The english countryside is a popular choice when looking for a wedding venue for your destination wedding in the UK and no doubt, finding the right wedding venue will be top of your to do list!
There are different types of wedding venues dotted around the english countryside but before we get too carried away, let’s discuss the different types of english countryside wedding venues in the UK that might be right for you so you can understand some of the subtle differences before starting your venue search on these shores.
Types of English Countryside Wedding Venues
One of the main types of wedding venues in the UK are english countryside wedding venues popularly known as country houses (think of them as the UK equivalent of french cheataus or italian villas) and there is an abundance of them in almost every county in England.
Country houses in the UK are categorised according to the circumstances of their creation, there are stately homes and castles, country houses, manor houses, abbeys, barns etc. The distinction in the names of the types of buildings are often used because of the historical connection with the site of such a building. The houses are similar in creation and granduer but their categorisation are often as a result of the circumstances in which they were created and built.
Castles and Stately Homes
Castles and Stately homes are the largest of these country houses. Most are palatial in nature and designed to display their owners wealth. They are quite grand and in some cases ostentatious. They are historic buildings often built by notable architects and in the architectural style in vogue at the time. They are more aristocratic in nature and some (not all) are owned by the aristocracy.
Stately homes and castles has large estates with a big palatial building in the centre of the estate (think Downton Abbey and Highclere Castle). They have been part of british history and landscape for the best part of 500 years so if you are interested in history, you will love the idea of having your wedding in one of these grand wedding venues. The interiors are lavish and opulent with gilded doors, exquisite paintings, antique rugs and furniture that dates back to an age that we can only dream about.
The UK has a lot of these in abundance from collections within the Royal historic palaces to the ones held in trust by the National Trust, there are stately homes and castles to wow the most discerning of guests.
Choosing one is a great way to bring the old world into your wedding so if history and recapturing the old world as part of your wedding design appeals to you then stately homes would be right up your street, perfect for the fairytale wedding.
These are the most popular of english countryside wedding venues in the UK. They are usually the full time residence of the landed gentry (or significant family in history) that ruled rural britain until the mid 18th century. As most of the landed gentry in england owned country houses their popularity grew.
Country houses are usually surrounded by smaller cottages, farmlands, estates, gardens and fields. Purpose built and the only residence of their owners, they are much smaller than stately homes but still grand nonetheless with vast grounds and beautiful manicured gardens where the owners preside over their estate.
There are various different architectural styles found within each english country house and yet the rooms / wings blend seamlessly together. Each wing of the house has a different style of architecture and these make country houses unique. The good thing about this aspect for you is that each wing creates a different vibe for your wedding. You could have your ceremony in the morning room, party in the great hall and lounge in the drawing room or library.
These days, a lot of them has been turned into beautiful countryside wedding venues with well kept grounds and views that would make city dwellers yearn for the countryside. They are grand without being overpowering and are great for stylish elegant weddings.
Historically, manor houses were the official residence of the lord of the manor (that’s where the phrase lord of the manor came from) and most had agricultural, administrative or political functions. They are estates which had the right to hold a manorial court. (Manorial courts were the lowest courts of the law in England in the mid 18th century and they dealt with matters over which the lord of the manor had jurisdiction over) .
A bit of history; the grounds of the manor house are not often as vast as country houses. The farm harvest produced on the grounds were not always enough to feed the occupants for a full year so the owners tended to stay at the manor for a short time and then move on to another manor.
They are similar to country houses (and are in some cases known as such) although not as grand. However the interiors boasts of great halls (where the manorial courts were held) which now make for great indoor wedding spaces for you and your guests.
Abbeys and Priories
These are another type of wedding venue found in the english countryside. They are often the former churches for local residents of a particular county that was used to house those who had made sacred vows. These buildings usually have stunning architectural features that dates way back and will make great backdrops for your wedding day.
There are some that have been converted into beautiful wedding venues dotted around the english countryside and their great halls formally used as places of worship with their stained glass windows, grand arches and various architectural features, can be used for grand wedding receptions. The surrounding cottages formally used to house men and women of the clergy who were seeking solace, has been converted to cosy cottages that can house both you and your guests.
You probably have images of muddy boots and hay when you hear the word barn but that’s not necessarily the case! Barn venues are sometimes the off-shoot of a country estate and are surrounded by vast grounds. Some have been converted to upscale wedding venues with high beams and cosy set ups for that rustic luxe or boho chic vibe to your wedding day.
Another type of uk wedding venue that you perhaps have not considered and is often a culmination of all three mentioned above are private houses. These are beautiful country houses on large estates that you can hire for the week for you and your guests. They range in sizes and capacity and are an ideal option if you want you and your small party to stay in one location. There are usually activities planned on the grounds of the estate as well as the local villages to keep you and your guests entertained throughout your stay.
These are your own makeshift temporary wedding venues of either marquees or bell tents. Set up on the vast grounds of a country estate in the english countryside, a golf course or lands dedicated solely to outdoor weddings. The beauty of this type of venue is that you have the opportunity to create your own bespoke wedding venue.
I must point out though that this type of bespoke wedding venue has its own unique set of logistical challenges so be sure you really want to go with this option before you go down this route. Have a look at things to consider before planning your marquee wedding to help you with more insight.
So, there you have it. The types of english countryside wedding venues in the UK. There are others we have not covered here of course but these are a good starting point to give you a heads start and some insight into the differences for when you start your search.