Wedding venue inspiration - Historic venues

Deciding on your ideal wedding venue is an key part of your wedding planning.

There is a huge choice of different venue types in Hampshire and Dorset including hotels, barns, country manor houses, romantic castles as well as chic city and town centre locations.

Check out these stunning wedding venues and those further afield in our listings below.

Historic venues: Audleys Wood Hotel, Hampshire

Audleys Wood Hotel, Hampshire

Nestled in the Hampshire countryside, surrounded by woodland, this former hunting lodge oozes character and charm. The Victorian country mansion is warm and inviting, furnished with antiques and fine paintings to complement the elaborate carvings, ornate stonework and beautiful stained glass windows. There's a choice of licensed spaces inside and out for weddings large or small. The church-like Conservatory provides a wow-factor setting for your 'I dos'. With high vaulted ceilings and large windows overlooking the private grounds, it can host up to 100 ceremony guests. Celebrate afterwards in the elegant Garden Pavilion, only a stone's throw away in the hotel gardens, the light and airy space makes the most of the tranquil countryside views. With its own bar and a dreamy fairylight canopy you can host your wedding breakfast and reception here with up to 200 family and friends.


Historic venues: HMS Warrior, Hampshire

HMS Warrior, Hampshire

For a wedding day to remember HMS Warrior stands out from the crowd. Steeped in history, the magnificent ship is sure to wow your loved ones, with its original charm, character and Victorian workmanship. Guests can walk the decks at leisure, soaking up the atmosphere. Britain's first iron-hulled battleship, it offers an array of fascinating wedding spaces and standout photo opportunities. Licensed for ceremonies it can cater for weddings large or small. The Captain's Cabin provides a romantic setting for an intimate service with up to 20 loved ones, while the Officer's Half Deck can accommodate up to 95 for your 'I dos' and 60 for a formal reception. For larger celebrations, the main Gun Deck can seat up to 240 friends and family.


Historic venues: Royal Naval Club & Royal Albert Yacht Club, Hampshire

Royal Naval Club & Royal Albert Yacht Club, Hampshire

With views across Governors Green and the Garrison Church to the Solent and Isle of Wight, this prestigious venue provides a unique historic setting and a tailored service to suit a range of big-day needs. With six function rooms it can cater for everything from an intimate gathering for half a dozen loved ones to a formal dinner for more than 100 guests. The club prides itself on providing great food and offers a bespoke service tailored to suit you. So if there's a special dish you want on the big-day menu, you only have to ask. Licensed for civil ceremonies in the Trafalgar or Albert Rooms, you can host your whole day here or there's an evening-only party package available including sole use of the Spinnaker Bar, Osborne Ballroom and Trafalgar Dining Room for a private celebration.


Historic venues: Kingston Country Courtyard, Corfe Castle, Dorset

Kingston Country Courtyard, Corfe Castle, Dorset

Picture your day in a stunning 16th-century Purbeck stone barn, with a canopy of twinkly lights? Then this stunning venue is sure to tick the box. Set across two courtyards, it offers a wealth of charms and can cater for 130 guests and up to 175 for the evening reception. Licensed for weddings indoors and out, it's a year-round winner. Great in the summer, with a choice of amazing outdoor spaces for romantic al fresco ceremonies, the versatile venue is just as magical for winter weddings. The barn offers the perfect mix of grandeur and intimacy and the Sawmill Restaurant is also available for exclusive use; ideal for the drinks reception when the weather's bad. You can spill out from the barn on to the upper courtyard, snuggle around a firepit and toast marshmallows and enjoy mulled local cider, wine or steaming mugs of chocolate from hot drink stations. There's a team of chefs onsite as well to cater to all your foodie needs. You can even hire the venue's snow machine to be sure of the perfect magical winter scene.


Historic venues: Osborne, Isle of Wight

Osborne, Isle of Wight

Follow in the footsteps of a royal romance and marry at this romantic hotspot. Built as a family home by the sea for Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, the palatial venue was designed in the Italianate style to complement the island's mild climate and panoramic views over the Solent which reminded Prince Albert of the Bay of Naples. The venue echoes with the enduring love story of the royal couple and provides the perfect backdrop for a big-day with a difference. Catering for everything from intimate weddings to grand lavish celebrations, the possibilities are almost endless! Marry at Osborne and raise a toast surrounded by priceless exquisite artwork You can tie the knot in one of the opulent and lavishly decorated rooms – the largest being the Indian-themed Durbar room which can host up to 100 guests. Truly fit for a queen, it was built for state functions and decorated in an elaborate intricate style. The grounds and setting are equally impressive with spectacular terraces, ornate Victorian fountains, a stunning walled garden and even its own secluded private beach; providing a wealth of opportunities for weddings of all sizes indoors and out.


Historic venues: Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens, Dorset

Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens, Dorset

Escape to an exotic location surrounded by lush plants for a big-day with a difference. A nature-lovers dream, Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens is right on the Dorset coast too. Established more than 250 years ago, the magnificent 30-acre site is filled with rare and unusual plants from around the world. You can say 'I do' in the purpose-built wooden gazebo just across the lawn from the permanent luxury pavilion. Nestled in the heart of the gardens, the pavilion has been carefully designed to blend with the beautiful surroundings. Your very own oasis, it opens out into a private space accessed by its own entrance gate. With seating for 150 guests, it's hung with floor-length awnings and the wide doorways open out so you can make the most of the glorious setting.


Historic venues: Alexandra Hotel and Restaurant, Dorset

Alexandra Hotel and Restaurant, Dorset

This charming venue offers bags of old world charm with a healthy dose of stylish coastal chic thrown in – the perfect recipe for a big day to remember, The Georgian dower house was originally built in 1735 for the Countess Dowager Poulett as her seaside home. Set in a prime hillside position with breathtaking sea views, it boasts expansive lawns and a cobbled courtyard. It even has its own private 18th-century chapel, perfect for romantic 'I dos' with up to 60 loved ones. With an impressive barrel ceiling and original features it looks magical with flickering candlelight. Set in the popular seaside town of Lyme Regis there's a path that leads straight to the beach, a favourite with couples looking to steal away for photos on the famous Cobb harbour wall while their guests enjoy champagne and canapés on the lawn. The hotel offers a choice of licensed indoor wedding spaces too, including The Orangery with wide sea-facing doors leading down to the lawns. For larger celebrations, the Alexandra Dining Room offers an elegant ballroom experience and can seat up to 70 family and friends for the reception or 100 for a finger buffet.


Historic venues: St Giles House, Dorset

St Giles House, Dorset

If you're on the hunt for a one-of-a-kind backdrop for your big day, this ancestral home in the Dorset countryside is hard to beat. A labour of love, the historic landmark has been sensitively restored, breathing new life into the historic building. Be prepared for plenty of stop-stare moments from the instant you arrive and catch your first glimpse of the place. Set in beautiful private parkland, surrounded by an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the award-winning venue sits in perfect harmony with the natural landscape. Grand, yet intimate and inviting, think sumptuous interiors, marble fireplaces and ancient leather-bound books. The house has been in the same family since the 15th century and has evolved over the generations to the treasure it is today. Licensed for ceremonies for up to 120 guests, you can take your pick from a number of fabulous rooms, all beautifully decorated or Wimborne St.Giles Church is just next door.


Historic venues: Winchester Cathedral, Hampshire

Winchester Cathedral, Hampshire

Celebrate your big day at Winchester Cathedral and you can be sure of a wealth of album-worthy photos. The cathedral's historic buildings and beautiful gardens offer a fabulous setting for your post-vows celebrations. Take your pick from two standout reception spaces; the secluded garden marquee and refectory or the stunning Wessex Centre in the cathedral's Inner Close. Enjoy the best of the old and the new and combine elegant heritage with your own modern twist. The lined ivory marquee, complete with carpet and chandeliers, provides a blank canvas to make your own and can host up to 120 guests. Set in the walled garden, overlooked by the cathedral, it's an idyllic spot for a drinks reception. The Wessex Centre can accommodate up to 72 people and is a striking modern building with its own private walled garden. Built from sustainable materials and locally sourced timber, the floor-to-ceiling windows add to the light and airy atmosphere and provide spectacular views of the cathedral too.


Historic venues: Gilbert White & The Oates Collections, Hampshire

Gilbert White & The Oates Collections, Hampshire

Celebrate your wedding in an idyllic setting in the South Downs National Park. Gilbert White & The Oates Collections offers a distinctive English country backdrop with a range of romantic spaces. Set in 30 acres of heritage parkland and gardens; it's a breathtaking venue with endless photo opportunities and picturesque spots to wander through and enjoy. Inside the house the Great Parlour is a historic room for intimate ceremonies with up to 35 people or you can marry in the 16th-century Hampshire Barn with 100 loved ones or 150 with guests seated outside. The bandstand at the side is also licensed for outdoor ceremonies and offers wonderful views over the meadows. The barn boasts a magnificent oak beamed roof and period features with large double doors opening out to the parkland beyond. Festooned with fairylights and with nooks and crannies throughout, you can add your own personal touch with decorative details to suit your style. With space in front for outdoor games and seating, the bandstand makes a great chill-out area too and with a firepit to gather around in the evening, you can relax and watch the sun go down.


Historic venues: Stansted Park, Rowlands Castle, Hampshire

Stansted Park, Rowlands Castle, Hampshire

Set in more than 1,000 acres of the South Downs National Park, with far-reaching views across open countryside and ancient woodland, this former home of the Earls of Bessborough is ideal for those wanting a distinctive backdrop for their big day. The lavishly furnished Music Room is the ideal setting to say 'I do' and the private chapel within the grounds, with its blue vaulted ceiling and stained glass windows, is a magical place to have your marriage blessed. The historic grandeur of the Blue Drawing Room lends itself perfectly to a formal wedding breakfast while the south-facing lawns provide a quintessentially English setting for a marquee reception; great for larger parties so you can dine and dance into the night. Every wedding is different and couples have the freedom to have their day their way with anything from fabulous canapés to fish and chips, summer drinks on the portico to mulled wine by firelight. Whether you're planning an intimate gathering or more extravagant affair, the flexible venue caters for weddings large or small.


Historic venues: Leweston, Dorset

Leweston, Dorset

Live the fairytale and host your wedding at this stunning venue. Steeped in history, Leweston Manor oozes character and style with Art Deco interiors and a wealth of wow factor wedding spaces. The variety of versatile, light and airy rooms boast their own unique charm and can be adapted to suit your big-day theme or style. The elegant Georgian styled building is sure to impress and with 46 acres of sweeping grounds, including the Nuns, walkway, Italian garden and the secret Belvedere, there's no shortage of great photo opportunities. You can tie the knot indoors or out. There are three ceremony spaces including the Belvedere, an idyllic setting flanked by woodlands.


Historic venues: Harry Warren House, Dorset

Harry Warren House, Dorset

If you're looking for a picture postcard big-day setting, this coastal venue is hard to beat. Perfect for an intimate wedding the charming 19th-century country house is set in four acres of stunning grounds. Your guests are sure to be impressed as they round the bend in the drive to catch their first glimpse of the sweeping views over the bay – a real pinch-me moment! Weddings here are a bespoke experience, so you can celebrate your day, your way. The lawn overlooks the sea and with steps leading directly down to the sandy beach, perfect for stunning photos. You can exchange vows in the Sunken Garden looking out to sea or if you're planning a church service, the Norman Church of St Nicholas is only a five-minute walk away and can hold up to 120 people. Guests can park in the National Trust car park for the whole day and take a leisurely stroll to arrive at the house on foot for maximum impact from the panoramic views. Marquee receptions are held in the grounds, providing a blank canvas to create your own look and style with the historic house and beautiful bay as your backdrop.


Historic venues: Rhinefield House Hotel, Brockenhurst, Hampshire

Rhinefield House Hotel, Brockenhurst, Hampshire

Known locally as the 'jewel in the forest' this historic venue is a wedding gem. Make your way down the long tee-lined driveway and be prepared for plenty of stop-stare moments from your first glimpse of the impressive 19th-century Tudor and Gothic country mansion. Set in the heart of the National Park with 40 acres of glorious grounds, two ornamental ponds and a maze, there's no shortage of fabulous photo opportunities. You can host your whole day here and take your pick of a choice of rooms and spaces suitable for weddings large or small. The Keepers Room, with its ornamental fireplace and large bay windows, is ideal for relaxed intimate weddings while Hurst Castle is the venue's largest private wedding space. The fully, self-contained modern suite has its own entrance and facilities as well as an outdoor terrace overlooking the topiary orchard and can host up to 100 loved ones for the ceremony, 120 for the wedding breakfast and an extra 30 for the evening reception.


Historic venues: Careys Manor Hotel & SenSpa, Brockenhurst, Hampshire

Careys Manor Hotel & SenSpa, Brockenhurst, Hampshire

Oozing with traditional English charm and historic grace, this New Forest treasure boasts a grand oak staircase, wood-panelled walls, open fireplaces, beautiful gardens and more. Take your pick from a number of stunning backdrops, elegant reception rooms to romantic outdoor spaces, there's something to suit a host of big-day themes. The elegant Cedar Suite has its own entrance and secluded walled garden so you can host your whole day here in private, joined by up to 150 loved ones for the evening reception. The Cedar Garden provides a romantic spot for al fresco ceremonies set against the backdrop of the traditional handmade oak pavilion and there's a 10-acre field designed especially for fun festival-style celebrations.


Historic venues: The Montagu Arms Hotel, Beaulieu, Hampshire

The Montagu Arms Hotel, Beaulieu, Hampshire

This welcoming English country house hotel offers comfort and style in picture-postcard surroundings. Located in the heart of the historic village of Beaulieu, with its tidal river, the free-roaming New Forest ponies and donkeys frequently wander past – great for quirky photos! The Grade II listed building is full of atmosphere and charm with an award-winning restaurant overlooking the terraced garden, sink-into sofas and upholstered club chairs in the cosy drawing room, not to mention 24 en-suite bedrooms and two duplex suites all individually styled. Ceremonies take place in the light and airy Oakwood Room overlooking the garden or the Terrace Restaurant, which can accommodate 100 friends and family. For more intimate affairs the Paris Room provides the perfect cosy setting for your 'I dos'. Celebrate afterwards with a delicious wedding breakfast in either of the rooms or take over the award-winning 3AA rosette restaurant and enjoy a bespoke menu your guests are sure to remember.


Historic venues: Nothe Fort, Weymouth, Dorset

Nothe Fort, Weymouth, Dorset

If you're on the hunt for something out of the ordinary for your big day, this is it. Weymouth's historic Nothe Fort on the Jurassic coast is perched on a promontory overlooking the sea. Built by the Victorians to protect Portland Harbour, it's steeped in history and is one of the best preserved forts of its kind. The setting and photo opportunities are second to none with 360° panoramic views of the bay and harbour. Built on three levels it's surrounded by the beautiful Nothe Gardens full of trees, shrubs and winding paths. Licensed for weddings you can marry in the Engine Room with up to 80 guests. For more intimate gatherings there are a host of quirky spaces for your 'I dos' including the Gun Deck, Lookout and the Search Light which can accommodate up to six people with 50 more seated on the terrace. After tying the knot, head off to the Fort View Cafe to celebrate or if you've invited a crowd, you can host a marquee reception on the Parade Ground with 250 family and friends. The Fort Artillery will even perform a special firing of the canon in your honour.


Historic venues: Rownhams House & Gardens, Southampton, Hampshire

Rownhams House & Gardens, Southampton, Hampshire

Surrounded by 12 acres of gardens and woodland, complete with its own lake and ice house, Rownhams House is an idyllic setting for a magical wedding venue. The lawn is ideal for al fresco drinks receptions and garden games post-vows and garden games. There's also a rustic outdoor bar for serving your guests and plenty of seating too. The beautiful Georgian house oozes romance and character and is licensed for ceremonies. You can marry inside with up to 120 people in the Grand Library, an impressive space with ornate plastered ceilings and large sash windows allowing the natural light to flood in. For more intimate weddings, the decorative Billiard Room is the cosiest room in the house. Big enough for up to 50 family and friends, the green coloured walls reflect the wonderful garden views. You can also marry outside under the Coach House arch, in the woods or by the the lake, surrounded by trees.


Historic venues: The Elvetham, Hartley Wintney, Hampshire

The Elvetham, Hartley Wintney, Hampshire

If you're looking for wedding venue with the wow factor, The Elvetham is hard to beat. A wonderful example of Victorian architecture, the impressive building is set within 35 acres of beautifully landscaped gardens surrounded by the vast family-owned estate in the heart of the Hampshire countryside. A picture-perfect location for a stylish big day, the venue oozes history and charm and caters for weddings large or small. Full of original features, it's a photographer's dream with fireplaces, stained-glass windows, oak-panelled walls and a spectacular staircase – great for romantic just-wed shots.


Historic venues: Poole Museum, Poole, Dorset

Poole Museum, Poole, Dorset

Set in a wonderfully unique Victorian quayside warehouse Poole Museum offers a range of original spaces for a wedding venue in the museum itself and neighbouring Scaplen's Court. The historic buildings are full of character providing the perfect setting for a wedding with a difference. The Grade l listed Scaplen's Court is steeped in history with exposed stone walls, Medieval doorways, a charming courtyard and walled garden, all adding to the atmosphere for a memorable big day. Scaplen's Court is available for exclusive use so you can have the house, courtyard and outdoor spaces all to yourself, for you and your guests to enjoy with the flexibility to plan your day your way. The stunning Upper Hall is the largest of the rooms and the main ceremony area. You can say 'I do' surrounded by period features including a stunning stained glass window and up to 56 guests. Celebrate afterwards with a sit-down wedding breakfast and invite up to 20 more for the evening reception.


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