Searching for a Rustic Countryside Wedding Venue – Derbyshire, mostly! ;)
As wedding photographers we see a lot of venues, so when it came to choosing something for our own wedding it was a little tricky! We eventually decided upon a combination, but along the way we’ve crossed paths with some amazing people and venues – so we thought we’d share them and maybe it’ll save one of you out there from scouring the internet for years! and as a massive thank you to all those really lovely folk out there :) If you’re searching for a rustic countryside wedding venue it’s worth a scroll through, it seems over the years quite a few brides and grooms have found their ideal venue via our ramblings on this page!
Our main area was the Peak District and Derbyshire as it’s fairly local and we often walk in the countryside around and about – but we did stray a little so forgive us for the odd journey into Wales or The Lakes :)
For suppliers to make your rustic day complete can we give a shout out to these guys
Flowers by Nadia di Tullio, amazing gorgeous real flowers featured in the two images below :) Eclectic chairs and bits n pieces Oliver at Poppy Trading Company is a must, he saved us at the last minute for our wedding – cheers Oliver! Got a field, need a tipi, then Peak Tipi’s have just what you need. Want a glamping village to go with that tipi? Boutique Bell have just branched out into Derbyshire too :)
Where to start… well I guess the beginning is always a good place! We love Castleton, our default location for a sunny day, summer or winter…so Townfield Barn was a really obvious choice. Located just outside Castleton in the tiny hamlet of Shatton, you’ll find this barn in a simply gorgeous valley, green green green :) The barn itself is fantastic a large stone barn at one end, with a small chill-out barn area complete with log burner lining to a small kitchen and toilet, which then leads on to an outside-in barn area. It really does have a combination of everything with a definite barn wedding feel, however its not licensed for ceremonies, but there are quite a few quintessentially English churches nearby or Treakcliff Cavern – who do ceremonies in the cave! (for up to 80 guests but only after 4pm). With camping on site and cottages to hire 5 mins walk up the road, we were definitely very tempted indeed, but we’re very disorganised and they do get booked up quickly!
Pros: Fantastic Peak District site, completely DIY, inside and outside and even in-between spaces, small kitchen and toilet facilities, camping included and cottages to rent.
Cons: Very popular, for good reason! No civil ceremony licence. If a big wedding you would also need to hire extra portaloos. CURRENTLY NOT TAKING BOOKINGS AS OWNERS ARE RETIRING (2015/16)…may come back to life again in the future…..
But never fear just down the road (sort of) from Townfield barn a new addition (2016) to the rustic Peak District wedding scene is The Gathering in Edale. In an absolutely gorgeous part of Derbyshire, with accommodation for up to 30 including some very swanky looking luxury safari style tents. We’re looking forward to shooting our first wedding here in 2017, can’t wait :))))
Pros: Edale (it’s just gorgeous particularly if the sunshines!) Camping and accommodation with real roofs too. Barn and marquee options.
Cons: Don’t think they have a ceremony licence
One place where we’ve been back year after year, for other peoples weddings is the fab Hargate Hall, in Wormhill, just outside Buxton. It’s an old gentlemen’s residence, converted into multiple apartments with a central deep rich wooden hall, with a sweeping grand staircase. Anthony and Julie who’ve lovingly but much life back into the building are great to work with and it’s pretty much anything goes – you hire the whole place for the weekend. It’s completely DIY, but with a long list of recommended suppliers to help you along the way :) There’s no corkage charge and it has a civil ceremony license too, you can fit around 70 all seated for a ceremony or up to 150 with standing or an outdoor ceremony in the licensed summer house. You can be surrounded by all your family and friends for the whole weekend, and with lots more Peak District accommodation on the doorstep there’s plenty of space even for bigger weddings.
Pros: All of accommodation on site. Completely DIY. A rustic quirky feel. On site licence. Amazing countryside. Great owners :)
Cons: We like camping! (but not everyone does!) and personally it reminded us of other peoples weddings (a hazard of the job!)
Next stop, although we never made it to have a look around here, is Ecclesall Woods near Sheffield, they have a civil ceremony licence and plenty of outdoor space for your reception. The JG Graves Centre looks like a fantastic wooden building for that rustic ceremony and if you like trees then this is your spot!
Back into Derbyshire, we perused the website of Rivendale Spa over a number of occasions, a campsite with a civil ceremony licence (very rare!) in the Hartington, Tissington, Ashbourne area of the White Peak. We liked the idea of this as there was all the necessary showers and toilets all set up, to keep all our guests happy. At Rivendale they also have a selection of B & B rooms and very cool camping pods, for those who are nearly tempted to camp but want a more solid roof! We even visited the site and had a good waffle with the owners who were very friendly and accommodating too. Areas of the site could be used for all your guests to camp and erection of a marquee or tipi – so essentially you’d have your own patch, in some areas this was quite secluded from the rest of the site too. We were very tempted indeed, but the ceremony room wouldn’t quite fit all our guests :)
Pros: Gorgeous White Peak countryside on your doorstep! Campsite with a licenced stone barn style ceremony room (40 guests or 70 guests depending on room.) Catering available on site or do your own BBQ! Very reasonably priced and accommodating to ideas. Camping, camping pods, luxury statics and B & B accommodation all on site!
Cons: Campsite open to public, not exclusive use – but saying that some very tucked away areas where you’d feel pretty private :)
If you like it get in quick as they only do so many weddings a year :)
Next down the list, was Lower Damgate Farm, Ilam – great website, with sheep on always a selling point! Again in a fantastic spot in The White Peak, a dream location for stunning wedding photographs and although not licensed there’s some absolutely stunning location nearby to officially tie the knot! Check out Ilam Hall, Casterne Hall, Beechenhill and great English churches in the local villages too, make the most of the countryside with a journey through the Peak District as part of your day :) Only there’s no camping on site, so we carried on our search!
Pros: No corkage charge, DIY, big barn so no marquee needed (70-150 guests), cottages on site for up to 29 (further accommodation just across road for another 16), tables, chairs, dance floor and stage all included. Goats, alpacas and stunning scenery!
Cons: No camping, no on site licence.
Still in the Peak District, Brosterfield Farm, a really cute complex of 3 (4 soon) cottages and grounds – just looked on the web and got info back
Pros: Some camping, up to 12 people. Cottages on site sleeping around 18 guests. Exclusive use of site and space for marquee or tipi with electric supply (unless you need huge amounts of electricity!!) DIY style but with lots of supplier links too to make life easier!
Cons: for us we wanted more people to camp! No on site licence, but blessings are possible.
Peak District Holiday Barn, wow what a stunning looking barn, with a pizza oven too! (we do like pizzas!) Sleeping up to 24 in the barn, no on site camping but campsite next door. For intimate weddings (24) hire price is just the standard price for the accommodation :)
Extra for guest numbers up to 100. Barn and area look very rustic and would be great for a smaller do.
Pros: Gorgeous rustic barn accommodation. Outdoor pizza oven and fire pit!
Cons: No on site licence, some of the accommodation is adult size bunk beds, depends on your mix of guests.
A little trip to The Lake District, as lets face it the scenery there is pretty stunning too! We’d happened upon Ashlack Hall, which at the time had both cottages for up to 45 guests, B & B, camping and yurts too :) (It seems currently only the cottages and B &B are available) When we visited they were converting Monks Barn as a small ceremony space, as yet unlicensed, the barn is fab and we thought would also make a great art house cinema style space to keep guests entertained! There’s also space to site a marquee, for larger receptions, given that you have hired the cottages in the closest vicinity to the marquee site. The scenery is great and being a farm too there’s lots of land and trees and views and sheep too!
Pros: Lots of accommodation, but camp site appears to be unavailable at the moment… Fantastic scenery, and South Lakes too so easy to get to. Great barn for small receptions.
Cons: It just wasn’t the Peak District! Update: They no longer appear to be offering weddings, could be worth a call perhaps??
Next stop, quite literally, Churnet Valley Railway – we do occasionally fall for a bit of chunky steam nostalgia! Just outside the Peak District, in the Staffordshire Moorlands area, close to Cheddleton and it can include a train ride for your guests! With each station holding a licence for ceremonies you choose which one to disembark at and tie the knot! A great backdrop for some epic vintage photography, space for marquees for larger weddings and even help with sorting out overnight accommodation for everyone.
Pros: Great for photography! A steam train ride!
Cons: No on site accommodation, but there’s help on hand :)
It was October and time for apple day, a fantastic tradition to celebrate all that’s great about apples and cider too :) there was even free cakes to test! Where were we? Dove Valley Centre between Longnor and Sheen, just 7 miles from Buxton and surrounded by absolutely gorgeous countryside everywhere we looked. This place nearly ticked every box for us, good eco credentials, some on-site accommodation, rustic barns and even some camping allowed too :) Unfortunately along our years together we’d accumulated too many friends – with a max of 50 bodies on site we just wouldn’t fit :(
Pros: Stunning scenery, great eco credentials, accommodation and camping too :)
Cons: No ceremony licence, but other places close by. Just a bit too small for us :(
On the ceremony side of things, where there wasn’t a license where we were looking our top hits were
1. Beechenhill Farm, a fab rustic barn, who do whole weddings (only about 5 a year) but also some dates for ceremony only too…worth looking into :)
2. The Bandstand at Buxton Pavilion, meaning you can get married outside – yeah!
3. Casterne Hall, we never got here, but looked good on paper but max 70 guests for the ceremony :/
Fancy a trip to Wales! Slightly off target, but nearly as nice as the Peak District!!! hee! hee!
So we considered two spots in North Wales, well perhaps three! So if you’re looking for a rustic North Wales wedding venue these few may be worth you having a look at….
I’ve always loved the look of Llyn Gwyant – a huge licensed barn, with kitchen facilities and stage too and all on a campsite where you hire your own private field…we’ve actually had two photography enquiries for here too, but we were already booked :(((( Boo! If we weren’t so set on the Peak District this could have been a serious goer.
The second place which landed on our search was Sychpwll Eco-centre, just on the borders of Shropshire and Wales. We shot a wedding here and absolutely fell for the all out rustic quirky eco loveliness of the place and the owners are great too. There’s camping, with toilets, showers and an ace kitchen too as well as few under roof accommodation options – almost perfect but no ceremony licence yet?…they do have a hay bale built barn which would be just perfect, so maybe in the future….. check out our 2013 Sychpwll Wedding on the blog
And third but by no means in third place was the phenomenal Foelortho, owned by Ed and Jenny – very lovely people indeed, with great musical fortitude to boot! So why is it phenomenal, fantastic out of this world follys in the grounds of a quirky Welsh Farmhouse – great accommodation, with a sauna/spa and fernery on its way too! As well as the farmhouse, there’s a couple of bunkhouse style barns for extra accommodation, and potentially some camping space too – it has to be seen to be believed – even if you don’t get married there go on holiday there! There’s no license here either, but it’s minutes down the road from Pistyll Rhaedr – one of Wales’ most stunning waterfalls (if it’s rained a lot!) which has a licence for weddings – really magnificent setting for an outdoor style quirky ceremony.
So Wales, well the three we looked into all very different and unique and we’d be absolutely over the moon to shoot anyones wedding here :)
Just spotted this online too…if you’re fancying North Wales rustic…..Hafod Farm, Snowdonia….barn tick, licence tick, camping tick, rustiness tick, green-ness tick, accommodation with real roofs tick….looks to have lots of ticks – go check it out! :) Another heads up for a farm wedding in North Wales try Clawdd Offa Farm….
but for us we went back to The Peaks…the quest continued!
So we headed further south, perhaps just out of the Peak District, as our scouring the National Park hadn’t hit on perfection as yet!
So we end up in a volunteer run old railway museum again – no bad thing :) Midland Railway Trust at Butterley have several licenced rooms (the signal box for 20, a vintage-y booking hall for 50 or surrounded by vintage trains in the museum area for up to 100), depending on the size of your wedding and there’s steam trains too :) and the train yard and surrounding just scream photoshoot…in fact we may just squeeze in a style shoot there :) We loved it for its tired round the edges feel, but was in slightly more built up an area than we’d hoped for…didn’t yell out gorgeous Peak District hills.
Pros: Photo opportunities out of this world. Great if you love trains – reception is on the train, with very reasonable and flexible menus too – you can even have a disco-carriage!
Cons: no on site accommodation but close to lots of places in or out of the Peak District
Again in the South of the Peak District, so honing in and having decided a date…we definitely had more options in the south of the Peaks…not quite in the National Park but close enough! Around and about Matlock/Wirksworth area, known as the Amber valley.
We reconsidered a venue we’d shot a wedding at quite some time ago and Peter had always said he could get married there – Masson’s Farm and Swallow Barn – just outside Matlock. A very secluded farm with massive views, a licensed barn and you can even arrive by cable car plus a short walk! Denise who lives at the farm is lovely and takes care of everything, and knows lots of suppliers for all the bits and pieces you’ll need. But alas no camping…but it was a potential for just the ceremony, as the barn is very rustic and if the weather’s good you can practically get married outside, just your feet over the threshold :)
Pros: Barn venue, great views, very rustic and green, cable car arrival!
Cons: no onsite accommodation and busy on our decided date!
In the time we’d been looking a newer venue had arrived on the scene at Garden Farm at High Leas, another one close to Matlock and Bakewell, with a funky colourful website too :) Looked really good, but not much non-camping accommodation on site, I know we’re never happy! It’s a real farm with animals too, in fact looking at it again I’m not sure why we didn’t look in to this one further – I think maybe now they’ve updated their site and it looks very promising indeed!
Pros: Camping! Pizza oven! Barn in case of wet weather
Cons: No on-site non-camping folk accommodation, although they have a great list of very nearby accommodation on their site, so really not too much of a problem. So it looks pretty good really! 2016 in a period of transition…however it does still mention occasional events on their farm website, so worth asking.
For accommodation we looked at Sycamore Barn Farm, who have three interconnecting cottages (sleeps 20) with a large field and have previously hosted a few festival style weddings with lots of camping! The accommodation is perfect, all very sleek and modern yet cosy too. Martin and Nessie who live in the farmhouse were great very friendly and helpful too, even though we arrived unannounced as we were passing through the area.
Pros: Camping! You could pick your own flowers from Nessie’s flower bed :) Electric in field too – lots of space for up to about 200 guests.
Cons: We wouldn’t fill the cottage accommodation, we have lots of camping friendly friends! but for most wedding couples I don’t think this would be a problem!
For the ceremony we considered, Shottle Hall not quite what we had in mind but they did have an outdoor ceremony space…and it would just be an hour of the our day…but as we’re quite last minute (6 months before prime June date!) it was already booked up – but it would definitely be an options was quite reasonable too for a ceremony only package.
Then we went all over castle-y and fairy tale – it’s what weddings do to you! but if you fancy something historic English Heritage do have a few licensed venues, including Bolsover Castle, in the general area we were looking, but all licenced rooms were a little small for us. Again with historic, romanticism flowing through our veins we looked into Hardwick Hall, recently licenced for weddings near to Hartington, but again only up to 50 guests (too many of our friends have children, doubling our apparent number of friends!!)
So back with our feet planted firmly on the ground we looked at The Bear Inn, Alderwasley and The Red Lion, Wirksworth, both good honest pub venues. The Bear Inn, has a great function room, with lots of light and windows, but which also looked great in the pics they had of candlelit winter weddings and a good size too to fit everyone in. In the end we decided – I know shock horror and went for The Red Lion in Wirksworth, with it’s older style function room on the second floor with great big georgian windows and a great real honest pub feel down stairs too, erm with a pizza oven :) It just felt more us! Cliche but there you go.
And where would we stay…Spout Barn and Cottage, with field for camping and marquee/stretch tent for chilling out! Great accommodation, friendly and very amenable Jo (the owner), great views and she knows a man who makes pizzas too…well that sold us!
Hope this has given all you Derbyshire rustic countryside wedding venue folk some ideas, there’s really some amazing venues out there and with the Peak Distirct as a back drop how could you go wrong! – Here it is on Whimsical Wonderland Weddings no less :)
PS. If you need a photographer…click here ;))
Happy searching for your rustic countryside wedding venue, enjoy and Good Luck – Love Pixies in the Cellar xxx
PPS. to add to the mix Bank Top Farm in Hartington, we’ve just shot a wedding here, indoor barn space with bar and catering on site too…camping and B&B :) Nice cheese in Hartington too!! Our blog at Bank Top Farm
PPPS. another new one that I’ve just come across with cottages, camping and marquee is at Foxholes Farm, near to Sheffield – we’ve not shot a wedding there so no inside info, but looks promising on paper……
PPPPS. If rustic mixed with victorian industrial tickles you fancy then check out The West Mill – this place looks stunning (not in the heart of the countryside but very quirky) Here’s our winter wedding at The West Mill – one of our new favourite venues :)
PPPPPS. Another new find, for a marquee styled DIY wedding in Glossop, so not far from Manchester but with greenness abound – we’ve not seen this in person but may be worth a nosey at The Venue at Wimberry Hill
PPPPPPS New one popped into our radar! Bassetwood Farm, in Tissington, White Peak – a paddock, toilets, electric, B&B, shepherds hut and a bell tent – just add tipi, friends and a few drinks and you’re away!
PPPPPPPS Can’t make your mind up and want a rustic barn look, mixed up with a bit of classical style take a peek at The Riding School at Calke Abbey
PPPPPPPPS Fairly new on the scene but already filling up with bookings, a north Derbyshire rustic farm wedding venue in Birch Vale, close to New Mills and not that far from Manchester – check out Thornsett Fields Farm
Another farm reception venue to add to the ever growing list is Swainsley Farm in the Manifold Valley gorgeous Dovedale location, with cottage accommodation and marquee reception space they seem to do just a few weddings a year…
So the list appears to be growing..if you’ve got this far and you’re still looking how about these two self-catering properties from Ashbourne self-catering with plots for marquees or tipis and luxury ‘under roof’ accommodation, both in the Ashbourne area. Look great and they have a good list of suppliers on their wedding info page too :)
Another just come into our radar, north Derbyshire with good transport links to Manchester and a definite industrial rustic feel, whilst being on the edge of great countryside is Torr Vale Mill in New Mills, where they have the Penelope Jane Suite. Think old mill metal pillars, vaulted brick ceilings and loads of great spaces outside for your photography :) They also have three cottages on-site for you to stumble into at the end of the night!
Still not found one you like?….Woodland Weddings have one location in Derbyshire at Wardlow (near to Litton/Tideswell area) looks like it has amazing views and green as far as the eye can see – can’t say more countryside than that!
On a completely different note: We just tried poutine (April 2017) from Gravy Train, based in Sheffield – yummy, filling, delicious, alternative, meaty, vege, vegan reckon this ‘d go down a storm as night time nosh :)