When we announced the shortlisted venues for The UK Wedding Awards 2016, the votes came flooding in to decide the best of the best. Organised by hitched, You & Your Wedding and Perfect Wedding, the venue section of the awards proved to be a tough competition as each category was filled with so many amazing and unique wedding venues – we don’t envy you hitchers for having to decide between so many strong contenders! But in the end you crowned your champions, so here is a closer look at your award winning venues and each team’s reaction to winning their prestigious and respective titles.
Wotton House - Best Country Venue
The stunning Wotton House came out on top as the Best Country Venue and it’s not hard to see why. This 17th Century Surrey mansion boasts a beautiful setting and the first Italian Garden ever created in England.
“We’d like to wish a big thank you to everyone who voted for us,” says Caroline Morrone, the General Manager at Wotton House. “I am extremely pleased and proud of the hard work and commitment that the team have put in here. From the positive changes that come from how we engage with our wedding customers, right through to the delivery of the service on the day.
“The team here are of course delighted with the award and we look forward to the future, as we continue to reinvent ourselves in this exciting market.”
Image credit (top): Be Unveiled Photography
This historic wedding venue has some serious wow factor thanks to its impressive surroundings, both inside and outside.
Not only is there a gorgeous garden outside for stunning photo opportunities, the house itself offers a magnificent staircase, marble fireplaces and delicately carved high ceilings – all of which are complemented by all the 21st century luxuries you’d expect from a top notch wedding venue.
Visit Wotton House’s listing on hitched.
Stoke Park Country Club, Spa and Hotel – Best Sporting Venue
There was stiff competition in the sporting wedding venues category, but it was the breath taking Stoke Park that was crowned the ultimate winner.
“We are absolutely delighted to have won the UK Wedding Award for Best Sporting Venue,” says Giammario Ragnoli, the General Manager of Stoke Park. “This award means the world to us. Not only is it a national award where you get shortlisted by industry experts, the winner is then down to a public vote and we are extremely grateful to everyone who voted for us.
“We give our thanks to the people who know and love Stoke Park and also to hitched, You & Your Wedding and Perfect Wedding - we are completely thrilled!”
Image credit (middle): Timeless Pictures
Set within 300 acres of beautiful parkland, landscaped gardens and lakes, this white Palladian mansion is over 200 years old and offers the most romantic setting for every part of your wedding. Its 27 hole championship golf course is also the perfect chance for rest and relaxation on either side of the big day.
Image credit: David C
When you tie the knot here you’ll also get to enjoy accommodation that is luxurious from corner to corner, as Stoke Park is renowned for being a 5 AA Red Star venue with every facility you could want.
After taking on the impressive golf course, which was designed by Harry Colt in 1908, you can enjoy a treatment in the 11 room spa or a dip in the heated swimming pool. Bliss!
Visit Stoke Park's listing on hitched.
Almonry Barn – Best Barn Venue and Best Overall Venue
Voted as the winner of not one but two awards, it’s fair to say that Almonry Barn proved very popular with all of you! This rustic wedding venue was awarded the title of Best Barn Venue and the coveted Best Overall Venue.
Image credit: Belle & Beau
“I’m in total shock that we’ve won these two awards,” gushes Louise Wilson-Ward, the Venue Co-ordinator at Almonry Barn. “I’m so very thankful to everyone who voted for us, and it means even more that these awards are voted for by the public. We really are so touched that so many of Almonry Barn’s previous and future couples voted.
“I hope that this award shows that, as a small family run venue, we really do put everything into the weddings which are held here. We were up against some amazing competition and it makes us unbelievably proud and honoured to have won. We’d also like to extend our thanks to hitched, You & Your Wedding and Perfect Wedding!”
Image credit (left to right): Eddie Judd; Kerry Bartlott
With the perfect blend of historic charm and beautiful surroundings, Almonry Barn has all the ingredients you could wish for in a dream wedding venue. The barn has been standing for a staggering 800 years and is believed to be the oldest wedding barn in England.
Although the walls are steeped in history, the venue has been given a modern makeover that makes it perfect for a stylish couple who have the prettiest of wedding visions in mind. But of course, Almonry Barn could never lose its timeless charm.
One of the many highlights of the barn has to be the walled terrace, which has unparalleled views of the Somerset countryside as well as the nearby stream and orchard.
Image credit: Kerry Bartlott
Visit Almonry Barn’s website here.
Hever Castle – Best Castle Venue
Every bride dreams of the fairytale wedding day, and what better setting to make this wish a reality than a stunning castle wedding venue such as Hever Castle? This Kent venue came out on top in its category thanks to its grand décor and flexible package options.
We spoke to Kate Rowebottom, the castle’s Sales Manager, who said: “We are delighted to have won this award. The testimonials we receive from our wedding couples not only highlight what a great venue we offer, but also recognise the friendliness of our staff and the first class menus provided by our award winning team of chef’s.
“All the team feel really motivated to have been recognised by such a prestigious award, which has set us up well for yet another busy year of weddings at Hever Castle.”
“Weddings are on the up at Hever Castle,” continues Kate. “We even have dates already filling up for 2018. I think the flexibility of our packages and the versatility offered by our historic venue allows couples to create the wedding they envisage, rather than pigeon holing them into a ‘one size fits all’ package.”
From the stately grandeur of the castle itself, to the country house vibe of The Astor Wing or the lakeside setting of the Italian Gardens, the castle really does have a venue to suit every couple.
If you choose to hold your wedding in the beautiful Astor Wing, a private and secluded part of the castle, you and your guests will have plenty of places to mingle. You can enjoy reception drinks in the Music Room, before heading to the oak panelled Tudor Suite Dining Room or the stylish Moat Restaurant for food and dancing.
For the summer months, a celebration at Hever Castle simply must be held in the Italian Gardens – a wonderful place that contains an Italian Loggia overlooking a 38 acre lake. A short walk away from this is the Guthrie Pavilion, a building where you and your guests can take in vaulted ceilings, arched windows and views of the lake and gardens.
Visit Hever Castle’s listing on hitched.
The Alverton Hotel – Best City Venue
The Alverton Hotel in Cornwall reigns as your favourite city wedding venue. Tucked away in the heart of Truro, the hotel dates all the way back to the 1800s and prides itself on being a true city gem.
“I am so proud of the whole team and our venue for winning this award,” said Paul Ricketts, the hotel’s General Manager. “We work so hard to execute each wedding to the highest of standards. One of the beauties of getting married at The Alverton is that you get the service of a dedicated events team, who are here to help with every need.
“We are fortunate enough to be able to offer ceremonies inside our incredible Grade II listed Great Hall, plus canapés can also be enjoyed either inside or outside on our charming terrace. The hotel provides an elegant backdrop for wedding photographs and there’s even plenty of room for your friends and family to stay.”
Image credit: Paul Keppel Photography
We also spoke to Catherin Mills, the experienced Wedding Coordinator at The Alverton, who gave her reaction to winning the prestigious award: “The Alverton Hotel are ecstatic to have won Best City Wedding Venue in the UK. We had some strong competition, so we are incredibly thankful to everyone who voted for us.
“As an accomplished wedding venue, we strive to make every wedding unique to each individual couple so that they can have their perfect day. We are so proud of our beautiful and historic venue - we hope that by winning this award we can give other couples their dream day too.”
If you and your partner are literature lovers and have always dreamed of having your special day inside a library wedding venue, then you’ll be pleased to know that The Alverton Hotel also boasts a stylish and contemporary library that has a terrace for intimate weddings.
Visit The Alverton Hotel’s listing on hitched.
Polhawn Fort – Best Coastal Venue
Renowned as Cornwall's most popular and longest running wedding venue, it’s no surprise that you voted Polhawn Fort as your Best Coastal Venue. A wedding here would be surrounded by natural beauty and the views across the Rame Peninsula are second to none.
We spoke to Polhawn Fort’s Manager, Steve Corbidge, to find out what he thought about the award: “Polhawn Fort is a truly unique venue and we understand that every couple is different. We’re absolutely delighted to win Best Coastal Venue and know how lucky we are to enjoy such a spectacular coastal setting.”
“Our couples revel in the flexibility that we offer at Polhawn Fort,” continues Steve. “You have to experience it to appreciate how special it is. Our team work hard to ensure every wedding is a huge success and I think it’s that ethos, combined with our beautiful location and unique sense of history, which helps to attract couples from across the UK and beyond.”
We also featured Polhawn Fort in our edit of stunning seaside wedding venues, as the Fort has its own private beach which is a must for some priceless wedding photos. There’s also a gorgeous Summerhouse where you can tie the knot with the shimmering coastline as the backdrop.
As for the Fort itself, there are many indoor options for wedding parties that are grand or small. The Napoleonic Hall is ideal if you need a wedding venue with a large capacity, whilst The Emperors Room is an elegant space for a small guest list of 30 or less.
Visit Polhawn Fort’s listing on hitched.
Cliveden House – Best Stately Home
If you want to impress your guests and create an unforgettable setting then how about tying the knot in the venue voted Best Stately Home, Cliveden House?
“Described as one of the great country houses of England, Cliveden House was built by the second Duke of Buckingham in 1666 and is set in 376 acres of National Trust parklands overlooking the River Thames,” says Magda Sadlo, the house’s Wedding Co-ordinator.
When hitched approached Magda about the award, she said: “Winning the award for Best Stately Home is amazing. We’ve worked so hard over the last two years on the refurbishments and it’s been such a huge stepping stone to put Cliveden back on the map.
“Cliveden House has been a social hub for riches and royals throughout its 350 year old history, so we just really want to share it with everyone. We are surrounded by beautiful stately homes, so to stand out and be chosen to win this award is a great feeling.”
Nestled high up on the Berkshire chalk cliffs, the view across the River Thames and the National Trust parkland is incredible and only the beginning of what Cliveden House offers for wedding couples.
The recent restoration project means that Clivden has been transformed to suit the modern day wedding, whilst still retaining plenty of its historic charm. The intricate architecture and luxurious interiors ensure that your special day is filled with romance and grandeur.
“At Cliveden, combining excellent service, hospitality, food and attention to detail is paramount to us,” continues Magda. “From romantic and intimate weddings in one of our lavish dining rooms, to exclusive use of the entire house, we ensure that everyone creates their moment in history and leaves with memories that last a lifetime.”
Visit Cliveden House’s listing on hitched.
Blenheim Palace – Best Historic Venue
Blenheim Palace is a prestigious wedding venue steeped in a rich history, so it was no surprise that you voted it as your Best Historic Venue. This 18th Century palace stands out with its impressive baroque architecture, which your guests will be able to take in as they wind their way up the long driveway through the picture perfect parkland.
“We are thrilled to have won the Best Historic Venue in The UK Wedding Awards 2016,” says the Head of Operations, Heather Carter. “Blenheim Palace is such a beautiful venue with a unique heritage and it is lovely to be recognised by those in the bridal industry as well as members of the public.”
Inside Blenheim Palace, there are so many wonderful options for each part of your day. Couples with a large guest list can choose to get married in the fabulous Great Hall, which has a magnificent ceiling raised 67 feet off the ground.
The Long Library and The Orangery are also perfect for grand parties, with the space to accommodate 300 or 500 guests.
If you want to make the most of the outdoor spaces, there’s 2000 acres of ‘Capability’ Brown landscaped parkland surrounding the Palace. The Formal Gardens provide a wealth of photo opportunities and the South Lawn Marquees are ideal for pretty summer weddings.
The marquees are also ideal for seriously huge wedding parties, as the South Lawn can accommodate up to a staggering 2000 people – so at least you won’t have to worry about cutting anyone off the guest list!
Blenheim Palace can also add TV and film wedding venue to its extensive list of credentials, as it has been featured in a host of Hollywood blockbusters – such as James Bond film ‘Spectre’ and ‘Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix’.
Image credit: Glen Mitchell at Weddings by Nicola and Glen
Visit Blenheim Palace’s listing on hitched.
Healey Barn – Best New Venue
We love to champion up and coming venues here at hitched, so were thrilled when you chose the stunning Healey Barn as your Best New Venue.
Tucked amongst the Northumbrian countryside near the village of Healey, this picture perfect venue is made up of a collection of traditional stone farm buildings around a sheltered courtyard.
Image credit (top): Willow and Hare Photography
We spoke to the team at Healey Barn who said: “We are completely blown away with being awarded Best New Venue. Since we started to renovate the site in October 2014, we could tell the venue was special – we even had couples booking their weddings at Healey Barn when the place didn’t even have a roof!
“It is incredible to have been honoured with this award and also by hitched, who support an amazing number of venues across the UK. The venue has so much to offer couples, not to mention there’s a backdrop of sculptured gardens and rolling views of Northumberland.”
Even since the Barn’s first wedding in June 2015, there has been an impressive 200 weddings booked since for the next two years – and the staff are on hand every step of the way to help couples plan their dream day.
“We make sure we are there to help each and every bride and groom throughout the whole planning process,” continue the Healey Barn team. “From choosing the food and drink to recommending local suppliers for the big day, we’ll be there to assist. We’ll even help pin any dresses at the last minute if needed!”
Image credit (bottom right): 2tone Photography
Visit Healey Barn’s listing on hitched.
Clearwell Castle – Editors Choice
Our Editor Caroline handpicked the breath taking Clearwell Castle as her champion for The UK Wedding Awards 2016.
“There are many reasons why this Grade II listed mansion is my winner,” says Caroline. “One of the biggest reasons though has to be the stunning ballroom - with its 75ft aisle and leaded windows, it’s the most beautiful location for a civil ceremony with a difference. It really is rare to find a wedding venue with such a spectacular setting to say ‘I do’.”
“We are so proud to have been awarded the ‘Editor’s Choice’ award,” says Laura Vodden, the Sales, Marketing and PR Executive for the Castle. “The team at Clearwell Castle work extremely hard to ensure that they offer all of their couples the perfect wedding. To have this excellence recognised by such a prestigious awards scheme is truly fabulous!
“We pride ourselves on being a wedding venue that offers fully exclusive use, as we want to make every couple to feel like they’re the first ones to have their wedding at Clearwell Castle. They’ll receive our full attention and there’ll be no confetti on the floor from the day before.”
With its distinct roofing, arched glass windows and beautiful lawn, Clearwell Castle is a truly incredible setting for your big day.
As if all that wasn’t enough, there are also 15 comfy bedrooms within the castle for you and your nearest and dearest to stay. Plus there are additional properties within the grounds that could be used as extra guest accommodation, or perhaps as a place where the bridal party and groomsmen can stay.
Visit Clearwell Castle’s listing on hitched.
To see more fantastic venues like our award winners, check out our pick of seriously stylish and glamorous wedding venues.