10 stunning wedding venues in Kent
- Credit: Archant
Whether it’s a castle, stately country manor house or seafront hotel, Kent has the perfect venue
If you fancy getting married in the UK's 'Best Castle Wedding Venue', then Hever Castle & Gardens has picked up that accolade at the 2019 British Wedding Awards. The childhood home of Anne Boleyn was given the top award at a black-tie event in London earlier this year; Warwick Castle was highly commended. The awards, which are in their 11th year, are voted for by brides and were created to champion excellence in all things bridal, from stationery to shoes, dresses to destinations. Hever offers a range of locations, from the stately grandeur of the castle itself, the country house atmosphere of the Astor Wing to the stunning lakeside location of the Guthrie Pavilion. Intimate gatherings, exuberant parties and outdoor weddings are all catered for and five-star luxury accommodation is available to book as part of your wedding.
Canterbury Cathedral Lodge is a very special wedding reception venue, sitting as it does within the beautiful grounds of world-famous Canterbury Cathedral. Able to accommodate small or large wedding receptions for up to 200 guests, the Lodge's own in-house catering team adhere to the ethos of the cathedral, sourcing high-quality, fair-trade and local produce wherever possible. A hidden treasure is the beautiful Campanile Garden overlooking the cathedral, which provides a stunning backdrop for photographs and summer drinks receptions. Offering peace and privacy right in the heart of the city, those attending a wedding have the option to stay overnight in stylish guest accommodation - with every bedroom enjoying an amazing view of the cathedral.
Mount Ephraim is a privately owned family home offering a classically romantic venue for wedding ceremonies and receptions. Enjoying spectacular views of the gardens and estate and with an elegant sweeping staircase leading into the main hall that's just made for photos, Mount Ephraim can accommodate ceremonies of up to 110 people in the house or garden. For a reception in the house there is space for 110 for a sit-down wedding breakfast with room for a total of 175 evening guests. For a marquee reception in the beautiful gardens, there is space for more than 250 guests. The wedding suite has four additional en-suite guest B&B rooms and the new Garden Wing, which opened in April 2019, sleeps 12 and features its own kitchen/diner, sitting room, snug, games room and private terrace overlooking the gardens. There are never weddings on consecutive days, so couples can relax, take their time and enjoy their moment.
At the ripe old age of nearly 500 years old, The Guildhall in the heart of Faversham is now licensed to hold civil marriages and partnerships. Originally built in 1574, the Town Council-owned medieval building in the Market Place offers a very unusual venue for small wedding ceremonies. These take place in the Council Chamber, where the walls are hung with paintings and old photographs of Faversham's mayors throughout the centuries. The venue can accommodate 50 people and is available seven days a week.
Surrounded by 150 acres of rolling hills, woodland and orchards, The BarnYard is licensed for ceremonies and home to a handsome barn conversion as well as a permanent grand marquee for receptions of up to 300 guests. It's dog friendly too. The barn is popular for twilight wedding ceremonies followed by a party. Recent improvements include landscaping upgrades around the marquee with a new bridal/guest entranceway and two new gazebos, giving a choice of three outside ceremony areas. The front of the marquee now has glass bi-folding doors which, in the spring and summer can be slid open to allow the outside in. Along the length of the marquee front is a wooden pergola bursting with white roses, wisteria, honeysuckle and evergreen trailing plants, creating a fairytale wedding aisle for the bridal party. If you want to see for yourself, check out the open days.
Tucked down a quiet country lane, just a few minutes drive from Tunbridge Wells town centre and with ample parking, High Rocks' oak-beamed function rooms each have their own bar, dance floor and late licence. The rooms are also licensed for civil wedding and partnership ceremonies and the lovely garden and terrace even has its own steam train stop. Couples have exclusive use of the stunning High Rocks National Monument for their wedding photographs. A courtesy mini bus service is offered wedding parties to take guests back to all Tunbridge Wells town-centre hotels in the evening if required. Full wedding packages are available with no venue hire charge, and further off-peak discounts available.
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This elegant Victorian hotel on the seafront is one of the largest wedding venues in Kent. The historic building has undergone a complete refurbishment over the last four years, including all of its luxury rooms and suites. The hotel caters for civil ceremonies, traditional church services and civil partnerships, with the option of outdoor ceremonies for parties of up to 120 held at the venue's gazebo. The impressive Imperial Ballroom is perfect for wedding breakfasts, with views over the English Channel; for extra sparkle, the hotel is also home to Kent's only Moet & Chandon Champagne Bar. The next Wedding Open Days are on 28 April, 30 June and 3 November, 10am to 2pm, with an Open Evening on 18 July from 5pm to 8pm. The next Wedding Fair at the Hythe Imperial is on 8 September, 10.30am to 2.30pm.
Moated and set within 500 acres of parkland and formal gardens, Leeds Castle is celebrating its 900th anniversary this year. Boasting a roll call of previous royal owners, in the early 20th century, however, it was the last private owner, Lady Baillie, who transformed it into a grand setting for glamorous parties with high-society guests. Today couples can take over the entire Castle Island and its luxurious bedrooms, with flexible use of the Castle, Maiden's Tower and walled garden as well as the croquet lawn in front of the Castle. Say 'I do' in the Ceremony Room adjoining the Library, before enjoying a wedding breakfast in the Henry VIII Banqueting Hall, with views across the moat. Other charming venues within the grounds include newly restored Battel Hall, a 14th-century country house on the edge of the estate that's been named 'Best New Venue' at this year's UK Wedding Awards. Here wedding packages include a three-night stay for up to 14 people, with exclusive use of the manor and en-suite bedrooms. Couples can even be married under a romantic old English bower and celebrate with up to 100 guests on the marquee terrace. Alternatively, for larger wedding celebrations of up to 200 there is the timber-framed Fairfax Barn, overlooking the Castle moat. For a more secluded setting with all the romance of the Castle Island, there's the Maiden's Tower, a 16th-century self-contained venue with a private garden.
Penshurst Place and Gardens has been named Wedding Venue of the Year 2019 by the Kent Wedding Awards, scooping the prestigious award for the third time and in addition introducing the option of personalised menus designed by Michelin-star chefs Daniel Clifford and Tim Allen. The lovely 14th-century country house surrounded by 11 acres of historic gardens offers a choice of three banqueting rooms and outside ceremony space, with couples being given exclusive use of the venue for their celebration, choosing how they wish to use each of the spaces on offer. A licensed venue for ceremonies since 1995, it has banqueting facilities of varying sizes including the medieval Baron's Hall, the part-panelled and sandstone Sunderland Room and ancient bottle store The Buttery, along with the pretty outside space of the private Inner Courtyard, all of which can be used for ceremonies or receptions. An Open Day is being held on 19 May, 11am to 3pm, for couples wishing to have a look around the house and gardens; to register, call 01892 870307 or email email@example.com.
You may know The Historic Dockyard Chatham for its 400 years of history, or perhaps from the adventures you've had on the historic ships on family visits, but did you know it is also a wedding venue? The site has two licensed wedding venues which can be used for the wedding and/or reception, both with the unique backdrop of the world's most complete Dockyard from the age of sail. The Commissioner's House (1704) - Britain's oldest naval building - offers gorgeous, exclusive spaces for your ceremony and reception. Included in the price is the Commissioner's House garden, the perfect setting for after-ceremony drinks and photographs. The handsome Victorian sloop HMS Gannet (1878) makes another highly unusual setting for your ceremony. Combine this with drinks on board before your party makes its way to Commissioner's House to enjoy the rest of your Big Day.