Planning your wedding in England’s south east? Well, if you’re looking for the perfect fairy tale wedding venue, you’ve come to the right place. Here at AA Executive Cars, we’ve got 40 years experience in providing luxury vintage cars for weddings in the south east, and we’ve seen some seriously stunning venues.
From stately homes and medieval castles to secluded forest glades and picturesque waterfronts, the south east truly has it all. In no particular order, here are the dreamiest venues in the area.
Leeds Castle (Maidstone, Kent)
If you want to feel like bona fide royalty, this stunning medieval castle is the venue for you.
Leeds Castle has a long and star studded history, starting as a Norman stronghold nine centuries ago, before being used as a home for six of England’s medieval queens. Afterwards, it was a palace for Henry VIII and his first wife, Catherine of Aragorn (but don’t let that put you off!) Since then, it’s been used as a Jacobean country house, a Georgian mansion, and a 20th century retreat for the influential and famous. Nowadays, it’s one of England’s most visited historic buildings, and has earned the accolade of “the loveliest castle in the world.”
It’s the perfect place for a timeless fairy tale wedding. Its breathtaking scenery (including a moat!) makes wedding photography easy, while its luxurious stately rooms with four poster beds mean you can enjoy your day in comfort. Plus, onsite florist and catering facilities make planning your big day simpler than ever.
Shangri-La Hotel at the Shard (Central London)
If you’re looking for something a bit more contemporary, London’s highest wedding venue certainly fits the bill.
Situated on the 34th floor of the city’s tallest building, the Shangri-La Hotel's double height windows offer spectacular views over the capital, and photo opportunities you don't want to miss. A grand staircase and exquisite reception rooms add even more sophistication to your big day.
Leez Priory (Chelmsford, Essex)
This magnificent Tudor mansion comes complete with everything you could hope for in a wedding venue. The manor is set in 40 acres of parklands, including beautifully landscaped lakes and lawns, and an impressive driveway so that you can arrive in style. Plus, a hidden cottage in the grounds provides magical accommodation for the bride and bridesmaids before the wedding.
Leez Priory offers a range of in-house wedding services, including venue decorations, wedding cakes, accommodation and a delectable choice of food and beverages.
Boreham House (Chelmsford, Essex)
With features including an expansive formal lake and a stately avenue of trees, this Grade I listed mansion grants you lovely views of the Vale of Chelmer.
Once inside, you can enjoy many of the stately home’s original features, including solid oak hand carved panelling in the ceremony room and 24ft high ceilings. If you fancy celebrating in style, the venue can provide a full professional firework display, to finish your wedding with a bang (literally).
Rayleigh Windmill (Rayleigh, Essex)
Fairytales aren’t all grand houses and castles, so if you fancy something on the rustic side, look no further than this Grade II listed Essex windmill.
Offering weddings with a maximum of 20 guests, it’s perfect for couples who want an intimate ceremony with their closest friends and family. Plus, the neighbouring arts centre is available for receptions and has more than enough space for all your nearest and dearest, with a 300 guest capacity.
Royal Corinthian Yacht Club (Burnham)
Enjoy panoramic river views at this quayside pavilion on the banks of the River Crouch. Constructed in 1931, the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club is notable as one of the first modernist structures in the county and features striking wraparound balconies, wide windows, and a lavish dining area.
The venue comes complete with its own wedding planner and skilled chefs, so you can relax a bit and leave the details to them. Plus, with the opportunity to arrive at your wedding by boat, what isn’t there to love?
Bloomsbury's Biddenden (Kent)
Glamping’s all the rage right now, so why not enjoy a more relaxed, festival-style wedding in this secluded Kent glampsite? Tie the knot in a beautifully decorated gazebo, with your guests watching from a circle of hay bales, before moving on to the venue’s dance lodge to dance the night away...
Plus, you and your guests can enjoy magical, idyllic accommodation in the form of the glampsite’s tipis and yurts. And don’t worry about getting ready – glamping means glamour. You can expect a full suite of luxurious wet rooms and spa facilities so you can pamper yourself before your big day.
Wise Wedding Venue (Tonbridge)
If you’re feeling more folklore than fairytale, escape to this enchanting woodland hideaway for a truly otherworldly wedding. With grand oaks, beautiful silver birch trees, reeded lakes, and grassy clearings, this secluded venue provides a welcome respite from the hustle and bustle of modern life.
Step back in time with a traditional blessing under an old oak tree, before walking the illuminated forest paths to the reception marquee in the middle of the woods. After the day’s over, newlyweds can retreat to the bridal suite – a fully furnished treehouse nestled in the treetops.
Hever Castle (Hever, Kent)
Experience a taste of history and get married at the childhood home of Anne Boleyn. This double-moated 13th century castle offers a lavish choice of ceremonies – you can choose between marrying in the castle itself, the Great Hall, or even outside in the Italian Garden, where you’ll be surrounded by over 4000 types of flowers.
Afterwards, the Moat Restaurant is the perfect reception choice, offering stunning views of the castle, a bar, performance space and a separate area for your buffet. And best of all, their midnight licence means you can dance the night away! The castle also offers Five Star Gold accommodation, so both you and your guests can rest in luxury.
Preston Court (Kent)
Once the site of a medieval palace, Preston Court is now home to a magnificent Georgian house and large farm with a vast array of heritage buildings, landscaped gardens, and ancient farmyards. The old farm buildings are also home to a unique collection of steam engines, fairground rides and musical organs, including a Victorian Carousel.
Preston Court offers three atmospheric locations to tie the knot in. Opt for the 17th century Kent Barn if you’re looking for a more rustic wedding in a traditional wooden framed building. Alternatively, the idyllic Juliana’s Island sits in the lake directly in front of the house, and offers romantic garden ceremonies, complete with rose arch bowers and ancient yew trees. And finally, if you’re looking for a church wedding, choose the ancient Saxon church of St Mildred’s, which sits by the farm and is surrounded by stunning open farmland.
Newly-weds and guests can also enjoy peaceful walks in the nearby bluebell woods which are teeming with wildlife, including peacocks and guinea fowl.
Pennyhill Park (Surrey)
Pennyhill Park is an exclusive hotel and spa, offering magnificent, ivy-clad exteriors, landscaped gardens, and 123 acres of scenic countryside, woodland, and parkland. Despite its secluded feel, it’s only 45 minutes from London, making transport links simple for both you and your guests.
During your stay, indulge yourself at the award winning spa facilities, enjoy Michelin star dining, and make sure everyone has a dreamy night’s sleep in one of the mansion’s 124 luxurious bedrooms. Plus, expert wedding co-ordinators will take the stress out of wedding planning, and make sure your day runs smoothly.
Denbie's Wine Estate (Dorking, Surrey)
Fancy a tipple? Get married at England’s largest vineyard and enjoy award-winning wine as part of your wedding package.
A designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the location’s nothing to turn your nose up at either. Exchange vows in the charming Cloisters Courtyard, before moving on to the lavish Conservatory Atrium for your reception, where you’ll wine and dine in luxury. Plus, the estate’s wine cellars offer atmospheric photo opportunities, or even a unique location for your wedding breakfast.
Horsley Towers (Guildford, Surrey)
Tie the knot in this Gothic Revival mansion for a truly fairytale experience.
With stunning gothic towers and fanciful crenulations, this building practically oozes style and grandeur. The facilities aren’t half bad either – treat your guests to a decadent banquet in the mansion’s Great Hall, with delicious wine from the cellars included. You’ll also get a complimentary bridal suite included as part of your wedding package, whilst guests can enjoy a stay in one of the 180 individually decorated bedrooms.
Creeksea Place (Essex)
Offering a true fairy tale experience, this 16th century Tudor mansion can be booked exclusively for your wedding. You’re spoilt for choice, with 6 indoor and outdoor locations available within the venue for your ceremony. And with stunning walled gardens, orchards and a Victorian bridge, it’s easy to find the perfect backdrop for your wedding photos.
It’s also the perfect venue for a bigger wedding, as Creeksea Place is able to accommodate 200 seated day guests, plus an additional 150 for the evening reception!
Port Lympne Wild Animal Park and Mansion (Kent)
If animal sidekicks are your favourite part of any fairy tale, look no further than this unforgettable wedding venue. Combining the grandeur of a Grade 2 listed mansion with views across a wild animal park, Port Lympne makes for a unique choice. Choose between a ceremony on the Italian inspired outdoor terraces, or the mansion’s beautiful ground floor rooms on chilly days.
Best of all? You can organise a variety of animal experiences, so don’t miss out on the chance to get up close and personal with tigers, giraffes, rhinos and more on a VIP safari.
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