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Feeling wedding fever yet? ‘Tis the season (especially with a certain Royal slash Tinsel Town wedding stirring up interest) and we’ve found just the spot for superlatively romantic nuptials…
We get around a bit at Muddy Towers and the other day we landed in drop-dead gorgeous Chipping Campden. And maybe it’s because we’ve been hoovering up every last detail on the upcoming nuptials of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle but, gosh, we came over a bit giddy. Windsor may have a couple of royal weddings coming up (don’t forget about Princess Eugenie people), but if we were tying the knot now we’d be heading straight for Chipping Campden because, for our money, we reckon it’s one of most romantic spots in England.
A small market town, Chipping Campden has a fabulously elegant terraced High Street dating from the 14th to the 17th century. It became a centre for the Arts & Crafts movement in the early 20th century attracting the likes of Graham Greene, who lived there in the 1930s and was quite the wooer of women himself, and today is the perfect place to wow wedding guests with a full-on Cotswold charm offensive. And it’ll look AMAZING on Instagram too.
Bang in the centre of the to-die-for High Street is the dreamy Cotswold House Hotel & Spa, a Grade II Regency townhouse that, inside and out, ticks all the boxes for the perfect wedding venue. A gorgeous frontage, check; super stylish décor, check; amazing food, check; two-acre romantic garden with secret nooks and crannies, check; indulgent spa, check – it’s even got wedding night hot tubs for God’s sake!
The hotel is licensed for civil ceremonies (nearby St James’ is picture perfect if you want a church wedding) and you can choose from the light-filled Montrose Suite, a pitched roof and exposed beams beauty that can seat up to 90 guests, or the elegant Fig restaurant in the original manor house, which can hold 50 for a ceremony and 30 for a wedding breakfast. You can take over the whole hotel with all of its 28 rooms too if you like and have your own kind of wedding house party! A wedding planner will take the pain out of all the arrangements so you can focus on you – dress, hair, facials, makeup…
Food at the Cotswold House Hotel is a bit of a highlight of the place, wedding or no wedding, with a menu inspired by modern British classics and sun-soaked Italian favourites. Braised veal ossobuco or braised pork belly for starters; Prosecco and truffle risotto or rump of beef for a main; and lemon posset with champagne jelly or tiramisu to finish give a flavour of what’ on offer, and when it comes to quaffing, as well as a pleasingly large selection of fizz, the bar also does a mean line in gin, with exciting summer plans for the spirit in the pipeline for summer.
The spa, housed in a bijou coach house in the gardens, will ease away any pre-wedding nerves while getting you close-up ready for the big day. Holistic Décleor treatments include massages, facials and bespoke procedures, and the hydrotherapy pool and aromatic steam room are blissfully relaxing and will take you to a happy, in the moment mindset which smooths out wrinkles you know (just check out the visages of yogis!).
THE WEDDING NIGHT
Brides and grooms have the choice of any of the 28 rooms, but we’ve got our eye on Room 15, the Junior Suite for the big night. Not only has it got a Romeo and Juliet-style balcony overlooking the garden, the bed is, ahem, very large and well sprung. Rose petals can also be arranged, as can origami towels folded in the shape of swans.
THE MORNING AFTER
Bistro on the Square, the hotel’s chilled-out eaterie, does a mean breakfast, as well as legendary tapas and sharing platters if you’ve slept through till noon. And if you want to eat all day afternoon tea at the Fig is a bit special with millions of teas to choose from and hangover-busting cakes, scones and sandwiches. If you want to blow the cobwebs away with a bracing walk, head to Dover’s Hill and Broadway Tower where the views are amazing. And Hidcote, the famous Arts and Crafts garden, is a stone’s throw away and well worth visiting for its ‘rooms’ of hedges, rare trees and balm to the soul beauty.
THE FINISHING TOUCHES
Local artisan jeweller Aneata Boote is a bit of a whizz designer of engagement and wedding rings, while The Bridal Room in nearby Broadway is the most exquisite boutique – all opulent curtain swags and chandeliers – with dresses by the likes of Sottero and Midgley, Blush by Hayley Paige and Justin Alexander. The Bay Tree Campden does stunning wedding bouquets and is Cotswold House Hotel’s go-to florist, so what better recommendation than that?!
Cotswold House Hotels offers a bespoke wedding service, including an inclusive winter wedding package for £3,550. Tel: 01386 840330. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. bespokehotels.com/cotswoldhouse