Whether it’s an enchanted weekend or an idyllic rural wedding you’re after, you’ll find magical luxury retreats in the British countryside. We explore Oastbrook Estate Vineyard and Wilderness Reserve, two perfect places for a magical getaway
UK luxury retreats are top of everyone’s wishlist this summer, and we do have some stunning destinations where you can escape the crowds and enjoy idyllic and unspoiled surroundings. The Absolutely Weddings team visited two top spots, in Sussex and Suffolk to find out more.
Oastbrook Estate Vineyard
Deep in the Sussex countryside lies Oastbrook Estate Vineyard, a perfect get-away-from-it-all setting on the banks of the River Rother, near Bodiam Castle, that can be exclusively yours on your wedding day, writes Sandy Cadiz-Smith
Owners Nick and America Brewer have created a magical fairytale setting for weddings in this slice of rolling countryside. Originally a Guinness hop farm, Oastbrook is now a self-contained vineyard paradise with the backdrop of the centuries old oasthouse.
There’s plenty of space, both inside and out, to tailor-make your special day. You will also discover endless stunning photo opportunities. From the enchanting Hobbit House looking across the vines to distant rolling hills, to the palm-tree lined sparkling pool, quirky cabana bar and Rivendell-inspired tasting room (there’s a lot of Hobbit inspiration here) let your imagination run wild.
You’re guaranteed personal service from America Brewer herself, who’s there to make sure all your wishes are granted. If you want something, she will do her best to make it happen. Picture pre-wedding cocktails poolside before the ceremony in the picturesque gazebo overlooking the vines. Design your own gourmet food and wine pairing showcasing the wide range of delicious local produce, including Oastbrook’s own sparkling rosé. Sit down for dinner in the tasting room or a marquee.
Possibly best of all Oastbrook can be your one-stop shop destination. From the day before when the bridal party can settle in to the two-bedroom Hobbit House to the post-wedding breakfast among the vines, you won’t need to leave your little piece of heaven. As well as the charming Hobbit House for the bridal party, glamping can be organised just across the little bridge in the adjacent field. So, the celebrations can go on for longer, with you and your guests surrounded by nature in total privacy.
* For a wedding tour of Oastbrook Estate Vineyard, visit oastbrook.com
Wilderness Reserve is at the top of everyone’s list for a UK staycation thanks to its gorgeous individual properties – twenty and counting. Located in Sibton, Suffolk, it’s the place for exclusive-hire, nailing the laid-back luxury approach for every size of party, writes Isabella Eckett.
Over two decades, the 5,000-acre estate has been regenerated, with nature at the heart of every development. Cows and sheep graze the land freely and vast wildflower meadows add to the tranquility. But what really sets Wilderness Reserve apart is the incredibly chic interiors of the restored farmhouses and cottages in its grounds.
The Grange has its own spa facilities, outdoor pool and hot tub, cosy girly bedrooms with roll top baths and a large rustic kitchen for cooking or dancing around. The Walled Garden is Insta-famous with its floor-to-ceiling glass windows, while the Suffolk pink Farmhouse makes a fabulously cosy and chic backdrop for your weekend away.
Sibton Park manor house or the brand new Chapel Barn are perfect for accommodating larger celebrations. For weddings, the estate is available for exclusive hire – and there are only a handful each year, making this rather special. There are also a romantic boltholes for two nestled in the grounds. Candle-lit (electricity-free) Hex Cottage is a honeymooner’s favourite.
This is proper countryside so with an abundance of activities on offer. Go paddle-boarding on the serpentine lake, explore by Pashley bicycle or shoot a few clays. The estate has its own ranger to show you around – hot tip: bird-watching has become the in thing among guests. Foodies are in heaven here. The Bonfire Experience dining alfresco in the woods is unmissable. If you want grand, hire one of the estate’s private chefs for a seasonal five-star feast.
* For more information about weddings at getaways at Wilderness Reserve, go to wildernessreserve.com
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