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12 Of The Most Stylish City Wedding Venues Around

With the wedding scene increasingly trending towards the personal, the intimate and the off-beat, the usual country house hire is no longer a given. So what if you’d rather stay put?

There are certainly some immediate benefits – city weddings are usually fairly weatherproof, offer a wealth of transport links and tend to mean you can take your pick of suppliers, dates and most importantly – venues.

We’ve selected twelve of our favourite venue options across the UK, from galleries and swanky garden centres to the ultimate take on the town hall wedding.

Barbican Conservatory, London

A glorious meeting of Brutalist edifice and botanical glasshouse, the Barbican’s conservatory is the second biggest in London. Though the backdrop might outshine your bouquet, it’s a pretty safe bet for wowed guests and spectacular wedding photos. Say ‘I do’ surrounded by the 1,800 tropical species, then decamp to the adjoining Garden Room for the wedding breakfast – all moments from Moorgate tube station.

Albert Hall, Manchester

Built as a Methodist central hall in 1908, this Grade II-listed former Wesleyan chapel is now better known as a music venue. Meticulously restored a decade ago, its striking interior is lined with stained glass windows and ceiling arches (wasted on gig-goers, we say) and features a natural focal point for ceremonies. As it’s no longer a working church, it’s a brilliant choice for couples who are after the familiar architecture – but less of the actual religion.

The Atria at Hackney Town Hall, London

Long the venue of choice for couples that weren’t keen on getting married in church, the town hall is a quintessential setting for a city wedding. Forget a functional in-and-out ceremony at the registry office – these are often grand civic buildings with a range of spaces to suit different parties. Art Deco Hackney Town Hall has played host to many a chic ceremony, and a recent renovation has carved out two sensational atria crowned by glass.

Chelsea Physic Garden, London

Established in 1673, Chelsea Physic Garden has squeezed hundreds of years of important plant research into a remarkable four acre plot a stone’s throw from the Thames. Weddings here, held on Saturdays or weekday evenings, are held on an exclusive hire basis, so guests will be able to wander privately among the 5,000 rare plants that flank its pathways. Marquees can be hired on the lawn from May to September.

House for an Art Lover, Glasgow

The brainchild of beloved Scottish artist Charles Rennie Mackintosh, House for an Art Lover is nestled in the heart of Glasgow’s Bellahouston Park. Carefully constructed to his 1901 design almost a century later, it’s a precious paean to Art Nouveau, and Mackintosh’s distinctive, nature-inspired aesthetic. Smaller ceremonies can be held in the elegant white Music Room, while the Main Hall features a double height ceiling, wood panelling and a grand staircase.

London Wetlands Centre, London

Nature lovers could do little better than this 105-acre reserve. Formed of four disused Victorian reservoirs, it first opened twenty years ago and is now home to dozens of important bird species. Both the Water’s Edge room and the Observatory overlook the water, with views to the London skyline beyond. All wedding couples receive a year’s membership to the Wildlife and Wetland Trust, and hire fees are ploughed straight back into their conservation work.

Roman Baths, Bath

As synonymous with the city as its honey-hued Georgian architecture, Bath’s namesake Roman pools make for a magical wedding venue. Both sunrise and sunset ceremonies are held between a pair of ancient pillars at the steaming water’s edge, with the latter followed by dinner on the terrace and dancing in the stately Reception Hall. Thanks to generous historic proportions, that could mean as many as 300 guests.

Dulwich Picture Gallery, London

It may have since been eclipsed in scale by the Tates and V&As of the world, but Dulwich Picture Gallery is in fact England’s oldest public art gallery. Designed by Regency architect Sir John Soane and surrounded by well-maintained gardens, the gallery moonlights as a wedding venue for the well-cultured. Guests will be seated among works by the Old Masters, including a particularly fine collection of French, Spanish and Italian Baroque paintings.

Buffini Chao Deck, London

It seems a shame not to capitalise on skyline views for a wedding in the city – and that’s precisely what makes the Buffini Chao Deck so popular. Located at the top of the National Theatre on London’s Southbank (so a stone’s throw from the London Eye, Big Ben and the rest of the heavyweights) this spacious venue has a fully glazed, panoramic outlook. As a bonus, the sound and lighting was designed by National Theatre experts.

Clissold House, London

Host to many a stylish Hackney wedding, Clissold House is the Grade II-listed 18th century mansion that sits in the south-east corner of Stoke Newington’s Clissold Park. Eagle eyed walkers will have spotted suited guests gathered on the terrace outside, or the odd couple having their wedding pictures snapped on the sloping lawn. Inside is a smart network of airy rooms, refurbished with careful attention to period features such as the central spiral staircase.

Victoria Baths, Manchester

Getting hitched in an empty swimming pool might sound more like a particularly surreal dream than a well-formed plan, but then Victoria Baths is no neglected leisure centre. Dubbed ‘Manchester’s Water Palace’, the Grade II-listed Edwardian complex features a soaring vaulted ceiling, ornate brickwork and smart retro tiled floor. Ceremonies can be held in any of the three disused pools, or the Turkish Baths Rest Room with its stained glass windows.

Petersham Nurseries, London

With its beautifully styled displays and award-winning restaurant, Petersham Nurseries’ original Richmond site is something of a garden centre on steroids. An outpost in Covent Garden has since followed, and we say its secluded courtyard might just be the ultimate wedding venue for green-fingered couples. The Petersham team will take on the whole lot, from the ceremony logistics to the full-service Mediterranean dinner.

Words by Cat Olley

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