Enchanted gardens, crumbling castles, haunted cells; if you’re looking for alternative wedding venues with a great story to tell, take a look at these 13 innately gothic wedding venues and let your imagination take you away…
Haunted Wedding Venues
Host your wedding at one of these haunted venues and you might be treated to some paranormal activity during your nuptials…
1. Walworth Castle
This Grade 1 listed mediaeval castle was built in 1189 and sits in 18 acres of grounds. It has a colourful history and is said to be haunted by a maid who was bricked into the castle’s spiral staircase wall after falling pregnant by the Lord of the house.
Guests have reported many paranormal activities including sightings of the maid’s ghost, teacups rattling at night, and crying from behind the staircase. Spooky…
Capacity: up to 150 guests
Hire from: £3,990
2. Tutbury Castle, Staffordshire
Tutbury Castle is well known for its ghost hunts.
Its bloody past of war, torture and death includes the imprisonment of Mary Queen of Scots, who was held captive at Tutbury by Elizabeth I four times.
The castle was destroyed for being a Royalist base in 1647, but Mary is still said to roam the castle’s corridors. She was recently seen by archaeologists during a castle dig and made an appearance in front of 40 guests in the south tower in 2004.
Tutbury Castle embraces its haunted reputation and not only encourages couples to hold a second, torch-lit midnight wedding, but suggest they take part in a ghost hunt around the castle grounds as part of their celebration.
Capacity: up to 130
Hire from: bespoke
3. Muncaster Castle, Cumbria
Muncaster Castle holds scientific ghost vigils at least once a year with teams stationed overnight in key locations within the castle.
Overnight ‘ghost sits’ take place in the castle’s most-haunted room (the Tapestry Room) and can be booked year-round for groups of up to eight people.
These ‘sits’ are popular because the castle is home to several ghosts including a girl who was murdered nearby and 16th-century jester, Thomas Skelton (aka Tom the Fool), who plays tricks on the resident family, their staff and their guests.
Visitors to Muncaster often talk of hearing footsteps on the corridor at night, a girl crying, temperatures plummeting for no reason, and seeing door handles turn.
Capacity: up to 100
Hire from: £4,000 (April to October); catering from £45pp. Lower venue hire rates are available on application for winter weddings and/or for smaller wedding parties.
Prisons Wedding Venues
If you have a particularly morbid fascination, why not have you and your guests incarcerated for your wedding?…
4. Bodmin Jail, Cornwall
Bodmin Jail is reportedly one of the most haunted buildings in Britain and runs its own fright night tours in the form of ghostly sleepovers hosted by a clairvoyant.
It was built in 1779 and was the location of 55 hangings, including those that of a woman who drowned her disabled son and whom many visitors claim to have heard weeping.
Themed weddings are welcome here, so let the good times roll!
Hire from: poa
5. Malmaison, Oxford
Malmaison in Oxford is a former prison-turned-hotel, and its ‘A Wing’ can now be exclusively hired for weddings.
Marry and host your reception in the atrium, and let your guests become inmates as they sleep in the surrounded ‘cells’ (each converted from three adjoining former cells).
Hire from: bespoke
Smugglers’ Tunnels & Drinking Dens
Whispers of illicit intrigue abound here; perfect for more intimate gothic weddings.
6. Old Ship Brighton
The Old Ship was built in 1559, and its Wine Cellars form part of a series of smugglers’ tunnels that were only discovered during restorations in the 1990s.
Imagine styling it up as your very own smugglers den, lined with bottles of whisky, barrels of ale, old fashioned pistols, loot and even a smugglers’ story-telling corner.
Be inspired to spin a good yarn by looking at the hotel’s old guest book – both Charles Dickens and Winston Churchill paid it a visit.
Capacity: Cellar: up to 30 guests; other function rooms (including the ballroom) can host up to 120.
Hire from: £200 for the cellar plus £35+pp
7. Banqueting House Under Croft
Ever thought about creating your own private drinking den?
James, I did, and The Undercroft in Whitehall’s Banqueting House was the result.
Many literary luminaries of the age enjoyed James’s hospitality here, including Ben Johnson, who penned a dedicatory ode to it in 1623.
After James’s death, The Undercroft was used to host royal gambling sessions: think of all the dialogue and revelries it has seen!
Its fabulously arched party space can be lit to haunt or to impress – perfect for an alternative wedding.
Capacity: up to 450
Hire from: £13.500
The Undercroft at Banqueting House
Magic & Macabre
Fuel your celebrations with spells of mystical illusion and grisly suggestion…
8. House of Magic, London
Located on a quiet residential street in London’s Southwark, Simon Drake’s House of Magic is one of the most extraordinary and outlandish venues you could hope to find.
Established 20 years ago by a renowned magician, Simon Drake, it promises eerie entertainment at every corner.
Walkthrough the gates into the permanent mist of the enchanted gardens and it won’t be long ’til you hear creaking doors, distant thunder and even howling wolves.
Continue past glowing fishponds and mechanical critters until you find yourself inside the lavishly decorated mansion filled to the brim with haunted portraits, fascinating curiosities, clockwork toys, black magic books and hair-raisingly good performance artists.
Capacity: up to 150
Hire from: £75pp
9. The Witchery, Edinburgh
Inheriting its name from the times ‘witches’ were executed here during James VI’s reign, you might be excused for thinking The Witchery would ham up its grisly past, but instead you’ll find a treasure of a venue; a decadent hideaway with lashings of gothic history and plenty of charisma.
It even has a Secret Garden and its own private terrace. You can dress and style each room of The Witchery to suit your wedding – not that we think you’ll want to: it’s practically perfect in every way.
Capacity: up to 60 guests
Hire from: £60pp
The Witchery by The Castle
Gothic Wedding Venues & Enchanted Gardens
If your idea of a fairytale wedding venue involves forgotten lands and secret gardens with outdoor chandeliers and private lakes, these venues should tickle your fancy.
10. Lost Orangery, Wiltshire
Set within 500 acres of private grounds that once belonged to Sir Walter Raleigh’s old hunting lodge, the Lost Orangery features a beautiful boating lake and valley, enchanting woodlands and a crumbling castle.
Marry in the cloister, under the archway, the portico, the thatched boathouse, the orangery or even the ballroom, before mingling with guests on the terrace for cocktails and canapes; then head over to the marquee for a banquet, or enjoy a more intimate reception for up to 40 in the chandelier-filled botanical orangery.
Capacity: up to 200
Hire from: poa
11. Carlton Towers, North Yorkshire
Built in the 1700s and set in 250 acres of land, the Grade 1 listed Victorian Gothic house of Carlton Towers has provided the backdrop for countless film and TV shows including the TV adaptation of Dickens’s Micawber and ITV1’s Victoria. It features an imposing clock tower, sweeping staircases, wood-paneled drawing rooms, double-height picture galleries and promises to bring you all the grace of Downton Abbey with the magic of Hogwarts.
Capacity: up to 100
Hire from: bespoke
12. Le Petit Chateau, Northumbria
Again, this venue isn’t traditionally spooky, but picture it all lit up with spray-gold pumpkin lanterns and swinging fairy lights.
This French-inspired chateau loves the daring and eccentric. Dressed from ceiling to floor in luxury antiques, its licensed wedding spaces include a thatched ceremony room styled like a French chapel complete with gilt chandeliers and a grand marble fireplace; an outdoor terrace featuring a retractable roof; and a chateau ballroom that opens out onto the secret Mediterranean gardens featuring 16ft plans and a fire in a water feature.
Gothic? Alternative? It’s whatever you want it to be.
Hire from: £995
Le Petit Chateau
A Cave – Alternative Wedding Venues
13. Ocean Kave, Westward Ho!, Devon
Dark, mysterious and thankfully not dripping with bats, the award winning, wonderfully secluded Ocean Kave is as decadent as a cave can get.
Not only does its clifftop location afford it fabulous views over the Atlantic, it is decked out beautifully with a gilt mirror, an impressive chandelier and gorgeous candelabra.
Oh, and did we mention, it’s next to an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Hire from: £1,675