Image: Ross Harvey
Today’s post is written by the super cool Deirdre McGinnis from Chic & Boutique Wedding Venues. Deirdre curates only the coolest, hippest and most fabulous wedding venues on Chic & Boutique and I’m thrilled that today, especially for Smashing The Glass, she’s picked out ten extraordinary outdoor wedding venues in the UK. These ten gorgeous al fresco gems cover every kind of style and taste, and are suitable for capacities of 50 to 500.
Do you dream of getting married outdoors under the British skies? Are you a child of nature? The sort who longs to commune with the outdoors and feel the weather on your face, even if it is British weather? Believe it or not, London and the UK have a veritable bounty of outdoor venues available for wedding receptions and ceremonies, and I’ve picked out my top ten today, for your perusal.
Whilst the venues we’ve selected here can’t offer you, say, a Malibu sunset, what they can offer you is a fresh, open air experience alongside the beautiful elegance of an English Wedding. If you’ve ever considered having your chuppah outdoors, you absolutely need to acquaint yourself with these fabulous al fresco venues.
Kew Gardens, Richmond, Surrey
(Max Capacity 400)
If there’s an Elvis Presley of Botanical Gardens then the Royal Botanic Gardens of Kew would truly be the ‘King’.
Kew’s Palm House is a vast, light, lofty space that accommodates enormous tropical large palms, boasts 16,000 panes of glass and is considered the most important surviving Victorian iron and glass structure in the world. The Palm House is the most original backdrop for your outdoor wedding that could take place in one of the four venues on offer at this multi-venue location.
First, offering the perfect outdoor experience, is Cambridge Cottage, which is the former royal residence of the Duke of Cambridge. Within the cottage grounds is the Duke’s Garden which is perfect for outdoor drinks, photographs, summer barbeques and garden parties. A chuppah would look stunning here too.
The Garden comes with the Drawing Room, licensed for ceremonies for up to 80 guests and the adjoining Gallery housing beautiful botanical artwork which can also accommodate 80 guests for a sit down dinner. Alternatively both rooms and the garden can be hired for a standing reception of 150.
Next there’s The Nash Conservatory which is licensed for ceremonies of up to 200 guests. If desired, the Nash Conservatory and lawn may be used to erect a chuppah for a religious ceremony, followed by pre-dinner drinks before moving on to the Orangery for an evening wedding dinner and dance.
Other venues available for hire at Kew Gardens include The Princess of Wales Conservatory and The Orangery.
Royal Botanic Gardens of Kew | Richmond| Surrey TW9 3AB | +44 (0)20 8332 5655
The Roof Gardens, Kensington, London
(Max Capacity 500)
Flamingos and Mandarin ducks thriving in an abundance of nature on the roof of number 99 Kensington High Street, anyone? In the heart of London there’s an oasis of ‘wow’ for when you want to create an outdoor wedding with charm, originality and elegance. It’s a a venue that gives you the best of both worlds: a garden setting with a convenient city location.
The Roof Gardens include The Spanish Garden, based on the Alhambra in Granada which has a distinct Moorish flavour; The Tudor Garden which uses red brick walls and four Tudor style arches to take you back to another age and The English Woodland Garden which blooms with colour when thousands of narcissus, crocus, muscari, snowdrops, and bluebells burst into life every Spring. The English Woodland is also where the birds live including Mandarin and Carolina Wood Ducks which are native to the Southern hemisphere as well as the star resident Flamingos.
You can have your chuppah in one of its beautiful gardens, and then have your reception indoors if you choose to, much like Lee Ann and Andre did at their Roof Gardens Jewish wedding featured on Smashing The Glass. The Roof Gardens is also great for small or large weddings as it can host standing receptions for up to 500, sit down dinners for 200 or a more intimate wedding for only 50.
The Roof Gardens | 99 Kensington High Street | London W8 5SA | +44 (0)20 7368 3993
BMA House, Bloomsbury, London
(Max Capacity 200)
You might think a grade II listed British Medical Association building in the heart of Bloomsbury might seem too formal, too stuffy even.
Yet BMA House is full of pleasant surprises. Although it holds a wedding licence within four rooms; The Great Hall, John Snow Room, Sir James Paget Room and The Prince’s, its true secret lies in its two, quite unknown, beautiful and peaceful outdoor spaces; The Courtyard and The Garden.
The stunning outdoor Courtyard boasts a very cool central fountain and surrounding statues, providing a stylish setting for your drinks reception and entertainment and is ideal for larger wedding receptions of up to 200 guests.
The Garden provides a romantic outside space for those smaller, more intimate weddings. This private and tranquil space has a beautiful water feature and offers exquisite surroundings for those unforgettable photographs in the sunshine.
BMA House has everything from historic indoor elegance to enchanting outdoor gardens and courtyards, and all in the heart of central London and within walking distance of three mainline stations (Euston, King’s Cross and St Pancras). Indoors or outdoors, this wedding venue will not disappoint.
BMA House | Tavistock Square | London WC1H 9JP | +44 (0)20 7874 7020
The Oyster Shed, City of London
(Max Capacity 400)
How about a riverside venue with breathtaking views of the Thames and The Shard? An impressive glass house of floor to ceiling curved windows, The Oyster Shed makes an awesome wedding venue and can be hired exclusively at weekends.
The pub also has a small ground floor outdoor terrace which brings the event even closer to the river Thames and can be used for a drinks reception and entertainment whilst the rest of your wedding takes place inside. With such wonderful high ceilings this space feels light and airy. The sensation of being outside is wonderfully achieved without having to actually experience the unreliable London weather….
The Oyster Shed can host weddings for 200 seated or 400 standing and can cater for many styles of weddings, from a seated champagne breakfast or an evening canapà© reception with space for bands, DJ and dancing. Because The Oyster Shed is spread over two floors with an outside terrace it allows for great flexibility and offers a variety of unique spaces for your event.
The Oyster Shed | 1 Angel Lane | London EC4R 3AB | +44 (0)20 7256 3240
No. 4 Hamilton Place, Mayfair, London
(Max Capacity 200)
No. 4 Hamilton Place is like the tardis of Central London venues. From the outside this stately Edwardian Town House is grand and elegant. Inside though is an array of ornate and spacious rooms, including the beautiful, private and heated(!) Roof Terrace with stunning views across Park Lane and Hyde Park.
The Argyll Room tantalizes with double bow glass window doors which open directly onto the 1st floor Terrace. This provides an indoor retreat if the ‘great British weather’ doesn’t hold up. You can host a standing reception for 200 or a sit down dinner for 120 in both The Argyll Room and Terrace.
The Terrace is one of a select few locations in Central London (Mayfair to be precise) offering an exclusive outside space in a garden terrace setting.
The exquisite event spaces at No 4. are steeped in history; it was the Duke of Wellington’s home a year before Waterloo. Besides the Louis XVI gilt cornicing, the chandeliers, the bow windows, the amazing baroque staircase and the stunning view of Hyde Park and Park Lane, its crowning feature for some would be is the heated terrace, which can host a religious ceremony with a chuppah right after the civil ceremony for which No. 4 Hamilton Place also has a license.
This venue and its outdoor terrace are impressive and will help create a baroque and stunning wedding like no other, and it’s in the heart of Mayfair, central London, which also makes it convenient for you and your guests.
No. 4 Hamilton Place | 4 Hamilton Place | London W1J 7BQ | +44 (0)20 7670 4314
West Reservoir Centre, Stoke Newington, London
(Max Capacity 150)
Hidden away in North East London and overlooking the the vast West Reservoir, The West Reservoir Centre is an absolute gem and a brilliant place for a wedding. It features a 1930s red-brick tower with amazing industrial structural and design elements.
Flooded by natural light in its steely interior structuring, your wedding reception will be enhanced further by the two wooden outdoor terraces overlooking the glistening water. This venue experience is like no other in North London and truly is a one-of-a-kind venue.
Doubling up as a sailing centre by day, this space can be converted into a stylish and quirky event venue for any kind of wedding. This is a four-storey structure with the Main Tower featuring original water processing equipment situated high above the heads of the guests. This adds a sense of history and engineerial wonder to your wedding event.
If your family, or your soon-to-be spouses family, are of an engineering background, they will love this venue, plus the tranquility of the reservoir of water, unbelievably situated in central London, makes it the perfect space for a peaceful and relaxed wedding day.
The West Reservoir Centre | Green Lanes | London N4 2HA | +44 (0)20 8442 8116
The Bingham, Richmond Upon Thames, Surrey
(Max Capacity 150)
The Bingham is a magnificent riverside wedding venue that is situated so close to the river that, if you were so inclined, you could moor your own boat for a spot of punting!
Not only does this elegant hotel and its Bingham Garden Rooms offer a romantic riverside setting for your wedding day, its ever-so-charming Bingham Garden and private terrace are both accessed via a private entrance from the river (or road).
The Bingham holds a civil wedding license and has 15 bedrooms that have been beautifully and individually designed in a bespoke art deco inspired style which you and your guests can enjoy following your big day.
With gentle views of the beautiful Surrey end of the river Thames, The Bingham’s riverside Secret Garden is probably one of the most romantic and intimate settings for a London wedding .
The Bingham | 61-63 Petersham Road | Richmond TW10 6UT | +44 (0)20 8940 0902
The Secret Walled Garden at Wasing, Aldermaston, Berkshire
(Max Capacity 200)
Ever find yourself daydreaming about a quintessentially English garden wedding? Then you should definitely check out The Secret Walled Garden at the 4,000 acre Wasing Estate.
Set in beautiful Berkshire, Wasing Estate is the most impressive manifestation of English Countryside you will find within a stone’s throw of London.
To get to the The Secret Walled Garden first you must pass through the enchanting Yorkstone ‘rose walkway’ which leads to the charming Folly. It’s licensed for civil ceremonies, and makes a terrific backdrop for a chuppah.
This hidden gem is the most idyllic place to get married, an ideal setting for couples to make their vows while the guests overlook the picturesque countryside.
Alternatively, after a ceremony elsewhere on the estate, you could take your guests through the iron gateway into the Secret Walled Garden for a spectacular wedding reception.
And if you thought there couldn’t be anymore amazing attractions at this venue then you were wrong!
Want to go ever further back to nature? Olde English not olde enough for you? Well Wasing Park also features ‘Woodland Weddings’ which are set amongst the magical ancient woodland of Wasing Estate. The eco-friendly Woodland Venue offers couples a tranquil space for their special day and is great for a festival style outdoor wedding.
Wasing Park itself is also a truly unique experience overall. It also offers an exclusive use barn wedding venue at the Castle Barn for receptions, there’s the pretty Victorian Summerhouse for outdoor weddings and the Garden Room to host civil ceremonies and partnerships as well. Wasing park also offers its own boutique hotel, the Stables Lodge which has the most impressive ‘Honeymoon Suite’ and a further 22 stylish bedrooms, perfect for your family and friends.
The Secret Walled Garden at Wasing | Wasing Lane | Reading, West Berkshire RG7 4NG | +44 (0)118 971 3634
Port Lympne Mansion Gardens & Terraces, Lympne, Near Hythe, Kent
(Max Capacity 180)
Ah, the Port Lympne Mansion Hotel. This Edwardian Mansion, in Kent has really super stunning grounds with beautiful fountains, enchanting gardens and terraces, all of which can be enjoyed outside or in…
Unusually, situated in the 600 acre reserve, near Ashford, (the garden of England) Kent and home to the UK’s most authentic safari experience, Port Lympne Mansion is a truly original and ‘wild’ experience.
Couples are fortunate enough to be able to choose from a variety of beautiful indoor and outdoor locations within the grounds to say their vows.
The chuppah can easily take place on the romantic, Italian inspired outdoor terraces. The groomed and spectacular gardens also offer a wonderful backdrop for memorable photographs with fountains cascading into ornamental ponds, vivid blooms (in summer) and dramatic walkways including the magnificent Trojan Steps — decorated with mystical Egyptian friezes.
Alternatively, in the winter months, ceremonies can be conducted in one of the gloriously decorated ground floor rooms. For example, The Aspinall Suite, adjoining the Mansion offers the ideal venue for eating, drinking and dancing after the ceremony, no matter what the weather holds in store.
Port Lympne reserve is also the only wild animal park in the UK offering a variety of short break accommodations, including luxury glamping at multi award winning Livingstone Lodge, longer stays at Elephant Lodge , Livingstone Cottage and Port Lympne Mansion, boutique hotel. Wedding parties can opt to stay in any of the unique accommodations prior to and after the special day.
From elegant Edwardian architecture, ornate and spectacular gardens to the beauty of African wildlife and glamping, Port Lympne Reserve and Mansion Hotel would make a very special and once in a lifetime (wedding day) experience.
Port Lympne Mansion | Aldington Road | Lympne | Hythe | Kent CT21 4PD | +44 (0)844 842 4647
Hix Oyster & Fish House, Lyme Regis, Dorset
(Max Capacity 100)
Image: Matt Austin
If you “do like to be beside the seaside” and you fancy an elegant seaside wedding (with top quality food of course) then Hix Oyster & Fish House in Lyme Regis is the restaurant wedding venue for you (and having ‘oyster’ in the venue title is perfect for the Jew-ish amongst you!).
With uninterrupted views of the Jurassic coastline, this is easily one of the most picturesque restaurants in the South West. Combined with its glowing foodie credentials, provided by none other than Mark Hix , this is the perfect spot for an intimate seaside wedding.
Hix Oyster & Fish House can be exclusively hired to host wedding receptions of up to 100 standing or 50 seated for dinner. The light and airy indoor dining room provides panoramic views of the coastline giving you the feel of being outside. Or if you want to actually be outside your guests can enjoy a cocktail reception on the terrace for 30 guests or a more intimate sit down meal for only 20.
Another fantastic feature of this restaurant is that it is also fully licensed for weddings and civil partnerships.
And at the end of the night when you, your new spouse and all of your guests are tired of eating and dancing the night away, they can all simply walk down the street to the pre-booked rooms at The Townhouse, an elegant Georgian townhouse owned and designed by Mark Hix himself.
But the classic Mark Hix touch doesn’t stop there – a HIX Breakfast Hamper is delivered to each of the rooms at 8.30am every morning. There’s even a communal kitchen providing guests with facilities to prepare a late night snack for themselves.
Now in my book, if you are a foodie couple of any description this restaurant and hotel are the perfect solution to your palate wedding dreams.
Hix Oyster & Fish House | Cobb Road, Lyme Regis | DT7 3JP | +44 (0)1297 446910
Thank you Deirdre from Chic and Boutique Wedding Venues! Wow – I love the originality of all these venues and I’d be thrilled to feature any one of them on the blog so do let me know if and when you decide to hold your wedding there!