This is something I am often asked about, not just by couples I work with but friends and family too. People obsess over the hottest new opening, the most exclusive venue, the location that only your Mum’s cousin’s friend’s dog knows about. These are a few of my favourite Devon wedding venues.
For me, it’s not about any of that. My favourite Devon wedding venues simply make my heart sing; they put a spring in my step. And I think that’s exactly my point, it’s such a personal choice. While I might go giddy over a rambling old country pile, you might be all about the clean lines and sleek finishes.
So my advice is always to visit as many venues as you can, meet the team, ask stacks of questions, have a wander around and just get a feel for the place. If possible – and I know this sounds mad – go on the most dreary and wet of days. If you get good vibes standing in the horizontal rain, then you know it’s for you.
But, for what it’s worth, here are some of my top picks:
A beautiful traditional 18th Century barn originally used for storing and threshing corn. Expect lovely old cob walls, hefty oak beams and exposed stonework: all of which makes for a really relaxed vibe and a great blank canvas space that you can easily make your own. Light floods in – ideal for photography – plus the south-facing courtyard is a real suntrap.
A picture-perfect Grade II listed Georgian residence, ideal for those looking for a quintessential country house wedding. There are so many options here: the house itself, the Linhay Barn and courtyard, The Cowshed Barn, the Undercroft night club, The Big Yurt (and, in fact, entire yurt village), the Walled Garden, the Rose Garden, the Parterre Garden…you get the gist.
If you’re looking for a stunning cliff-top, this gets my vote. Quite literally a cave-like space set into the cliff, it is completely spell-binding. Ocean Kave has panoramic views up and down the North Devon coastline and, if the sun is shining (it always shines in Devon!), the sunsets are spectacular. Entirely unique, you’ll know in an instant if Ocean Kave is for you or not.
The brainchild of Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall, this is one for the foodies. Set on Fearnley Whittingstall’s 100-acre farm, River Cottage is hidden away down a winding track in the Axe Valley; a true haven of tranquillity. Couples can marry in the renowned Farmhouse Kitchen garden, the 18th century Threshing Barn or a Mongolian Yurt. Whichever you choose you can be sure you’re in for a feast: the food is always incredible and so beautifully presented.
This is one for the romantics. Believed to be the inspiration for Barton Park in Jane Austen’s Sense & Sensibility, Pynes is your classic country manor house. There are all manner of elegant high-ceilinged staterooms, a lovely terrace and great lawns. The tree-lined drive really sets the scene as you approach.
And one last pick for some of my favourite Devon wedding venues. Arguably my favourite, given I married Harriet here…
A quirky, almost ethereal and frankly totally enchanting spot tucked away in the valley of the River Yeo. From first light to sunset, this beautifully-restored 17th century Threshing Barn, its gardens and whopping 25 acres of grounds are bathed in sunshine. Harriet and I tied the knot in the gardens: a riot of colour that provided the most incredible backdrop to our ceremony. Hayne is a special place, I could talk about it for hours.