For a classic, country house English wedding in the Cotswolds’ most striking Palladian pile – where old school glamour still has the last word and bridal gowns hang along resplendent canopied four poster beds. Is Lucknam Park the wedding venue for you?
Whether couples opt for exclusive use or one of the two wedding packages available, Lucknam Park delivers on bucolic romance, superlative food and those magical, country house touches – from horse rides à deux through the grounds to a stylish send off in a helicopter from the hotel’s lawn. This is where to go for the quintessential English country wedding, with a house wrapped in pretty creepers and gardens matured and manicured over the centuries. The building and its surroundings have the traditional oomph, softness and sense of history that newcomers to the haute country hotel scene simply can’t replicate. This translates beautifully for exclusive use weddings with its plush home-from-home appeal: large open fires, chintz galore and elaborate furnishings that whisper tales of aristocratic England. Those prioritising food and wine within their nuptials can depend on the hotel’s culinary reputation (almost two decades of Michelin-stardom) as well as an expert sommelier to ensure the wine is finely-tuned to the food and those key moments throughout the day.
Set the scene:
Standing pillared-and-proud along a mile-long, beech and lime-framed drive, Lucknam Park packs that period drama appeal. Tall 18th century windows peer over velvety lawns, topiary and acres of tamed parkland and gardens, while the building’s buttermilk-stone mirrors that of nearby Bath’s handsome crescents. The courtyards and spectacular grounds are what photographers dream of – an idyllic, Jane Austen-style backdrop for truly knockout wedding pictures.
Inside, it’s a resolutely classic affair, one that tows the country house line rather than veering into spruce hotel territory. Grand portraits peer down over rooms dressed in thick, draped curtains, chandeliers and antiques; carpeted rooms are decked in traditional rugs, sofas and mahogany four posters; and corridors snake between light-filled dining rooms, a salon and a library. The spa and unbuttoned, brasserie-style restaurant occupy what was once staff quarters across courtyard from the main house, and guests wrapped in dressing gowns float gleefully around this area, free of the judgement you sometimes receive in old country house hotels. The bridal party, guests eager to extend their stay or those invited as part of exclusive, multi-day buyouts can make the most of Lucknam Park’s country pursuit menu, from tennis and croquet to clay pigeon shooting and falconry (not to mention one of the finest equestrian centres in the country). Following their nuptials, newslyweds can hang around to unwind in the cavernous spa, with 111SKIN facials, couples massages using National Spa Factory and a shoulder-lowering sauna-and-steam.
Who hasn’t dreamed of celebrating their big day amid the architectural splendour, landscaped gardens and portrait-laden walls of a large country house? Lucknam Park removes all notions of a ‘venue’ ad instead feels resolutely ‘yours’ – somewhere intimate, peaceful and pleasing on the eye to gather your nearest and dearest together for a memorable celebration. Wedding ceremonies can take place in the genteel, magnolia-hued Walmsley Room (40 guests), the unapologetically traditional Music Room (50) with its chandeliers and imposing fireplace, or in secluded outdoor locations around the estate, making the most of the charming gardens (the rose and lavender ones being pure photographer reverie).
Those opting for an exclusive buyout (recipe for a true wow-factor wedding) can seat up to 80 guests in the Restaurant Hywel Jones by Lucknam Park for a fine dining spin on the classic wedding breakfast. Standing receptions in the jewel box Library or Drawing Room are effortlessly elegant – their chandeliers, elaborate wallpaper and antiques requiring little-to-no decoration, perhaps simply flowers (the beauty of a country house wedding). Whether opting for a small, intimate wedding or a grander affair, Lucknam Park’s consistent thread on event spaces is its authentic classicism – worlds away from anything corporate or cookie cutter.
Food and drink:
It comes as no surprise that a hotel clinging onto its restaurant’s Michelin star for almost two decades surpasses guest expectations in the food department. Lucknam Park’s lofty culinary standards and meticulous attention to detail are the real ingredients behind the delectable canapes and wedding breakfast that guests will wax lyrical about for years to come. It’s at the reception, following the service or ceremony, that guests are initially wowed by perfect slivers of crispy pork fritter; miso and ginger glazed salmon skewers; artichoke, trifle and ricotta vol au vent, and the like. But it’s Lucknam Park’s creative riff on the classics that really sets it apart – with dishes such as cooked-to-perfection Brecon lamb with salt baked carrot and cumin granola, or citrus cured Loch Duart salmon with lobster cocktail and shellfish mayonnaise. Couples can either leave the executive chef and his team to work their magic, with a selection of menus and canape options, or, with exclusive use weddings, they can leverage the hotel’s culinary muscle for a more tailored approach. This extends beyond just the menu, with the-next-day lunches prepared picnic style in the gardens, or perhaps in the unbuttoned Brasserie by the spa, even more of a sharing plate-style feast (whatever foodie whims couples may possess… Lucknam Park’s gold-standard chefs can make it happen).
Those opting for the wedding day package or the intimate wedding package can tailor accommodation options to suit the layout of their day (at an extra cost). This allows couples and their wedding parties the flexibility to stay for as long as they need, perhaps on either side of the wedding day to make the most of Lucknam Park’s rolling parkland, standard-setting spa and equestrian centre. The bridal suite (included within the intimate wedding package) is a picture of yesteryear decadence with its chaise longue, antique mirrors and four poster bed, all peering over the mile-long drive and with natural light pouring in to spotlight those pre-service moments. For a Lord and Lady of the Manor moment, the wedding day package features the Manor Room, where the opulence is dialled up, the mahogany and chintz at its photogenic peak and the views across the grounds, eye-wateringly pretty. Couples can also choose to stowaway in one of Lucknam Park’s three-bed cottages (also a great option as a bridal party base before, and on the morning of, the big day). These tow the same traditional line as the main house’s rooms, though through a fresher, cosier prism more reminiscent of a clipped country home than a noble, antique-filled abode. Their own private kitchens and gardens offer a higher grade of privacy than the main house, while still enjoying the slick, nothing-is-too-much service Lucknam Park is known for. And for exclusive use weddings, couples and their guests will have the full run of the hotel’s 42 refined suites and rooms, as well as its surrounding scatter of cottages – keeping the wedding party on site and tailoring Lucknam Park’s dizzying roster of activities and staggeringly pretty rooms to bring their vision to life.
Dating back to the late 18th century, Lucknam Park was commissioned by a wealthy merchant from Bristol as his handsome family seat. The Palladian mansion has since lived many lives, most notably as a temporary headquarters for airmen during World War Two, with a fleet of Spitfire and Hurricane planes hidden beneath the trees lining its driveway. It wasn’t until 1994 that Lucknam Park was bought by a European family, who still own the hotel to this day, deftly preserving its original character and lavish classicism, while continuing and honouring the work of gardeners who have landscaped, pruned and tamed the magnificent gardens and parkland throughout the centuries. Couples can even participate in Lucknam’s horticultural story, with staff arranging for newlyweds to plant a tree in the arboretum, commemorating their marriage with a plaque.
Budget: weddings from £5,450 (subject to packages)
Capacity: up to 16 guests for the intimate wedding package; up to 60 guests for the wedding day package or larger numbers can be catered to with exclusive hire (seated in the Restaurant Hywel Jones by Lucknam Park).
Location: Lucknam Park, Chippenham SN14 8AZ
Contact: [email protected]
Instagram: @lucknam_park @relaischateaux @pobhotelsuk
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