived in Lancaster for five years, I fell deeply in love with the view of the Lake District and the coast which the open grounds of the castle afford. For a couple of years also, I had to walk through the grounds of this glorious building to get home – particularly one year when my car had been destroyed and it provided a handy cut through! The tragedy of it all is, for the whole time I lived on its doorstep, I never once paid to visit the attraction. I have not seen, or in deed been locked in, the dungeons, witnessed ghost moans or bought fudge from the gift shop. One day I will. But as for a wedding venue, a castle would be just wonderful. Regardless of convicts, a Lancashire fairytale!

Blenheim Palace

Why the hell not?! It’ll be my day to be a princess so where better than to wed than a royal-sounding seat?! Birth place of one of Britain’s greats, Winston Churchill and absolutely beautiful. The grounds are so incredible and varied – and there’s a maze!! I think it is one of the most beautiful buildings England has to offer, with long sweeping drives and view of the green and pleasant land. I would even dare to suggest that it rivals Chatsworth for stately popularity. If I was to choose here, I think I would choose a December wedding while all the Victoriana Christmas decorations adorn the building and grounds: tall gas lamps, ornately dressed Norwegian firs, tramps selling roast chestnuts, children sweeping chimneys while carol singers hand out mince pies – you know the picture post card. I think it would be just splendid, particularly if there were snow on the ground.

Hampton Court Palace

But if its a palace a girl wants, its a palace the girl gets and none more so glamorous, in my mind, than the favoured residence of our first Royal cad – Henry VIII’s Hampton Court Palace. So grand and opulent, I feel Henry may have used it as a metaphorical extension of his errrr . . . wealth and popularity. You couldn’t help but feel like a Queen here. And if the day does get a little much, it too has a maze! (I like mazes. I keep trying to get Steve to take me to a maize maze. He won’t.)

Tintagel Castle

If its a little more rustic, the historic fairytale, than where more perfect that the ruins of Tintagel Castle. As the waves crash against the ragged cliffs, you can well imagine Arthur and Gwennivere knidling their first love before roaring fires. Now a little more open to the elements, a beautiful day could see a much more gentle affair – wreaths of flowers in hair, long billowing sleeves, Pagan hand-holding ceremonies, beauty and nature and love. Now, I’m not too into all the over floweryness of lovey-wovey things (Steve and I are in agreement about trying to remove words such as ‘special’ or ‘cherish’ or ‘treasure’ from our vows!), but I do think this is an absolutely stunning location, crammed to the non-existent rafters (so, the sky then?) with history, myth and intrigue. The roar of the sea only makes it more emotive – an ideal spot for the stormy relationships out there!


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