Be it a private estate, sky-high vistas, exotic marine life or splendid isolation on your own private island, these unusual wedding venues around the UK will add a one-off flavour to your celebration
Your own Irish estate
Spread over eight islands on the northern tip of Lough Erne, Belle Isle is a 470-acre estate close to Enniskillen and has been designated a Special Area of Conservation. With fantastic views from the main house over the lake, and opportunities for fishing and other country sports, this is a fantasy-island setting for a leisurely wedding celebration.
Exclusive hire is offered on both The Hamilton Wing and the recently refurbished Abercorn Wing, accommodating 26 in total. Further accommodation is spread across coach houses, courtyard appointments and cottages on the estate and the house and grounds offer sumptuous possibilities for a grand party. belle-isle.com
A Welsh château
What could be more romantic than a French château? Except that Château Rhianfa is a delicious fairytale confection located in Anglesey, overlooking the Menai Strait and Snowdonia. Built as a gift to his wife Lady Sarah by the Baronet of Bodelwyddan John Hay Williams – and modelled in the Loire style – its romantic turrets and towers make a stunning backdrop for a party. There are three elegant function rooms and the grounds are idyllic.
The property is available for exclusive hire for weddings, with a range of accommodation within the castle, as well as three self-catering cottages in the grounds. You can tailor make a bespoke celebration with the help of the castle’s wedding planners. amazingvenues.co.uk
Scottish artists’ retreat
Located on Scotland’s wildly romantic west coast and overlooking the islands of Islay, Jura and Gigha, Crear studio and artists’ retreat is available as an exclusive-use venue for wedding parties. It can comfortably host up to 100 guests plus if you choose a marquee in the grounds but marriages here can be as understated as you like. There are a variety of options for services – a local church if you prefer or you can say your vows on the beach, a hillside or woodland surrounding the property. Crear is designed as a year-round venue and celebrations can also take place in its purpose-built studio – a vast blank-canvas space with glass wall overlooking the mountains of Jura and enough floor space for dancing or dining.
The team at Crear can help with every planning detail – from flowers to delicious food. There is accommodation in Crear House and nearby cottage for 18, with plenty of local choices for additional guests ranging from hotels to campsites. crearweddings.co.uk
Up, up and away
London Eye really needs no introduction, but it’s worth remembering just how groundbreaking this amazing design is – spawning a whole host of big-wheel attractions around the world. This is the original and, with views across the city skyline from a 135m vantage point, it’s a memorable place to say your vows and then raise a toast – especially if you combine it with a follow-on celebration on London’s South Bank. There are packages and bespoke options to choose from and, so you don’t miss the view, you can have two rotations to allow for both ceremony and wedding toast. londoneye.com
Into the deep
Located in Plymouth, The National Marine Aquarium is the UK’s largest and is within a purpose-built glass fronted building overlooking the historic Barbican and harbour. It offers a variety of event spaces, including the Shark Tunnel, Blue Planet and Eddystone Reef – all adding a magical underwater backdrop to your day. For larger events, the Horizons Suite offers panoramic views across the waters. You can build in private tours of the aquarium as part of your event. national-aquarium.co.uk
Solent Forts offer something completely different as you and your guests can celebrate in the middle of the Solent in splendid isolation. Formerly Victorian sea defences, they have been extensively refurbished and are now exclusive hire properties suitable for weddings – you’ll even find hot tub and spa treatment rooms. Guests arrive by small ferry or RIB (rigid inflatable boat) from Portsmouth’s Gunwharf Quays or – with special permission – may sail their own vessels in. There is a helipad if bride and groom prefer to arrive in style.
No Man’s Fort is the largest wedding venue, with 22 bedrooms and space for up to 200 guests to party. Spitbank is more intimate (up to 60 guests), with fabulous rooftop sauna, lighthouse and a wine cave. You will have your own crew to manage the proceedings and can even hire both forts if you really want to push the boat out. amazingvenues.co.uk