Choosing a venue with gorgeous interiors is half the battle. But when the grounds are stunning too? You’re on to a winner
You’ve spent the last few months dreaming of an outdoor ceremony. The thought of a soft breeze gently lifting the edge of your veil in front of rows of guests in light summer attire have occupied your thoughts no end. But what if the weather has other plans? Are you placing all your wedding eggs in one basket? Just to be on the safe side, we’ve scoured the country to bring you a selection of dazzling venues with showstopping interiors to match their dreamy grounds:
“You’d be hard-pressed to find a venue as unique as Achnagairn for your wedding,” beams the venue’s Tanya Lacey-Solymar. Tucked away in the Highlands, just west of Inverness, stands this spectacular castle with a well-earned reputation as a stellar wedding location. The lush green lawns, towering trees, maze-like walkways and hidden garden corners are equal to the venue’s supreme vaulted ballroom and deluxe bedrooms.
The ancestral home of Clan Brodie, the family’s castle namesake has an outstanding collection of priceless paintings and a magnificent library. How’s that for impressive interiors? “Guests love to explore our elegant rooms,” says Rebecca Sloan of the National Trust for Scotland, which owns the property. And if the interior looks good, wait till you see what’s outside: step into the picturesque grounds and prepare to be wowed. “Spring weddings are especially beautiful here as the grounds are carpeted with over a hundred different varieties of daffodil,” claims Rebecca.
As you approach Airth Castle, the crisp green meadow-like lawn that leads up to the venue’s front door makes a fabulous first impression. Surrounding the castle are soaring trees that add to the sense of timeless splendour. Take a peek indoors and prepare to swoon all over again: every room is beautifully decorated with plush finishes and decadent chandeliers, but the effect is elegant rather than flashy. Set in a secluded corner of Stirlingshire, yet easily accessible, this place has it all and more.
Your first glimpse of Fernie Castle comes on the way up the wooded drive – it’ll make you feel as if you’re approaching a hidden paradise, perfect for a private wedding celebration with your nearest and dearest. Not far from St Andrews, the castle sits in 17 acres of woodland and boasts its own treehouse perched in six lofty sycamores. When you tear yourself away from the verdant grounds, the majestic interiors of the castle will transport you to a time of decadent history and design.
“Set in the grounds of Falkirk’s Callendar Park, this historic place offers affordable style and elegance in a venue at the heart of the community,” says Peter Scott of Falkirk Community Trust. He talks highly of Callendar House, and it’s easy to see why: marry here and you’ll be part of a story that goes all the way back to the 14th century – Braveheart territory – with layers of Scots Baronial and French renaissance architecture on top.
Glenapp Castle in Ayrshire has great beauty in its period furnishings and interiors that make it a much-loved venue for weddings. As if that wasn’t enough, the astounding gardens, forest and seascapes that surround the castle will blow you away. Paul Szkiler, owner of the castle, is proud of the place: “It’s not just the interiors that will be noticed, but what’s outside too. The estate landscapes are truly a wonder to behold,” he says.
Planning a wedding with an artistic theme? Check out Paxton House the next time you’re near Berwick-upon-Tweed. “Paxton House has several stunning indoor options, including the largest purpose-built picture gallery in Scotland, filled with paintings from the National Galleries of Scotland,” says the venue’s Molly Seed. Care to take things outside? Paxton’s brand new marquee offers views over the River Tweed and the Union Chain Bridge. “The unique riverside setting and 90-acre estate make this a really special place.”
If you’re hoping to take full advantage of your venue’s interiors to support your styling, Fyvie Castle could be your ideal wedding destination. Rebecca Sloan of the National Trust for Scotland, which runs the Aberdeenshire castle, says: “Many of our couples find they don’t have to spend a lot of their precious budget on flowers, theming or decorations as Fyvie’s paintings and tapestries are so stunning.” Take a stroll in the grounds and the grandeur continues with a picturesque loch and an unusual glass-roofed racquets court.
Centred in a large country estate of 54 acres on the outskirts of Edinburgh, there’s a lot to explore at the idyllic Melville Castle. “This expanse of parkland provides the most romantic backdrop to wedding photographs, giving it an enchanting feel,” says its events team. Inside is just as impressive: “The castle has a selection of beautifully decorated private rooms, a fully equipped marquee and 33 en-suite bedrooms.”
Thanks to its royal roots, Carberry Tower was always going to be a setting fit for a prince and princess. The Queen Mother’s sister, Lady Margaret Elphinstone, used to live here, when King George VI was a frequent visitor. Our own Queen and her sister, Princess Margaret, spent a lot of time here too, and the venue has maintained all of its regal appeal. “Our magnificent castle, with elegant internal features, is set within a beautiful country estate,” says Carberry’s Marjory Morrow. “We even have our own private chapel in the grounds, allowing us to host the most romantic of weddings.”
Chatelherault is a picturesque Georgian hunting lodge, built for the Duke of Hamilton in the 18th century. Its grand rooms were designed to impress – and they still do. As Christine Slowey of Chatelherault Country Park puts it: “The interior is graced with ornate plasterwork, high ceilings and tall, romantic windows that accentuate the elegant proportions of the rooms.” The sense of luxury follows you outside. “Chatelherault’s parterre gardens are outstanding, helping to create endless opportunities for capturing perfect photographs,” she adds.
Fingask Castle, a romantic chateau in its own wooded valley in Perthshire, is home to one of Scotland’s great gardens: among the beautiful plantings is some impressively sculpted topiary, adding a dramatic note to the scenery. St Peter’s Well is another focal point in the grounds, along with a magical water garden that will provide amazing moments with family and friends. Back inside, you’ll find modern touches such as a games room and a heated pool alongside the many gallery rooms that can be used for your celebration.
Fans of Downton Abbey? We’ve got the very place for you: Pollok House, in Glasgow’s extensive and celebrated Pollok Country Park. Another of the National Trust for Scotland’s gems, the house is filled with effortless historical charm. “Couples can make use of both the elegant upstairs family rooms as well as the lower servants’ quarters for their wedding,” says Rebecca Sloan of the NTS. There’ll be no upstairs-downstairs division here, though, as the servants’ quarters are wonderfully impressive.
Set on the edge of the famous Muirfield golf course, Greywalls Hotel and its grounds have magnificent views over East Lothian and the Firth of Forth. The delightful walled gardens are attributed to the celebrated designer Gertrude Jekyll, and there’s a tennis court, a croquet lawn and a putting green as well as borders filled with sweet herbaceous plants. Wander indoors and you’ll find grand and opulent rooms to enjoy with your guests. Greywalls is offered on an exclusive-use basis, meaning you’ll be able to take over the whole place and call it home for your wedding day.
House for an Art Lover
“House for an Art Lover is absolutely unique, both inside and out,” says Hannah Cochrane, wedding co-ordinator at the elegant Glasgow venue. “Where else could you have your ceremony and wedding meal surrounded by the sublime designs of Charles Rennie Mackintosh?” The Art Nouveau architecture is immensely popular with couples from all over the world, but be sure to tour the house’s surroundings, Bellahouston Park, too. “The leafy park setting, on the south side of the city, offers beautiful walled gardens and extraordinary sculptures and artworks,” says Hannah.