A short 15 minute drive south from my Acton studio will take you to the beautiful Chiswick House and Gardens. The house itself is described as being one of the earliest and most beautiful Georgian buildings in the UK. Its Palladian architecture and romantic setting make it the perfect venue for a classic and elegant wedding. The gardens will suit a wide variety of wedding styles, with 65 acres ranging from classical courtyards, ponds and fountains to an enchanting 18th century ‘wilderness’ woodland.
Couples can choose to have their wedding in the house, but if you’re after something a little different, why not consider the stunning conservatory? Set in the Italian garden, roses and wisteria form the backdrop to this breath-taking glasshouse venue.
On the subject of glasshouses, no west London wedding venue list would be complete without the famous Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew. Just 10 minutes further west from Chiswick House and Gardens, a visit to Kew Gardens is a must for any bride who wants to showcase nature’s own floral arrangements.
Kew’s Nash House is an opulent 19th Century glasshouse flooded with natural daylight, where couples can exchange their vows in one of the country’s grandest conservatories.
For the true botanists, Kew’s famous Temperate House can be hired for your evening celebration. Possibly the only wedding venue where you and your guests can dance the night away, surrounded by over 10,000 tropical plants - this truly is a sight to behold!
Staying with the natural theme, if tropical plants aren’t your thing, how about heading 10 minutes down the road to the highest point in Richmond, where you’ll find Pembroke Lodge. This unique location is set in 2,300 acres of classic English Parkland.
The Russell Suite is one of two venue options offered by Pembroke Lodge. The suite offers an intimate setting, with its large period windows that bathe the room in an abundance of light, creating a romantic atmosphere. Drinks can be enjoyed in the woodland gardens, where you may even spot a deer or two. Needless to say, the views over the Thames Valley and stunning gardens are any wedding photographers dream.
Here’s a quirky little place; only 5 minutes from Pembroke Lodge, Petersham Nursery allows you have your wedding in a garden centre! But I’d bet you’re unlikely to have been to a garden centre quite like this… The absolute epitome of rustic bohemian, Petersham Nursery has to be seen to be believed. Weddings take place in the glasshouse restaurant, which is brimming with fragrant bougainvillea and jasmine, surrounded by tree ferns. Petersham Nursey offers a vintage oasis that never fails to captivate and enchant.
One of the huge advantages of having a wedding at this Richmond based venue is that you don’t need to look far for a florist. Petersham’s own florists are on hand to consult and create bespoke designs for your event. Using carefully selected and mainly British grown seasonal flowers, together with unusual specimens from their cutting garden, Petersham Nursery say that their “wild, colourful, romantic and dramatic floral arrangements,” reflect their distinctive style and will complete your day. Honestly, even if you just need some plants or beautiful homewares, go and take a look at this place, it’s the stuff of dreams!
Who doesn’t love a bit of Georgian Gothic Revival? If that sounds like your style, head 3 and a half miles west from Richmond to Strawberry Hill House. This magnificent, gleaming white villa features a multitude of towers, battlements, elaborate decorations, incredible vaulted ceilings and a mammoth collection of antiques. If a tiny part of you (or a large part - we don’t judge) wants to feel like a Disney Princess on your wedding day, then this eccentric and unique venue will certainly stir your inner Belle! Wedding ceremonies can be held in the Gallery, a spacious room with fan vaulted ceilings, golden canopies and crimson damask. Or the Houses Round Room, a more intimate space with stunning painted glass. Either way, this wedding venue is nothing short of magical.
Less than 10 minutes south from Kensal Green is Holland Park, where you can find The Orangery. Described (somewhat in contradiction) as “a well-known hidden gem”, this beautiful but modest glass and stone palace, surrounded by sweet smelling rose gardens offers a space of elegance and tranquillity amidst the hustle and bustle of Kensington.
You may also be surprised to learn that anyone looking for a venue with a distinctively Japanese feel will find it in Holland Park. Just a short walk from the Orangery lies The Kyoto park, a magnificent traditional Japanese garden, complete with tranquil tiered waterfalls and a serene pond full of beautiful koi carp. There are stone lanterns, Japanese maple trees and you might even spot a peacock or two wandering around. So, whether you’re looking for opulent English gardens, or a more minimalist Japanese feel, Holland Park’s 22 hectares has quite a variety.
10 minutes eastbound on the M4 from Syon Park is another of my favourite West London Parks - Gunnersbury Park. Offering three distinctive wedding venues all within the grounds. The house itself is a grand spectacle, featuring a double-height entrance hall and magnificent staircase. The hall leads on to the Rothschild Rooms, a series of beautiful, interconnecting rooms which can either be used individually or as a single large space, depending on your guest numbers.
Glasshouses feature a lot in this list and Gunnersbury Park is not without one either, The Orangery is nestled at the end of the southern lawns, and offers a different take on the classic nineteenth century style wedding. The sparkling water and ornamental fountain of the horseshoe pond in front of the glasshouse provides a spectacular reflection of crisp white and glass, offering you those ‘to die for’ wedding photographs.
The Orangery can be used in isolation for smaller gatherings, but it can easily be used in conjunction with the main house. Or, for those who fancy it, with Gunnersbury Park’s Temple. An older building, The Temple was built in the 18th Century for Princess Amelia, daughter of King George II. The temple can be used as an intimate venue in itself, or as an amusing setting for reception drinks. Guests can enjoy incredible views over west London, with Kew Garden’s Pagoda in clear view nearby.
Ok, let’s shake things up a bit. Perhaps grand country estates and greenhouses aren’t your thing. Perhaps you’re after something a little bit alternative and bohemian? Let’s head to our most northerly stop, Paradise by way of Kensal Green. I’ll say now, that words won’t do this place justice, you really have to go and check it out, but one reviewer described it as “looking like Elizabeth Bennet’s parents have left her with a free house and so she’s planning a rave.”
By day, this ‘pub’ (and I use that word very loosely) offers an award-winning restaurant, a well renowned nightclub and a host of private rooms available for hire. Described once as the pillar of west London partying, the highlight of this impressive building is an opulent dining room featuring 18th century chandeliers, high ceilings, brightly coloured panelling and quirky antiques that ‘evoke the atmosphere of a hedonistic French Chateau.’ As I said, it’s only a 3 mile drive from my studio, if you’re after something that’s cool, chic and breaks the traditional mould, go and have a look.
Heading north now, and about 15 minutes from Strawberry Hill is Syon Park. Although this wedding venue is less than 10 miles from central London, you could be forgiven for thinking you were in the heart of the Cotswolds. Described as one of the most beautiful country estates in England, and the last privately owned one in London, Syon Park is the epitome of classic elegance. Renowned for hosting lavish celebrations over the centuries, Syon Park will never fail to impress.
Their main season runs from April to mid-October, and if you’re planning for your big day to end with a big party, this unique venue can host wedding parties with up to 600 seated guests.
Our final stop before coming full circle back to my Acton studio, is the famous Fulham Palace. This historic home to the Bishops of London is located on the Banks of the Thames and it’s truly a venue for weddings in all seasons. The enclosed courtyard, with central fountain, offers an immediate outdoor space surrounded by the magnificent house, and the 13 acres of green space, plantations and walled gardens provide an oasis in this bustling part of London.
But for winter weddings, Fulham Palace offers beautiful rooms for civil ceremonies, as well as a chapel for blessings. For couples wanting a distinctively historic feel to their venue, Fulham Palace is well worth a viewing.
And so there we have it, 10 gorgeous West London wedding venues, all of which are just minutes from my Acton studio. So if you’re coming go see me, why not combine your trip with a visit to one or two of these wedding venues too? You won’t be disappointed with any of them.
"photography courtesy of the venue website"