This Hampshire haven has a well-deserved reputation for stylish staycations, thanks to its striking interiors and sustainable credentials. But the Georgian country-house hotel’s best-kept secret is that it’s available for a handful of exclusive-hire weddings a year. Each bespoke wedding at Heckfield Place is imbued with the natural elegance of this grand venue – not to mention the world-class art collection that forms your backdrop.
Sleeping 90 guests, this endless 400-acre estate, with laid-back restaurant and glorious grounds of ancient heather and woodland, can be taken over exclusively for two nights to celebrate your nuptials in style. At just under an hour from the capital, it’s perfect for couples with a London-based guest list. For the main event, the hotel can accommodate up to 120 – opt for a marquee in the grounds and you can extend that to 150. With its warm and welcoming Georgian house set in peaceful pleasure grounds, this is the place for those seeking a home-away-from-home vibe with lashings of luxury.
Set the scene:
Art lovers will be in heaven here. From the moment you enter the Georgian manor, you’re treated to an array of carefully curated pieces – its entrance hall, lined with abstract works, is particularly impressive. Staff welcome you with warm smiles – the women in smart, smock-style dresses and the men in corduroy suits – setting a distinctive tone that underlines the bespoke ethos here. Interiors are stylish yet beautifully paired back with original features creating the main canvas for a modern colour palette and a mix of contemporary and classic pieces. Adding to the country home ambience, fresh flowers from the cutting garden are loosely arranged in vases dotted throughout rooms on sideboards and tables. Naturally, the drawing room is at the heart of the house and features deep, squishy sofas, a grand piano and roaring fires in winter months. Tea time is a joy here. Forget the standard fussy afternoon tea and take your time over slabs of homemade walnut-and-coffee cake served daily at 4pm with a cup of tea. It’s an effortlessly British place to be with character and charm oozing from every nook.
The options for weddings are truly endless at Heckfield Place, with spaces to suit all visions, both indoors and out. The Assembly Room is the largest option (seating 100 for your ceremony and 90 for dinner). This versatile space has moveable walls and is flooded with natural light thanks to floor-to-ceiling doors. Here, your guests can spill out onto the glorious terrace that overlooks the woodlands and lake for a true country-house wedding feel. If you’re looking for a more curated backdrop, both restaurants – Heath and Marle – are licensed for weddings. Marle lends itself to bigger celebrations, seating 90 for your ceremony and 85 for dinner, with a possible 40 on the breathtaking terrace. Heath is a more intimate and atmospheric option, this former old-stables-turned-dynamic-restaurant sees food cooked over an open fire. The Dining Room is another intimate option. What was once the original dining room of the house is now a chic space with panelled walls and a Gary Bunt painting as centrepiece.
One of our favourite options has to be The Glasshouse. Located in the working walled garden, it offers a whimsical setting like no other. This quintessentially English location hosts intimate weddings, relaxed rehearsal dinners or a drinks reception amid the scented roses and fruit trees that line the walls of the glasshouse. If you’re envisioning an outdoor ceremony, you’re spoilt for choice with the lakeside Pavillion, the Italian Terrace or South Lawn.
Food and drink:
The farm-to-plate ethos is taken to the next level here, with culinary mastermind Skye Gyngell at the helm. Every plate is seasonal, coming from the hotel’s biodynamic Market Garden and organic Home Farm – which you can stroll to from the main house. When it comes to your wedding feast, there’s no such thing as a set menu. Skye and her team will come up with bespoke courses inspired by your ideas, the time of year and the setting. Imagine homegrown baby beets with goat’s curd, vesuvio tomato and basil, followed by Heckfield lamb with cime di rapa, spring turnips and salsa verde, and a bitter-chocolate cake with clementine and cardamom ice cream to finish.
With all this local, fresh produce and real home cooking, your guests will delight in the welcoming feel of Heckfield Place. The aforementioned tea and a hearty slice of cake can also be served in the drawing room (and we love the simplicity of this as opposed to high tea).
Heckfield Place has 45 rooms, which can be taken over exclusively for two nights. The six different room types are all beautifully curated with muted tones – think natural materials and quirky touches such as straw baskets and bunches of dried herbs – and finished with a true level of craftsmanship. Guests will delight in all the luxury of a five-star hotel, and be wowed by the venue’s unique charm and character, thanks in part to the mesmerising artwork in each bedroom that sits alongside the period features. For the honeymoon suite, we’d suggest the Long Suite – as it’s up in the eaves, it offers utmost privacy. There are also a several pet-friendly options if you’re planning on accommodating four-legged friends on your big day.
Originally built as the private residence of Jane Hawley between 1763 and 1766, the house and grounds are steeped in history. In its current iteration, Heckfield Place opened in 2020 after the Georgian mansion was lovingly restored over a period of nine years. This passion project was that of art collector Gerald Chan, who has lined the walls here with his world-class private collection.
The hotly anticipated Bothy by Wildsmith opened earlier this year and has wowed its first guests thanks to the tranquillity of the setting – it’s a place where any pre-wedding jitters will simply melt away. We suggest booking a signature treatment, such as the Wildsmith Radical Botany Facial or the Biodynamic Thai Massage, which balances both the body and the emotions, as the ultimate start to your wedding celebrations. Your guests will also love the pool that looks onto the farmland. Designed to be fully immersive, The Bothy is somewhere to escape and switch off.
As a new hotel, Heckfield Place seems to have sustainability built into its DNA. Everything has been thought of and everything is considered, from the careful preservation and repurposing of this historic house, to the championing of a farm-to-table ethos across their restaurants – the farm and market garden supplying fresh produce all year round. This wonderful approach will also apply to your wedding menu. As all the flowers are grown in the cutting garden, you get the best shades and scents of each season.
Capacity: Sleeps 90 / up to 150 for reception
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