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Wedding venue review: The Upton Firehouse

Wedding venue review: The Upton Firehouse

The Upton Firehouse wedding reception venue

I had the pleasure of visiting the Upton Firehouse socially in the build up to Christmas last year and was blown away by the quality of the food. As someone with (sometimes tricky) dietary requirements I’m often nervous about eating a set meal out, especially at Christmas time and especially in a smoke house (for someone who doesn’t eat meat). However the food was not only delicious but the care and attention to detail did not go unnoticed. We were so well looked after and really valued the personal attention.

“Absolutely amazing food, superbly presented, and served by incredibly friendly staff. All made for a fantastic festive evening! Will be back as thoroughly recommend.”
13 December 2019

I returned to have a proper visit at the end of February this year (just prior to lockdown) to uncover how fantastic this location would make as a wedding venue (when we are able to have larger celebrations in the future) and I wanted to review it in order to fully sing it’s praises.

Tucked off the A40

You have to drive to get there as it is out of town, just down the road from Burford, but surrounded by farmland and countryside.

Whilst nothing is around for miles, on site there is an amazing large self catering cottage for rent right next door which sleeps 12 (and the option for yurts in the garden too).

There is also the Brewery, Smokery, as well as the Farm shop (for smoked meat, game and fish).

Top quality local produce

The food is sublime at the Upton Firehouse, which serves amazing BBQ lunches and can cater for large parties. The key is the quality of the ingredients that they use and that they are constantly evolving and on trend with the food that they offer.

The BBQ restaurant serves seasonal local good quality produce including lamb from the local butcher, asparagus from up the road, crayfish from the local river and smoked salmon from next door.

Tailored menus

The experience of the chefs, Sam and Jak, shows in what they serve, with 10 years working with Made by Bob in Circencester and now in their second year at Upton.

Normally they offer breakfast and lunch on Wednesdays to Sundays, pizza evenings on Wednesday nights and special events once a month.

Meanwhile they also hire the venue and services for weddings and private parties. The food can be completely tailored to the event and diets but it really suits a shared family style, buffets or banquets. Whilst their speciality is the BBQ they also offer food from all around the globe such as Thai, English, Moroccan, and Indian to name a few. They also have innovative ways to suit vegan and vegetarian diets including 7 different vegan salads that they prepare.

See sample menu below for special events.

Chilled out blank canvas

The Upton Firehouse is a big space with lots of potential. It’s a huge blank canvas which is best filled with lots of people for an amazing celebration (which obviously isn’t possible under current guidelines right now). It can seat 150-200 people sat down.

In the warmer months, you can fling open the doors and extend the party to the courtyard and sit round fire pits. The next door Brewery is where the toilets are and can be used as an additional seating or a chill out area too.

The place is yours from 4.30pm to come in and set up (or the day before by prior arrangement) with the meal served at around 7pm. They have a licence until 12.30am (which can be extended to 2am if necessary) under normal circumstances.

Friendly service

Obviously things are a bit different with hospitality at the moment but the venue is still offering outside catering but only for groups up to 6 people and weddings for up to 15 people. They also do food deliveries.

With regards to the restaurant at the Firehouse, the following rules currently apply:

  • Table serve only
  • Maximum of 6 per table
  • Tables can’t be moved once seated
  • Wear a face mask at all times whilst walking around the restaurant
  • Hand sanitiser to be used when entering or leaving the building
  • QR code to scan to sign in


Delicious local food and drink served in a wonderful, relaxed party vibe location in stunning countryside surroundings. Well worth a visit socially in a small group or for any big special occasion (when we are allowed to celebrate in style again, in the hopefully not too distant future).


Type of venue: barn restaurant
Find out more:
Location: Upton Downs Farm, Burford OX18 4LY
Wedding season: year round
Guests: 150-200
Marquee option: n/a
Ceremony: not yet
Venue hire: £1500 year round price
Nearest church: Burford Church, Church Green, Burford OX18 4RY
Wedding breakfast: £19.50 per person (for 60 minimum)
Accommodation: Upton Downs Farmhouse via Stay Cotswold (sleeps 12)
Wedding fairs: n/a
Other things worth a mention: The best bit would be coming back to the Firehouse the next day after the wedding for lunch with your wedding party having stayed overnight at the cottage next door.

sample menu

Thai vegetable fritters with tamarind dipping sauce
Miang of crab and sour fruits
Wild mushroom and gorgonzola arrancini with gorgonzola dip
Deep fried squid with pimento, harissa and basil dip
Tuna and avocado sushi rolls with pickled ginger and wasabi

Bread on oils on the table

Spiced Kofta with mint yoghurt
Smoked Salmon
Diary free Chicken dish
Pulled pork
Brisket with harissa
Hoisin duck

Salads x 3
Red cabbage slaw
Little roast potatoes with herbs

Victoria Sponge fairy cakes with vanilla piped icing, decorated with berries
Plates of Chocolate Brownies – with jugs of cream

Cheese board for 30 people
4 x cheeses, biscuits, bread and chutney

Tea and coffee station for 40 people

Mini sausage ‘butties’ for 40 people

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Wedding venue review: Ashmolean Museum

Wedding venue review: Ashmolean Museum

Ashmolean Museum wedding venue review

You’d be forgiven if you didn’t realise that you could get married at the magnificent Ashmolean Museum in Oxford – there are some wonderful unknown venue options on offer right on our doorsteps.

Photography by Zaki Charles Photography

Licensed wedding venues

In 1995, the law was changed to allow marriages to be conducted in other civil approved venues in addition to a registry office or religious premises. Now over 50% of ceremonies are carried out in these type of venues and there are some truly beautiful venues to choose from in Oxfordshire and the surrounding Cotswolds.

Whether in a barn, a manor house, a marquee, a museum, or a hotel, there are some amazing places to hold your wedding or special occasion. There’s something out there to accommodate most styles, guest numbers and budgets.

Photography by John Cairns

Location of the Ashmolean Museum

Founded in 1683 The Ashmolean Museum is the oldest public Museum in the world. It is slap bang in the middle of a wonderful university city – steeped in history, with an abundance of amazing architecture, and nicknamed the ‘city of dreaming spires’.

Just a few minutes walk from the city centre shops is this impressive building, conveniently opposite the prestigious MacDonald Randolph Hotel, where guests often choose to stay and then can just walk across the road.

Photography by Martin Phelps Photography

Impressive backdrops

The Ashmolean Museum gives you maximum impact with minimal effort, as the backdrop of this venue needs no help in packing a punch – the wow factor is there for you already!

Photography by Zaki Charles Photography


One of the most striking things about this venue is there are many options and different ways you could use a combination of the galleries for your drinks reception, licensed ceremony, dinner and dancing. Each gallery has it’s own character, atmosphere and capacity that can be suited to your number of guests and requirements.

This is a venue which is quiet, personal and intimate, yet very much on the grand scale.

Once the museum has closed to the public, you have full rein of the venue from 5.30pm. For example, you could choose to have a drinks reception on the Rooftop Restaurant Terrace where it has a more contemporary feel; your wedding ceremony in the European Art Gallery with imposing portraits, picture perfect harpsichord playing and a sweeping staircase to make a grand entrance; dinner in the Greek and Roman Sculpture Gallery; and then dancing in the Vaulted Café in the basement with booth style seating and nightclub feel.

Additionally the European Art Gallery is also available for exclusive ceremonies in the daytime whilst the Museum is open.

The contemporary Atrium is a popular choice for drinks and canapés receptions – typical guests numbers are 150 but it’s adjoining galleries and four floors can be opened up to accommodate as many as 900 guests. 

There’s certainly nothing staid or boring about this museum. And whilst I visited on a grey day at the end of May, there still was loads of light pouring into the venue.

Photography by Martin Phelps Photography


Brides come in through a side entrance secretly to avoid the guests who are coming in through the main entrance. Then the bride is often brought down the grand staircase to make an entrance into the European Art Gallery complete with stunning gilded chandelier.

How awe-inspiring to spend your wedding day looking at half a million years of art and history with great masterpieces and statues looming over proceedings. All you need to decorate most of the galleries would be some up lighters for alcoves or where statues stand and spot lights for the aisle.

The Museum use Clerkwenwell Green as an exclusive catering partner to complete the wedding experience at the Ashmolean. Being a bespoke Events Catering Company based in Hoxton London, they too take the guests on a journey, delivering cool, confident and considered food that has been created with passion and designed carefully to showcase the best seasonal ingredients available throughout the year. Head Chef Mike Dewing was awarded ‘Chef Of The Year’ in 2017 by Benugo.

Chairs and tables are included in the price and they also offer a range of table linen, china and glassware.

Photography by Matthew Pattimore


There doesn’t seem to be anything that is too much to ask of this venue. They seem extremely flexible to accommodate couples’ wishes for their big day. With the understandable exception of red wine (apart from in the dinner and dancing areas), anything seems to go!

They can offer expert guides and access to special exhibitions should you wish to add something different for your guests during your wedding festivities.

Stacey is their amazing onsite wedding planner and she is on hand to help you through every detail and aspect of your wedding day. Not a cookie cutter style wedding in sight – just the personal touch all the way.

They offer all couples a complimentary anniversary dinner with fizz in the Ashmolean’s Rooftop Restaurant. Plus any couples who book an evening reception, they offer a complimentary tasting with their exclusive caterer as well as a case of Champagne delivered to your door after your special day.

Photography by Martin Phelps Photography


This is a beautiful hidden gem of a wedding venue in Oxford. From the outside you don’t know the expanse of options that are available inside. It provides a truly wonderful labyrinth of options to hold a wedding or special occasion.

Photography by Zaki Charles Photography

Type of venue:
Find out more:
Location: Beaumont Street,  Oxford, OX1 2PH
Wedding season: year round after 5.30pm (plus exclusive ceremonies in the daytime whilst the Museum is open)
Guests: 20-150 (depending on gallery) for wedding breakfast / maximum 900 for reception
Marquee option: n/a
Ceremony: the entire Museum is licenced for ceremonies
Venue hire: tbd based on requirements and how many galleries you want to use for the day
Nearest church: St Mary Magdalen’s Church, 9 Magdalen St, Oxford OX1 3AE
Wedding breakfast: packages with Clerkwenwell Green
Accommodation: local hotels and b&bs and opposite the Randolph Hotel
Wedding fairs: Wedding Open Days throughout the year
Other things worth a mention: impressive backdrops in every room – your ‘something old’ sorted in an instant

First published 16 July 2018. Updated 7 July 2020.

Wedding venue review: Caswell House

Wedding venue review: Caswell House

Caswell House wedding venue

Caswell House is a wedding venue that almost needs no introduction due to its overwhelming popularity. A beautiful one stop wedding shop, where you are taken in hand and don’t need to worry about anything.

The day I looked round started as a cold and extremely wet autumnal day, however despite the dismal weather this beautiful wedding venue still managed to shine through.

Wedding venue in the picturesque Cotswolds

The enticing signage from the main road instantly guides you in to the stunning grounds and the anticipation builds as you make your way down the long manicured driveway. You can tell that this is a venue that cares about details and how it looks after its surroundings is a clear indication of the level of care that they give to each couple who have the pleasure of getting married at this venue.

The grounds are breath taking, complete with weeping willow over the pond, the infamous bridge over the moat, all surrounded by beautiful trees. On top of these, there are walled gardens, orchards and a field for private photographs with the couple. Even the car park is beautiful, big and newly tarmacked, adorned with old-fashioned streetlamps.

It feels like you’re in the middle of nowhere and have completely escaped to a Cotswold retreat. Despite being less than 4 miles from the centre of Witney and a stones throw away from an exit off the A40 (which handily connects them with couples from London escaping the city for a country wedding).

Naomi Kenton Photography

Licenced inside and outside

There are 3 interconnecting medieval barns (all named after family members Joslin, Wenman and Bartlett) which help with the flow of the day from drinks reception, chilled out area, ceremony and wedding breakfast.

Whilst many choose to have their ceremony in Wenmans Barn (complete with stylish trough and manger), there is also the option to have your ceremony outside in the immaculate courtyard under the stone archway.

Quality suppliers

What makes this venue stand out is the quality of food served – exclusively by Indulgence. They also have a number of tried and trusted suppliers who deliver the same level of standards.

Lighting in the barns and outside is there permanently. Caswell House also has its own bar, and what is more, if you bring in your own wine then there is no corkage charge.

Luxury accommodation

In addition, this venue is set apart because of the spaces available to wrap around your big day. Such as a dressing room and stables to get ready. And then the luxurious accommodation to stay in after the wedding.

Currently boasting 8 rooms, they have been doing additionally conversion of surrounding barns in order to launch new bedrooms at the beginning of 2020. This will provide a brand new Honeymoon Suite plus 13 guest bedrooms for exclusive use by the wedding party on the night of the wedding.

Not only can you can stay over but then enjoy a sumptuous breakfast the following morning to extend the celebrations with your guest.

Well orchestrated service

But what you can’t do is to linger too long. You’ll be subtly and seamlessly ushered along each part of proceedings. As whilst you’ll have exclusive use for your wedding, in peak times there will be back to back weddings of 3 or 4 over a weekend.

Fear not as this is such a slick operation that you and your guests would be none the wiser to this out of sight activity. Like an amazing theatre production, this wedding venue has fantastic behind the scenes ‘stagehands’ to turn the ‘stage’ round for each act, with your wedding as the show stopping play.

Caswell House is a finely tuned, well oiled machine. Each act is carefully orchestrated to ensure that couples don’t ever bump in to next wedding party.

The venue will have been going 10 years this March and the family feeling is still evident. Their impeccable service makes sure each couple is made to feel like part of the family. You’d have one point of contact and the small team acknowledge that your wedding day is more than just a day – it’s the whole experience, the build up, the planning and the excitement.

You’ll also have someone to hold your hand on the day for the smooth running.


Caswell House is a stand out wedding venue with top service. You certainly pay for what you get at this slick, one stop wedding venue. Quality.


Type of venue: barn
Find out more:
Wedding season: year round
Guests: 140 wedding breakfast – 200 evening
Marquee option: n/a
Ceremony: from £375
Venue hire: from £5040 (Thursdays in February, March and November) – £8760 (Saturdays in May, June, July and August)
Nearest church: St Mary’s Church, Church Green, Witney OX28 4AW
Wedding breakfast: from £65pp
Accommodation: from £220 for a double room (honeymoon suite is complimentary)
Wedding fairs: March/springtime
Other things worth a mention: Caswell House also have a range of unique and stylish extras to hire for your special day including garden games and an ice cream tricycle

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Wedding venue review: Bodleian Library

Wedding venue review: Bodleian Library

Bodleian Library wedding venue

One of the things I love about our region is the complete diversity of the types of wedding venues available in and around the Cotswolds and Oxfordshire. With an abundance of barns, manor houses, hotels and beautiful backdrops to tie the knot.

It’s not often that I’m completely blown away by a venue the first time I see it, before it has been styled and dressed for an occasion. But this was certainly the case for the Bodleian Library – it wowed me at very first sight!

Stu Heppell Photography

Bodleian Library location

The dreaming spires of Oxford are a pull for many tourists and locals alike. Many crave the Oxford college look for a celebration but this isn’t always possible unless you’re part of the illusive alumni. However, you don’t have to be part of this elite to utilise this stunning space.

The Bodleian Library is one of the oldest libraries in Europe (dating back to 1488) and the largest in the UK. An extensive working reference library which is part of the University of Oxford.

Set in Oxford city centre with entrances from Broad Street, Catte Street and Radcliffe Square into the Old School Quadrangle of the Old Bodleian Library.

Goose & Berry | That Event Company | Fabulous Flowers

Breath taking ceiling

It’s rare that you find a venue that just speaks for itself and has the wow factor without any frills or accessories. This little beauty doesn’t need to be dolled up to the nines to look good – it has got the natural look down to a fine art. It is quintessentially English so it’s no wonder it’s been used to typify English culture in so many films.

The ceiling is breath taking. And whilst you may balk at some restrictions in other venues, here you can completely understand why balloons or candles would be a no-no (after all there is an extensive and renowned library just above your head!) You are paying for an amazing atmosphere here.

Photography by Nicola & Glen

Preferred suppliers

With this in mind, they specify that you use their preferred supplier for lighting as they know the ancient electrics inside out. And the Bodleian Library have partnered up with Oxford Fine Dining (who seem to be prolific in this area of the industry at the moment) for all your catering needs.

Aside from that, you have the chance to bring in your own florist, photographer and any other suppliers for your day. This venue is a dry hire so everything has to be brought in by suppliers – including the kitchen sink. However, there is an amazing experienced wedding coordinator to offer you guidance and support.

Dale Stephens Photography

Grand and intimate celebrations

There are three main areas that make up the rooms for hire. Firstly, the Divinity School (which can sit up to 120 people for your wedding breakfast) with its striking carved gothic ceiling and huge arched windows, making this the most impressive of the three. You could have your ceremony and reception in this room alone from 4pm.

Or you could use the adjacent Convocation House, with its court like appearance which was a 17th century meeting place for the debating society and still houses the chapel style seating for around 100 people. This could also be for ceremony and a more intimate seated dinner throughout the day.

Better still, you could opt for a combination of the two options and mix and match the rooms you utilise.

There is a smaller Chancellor’s Court room next door which in the evening will act as a make shift kitchen for the caterers or a private entrance for your ceremony during the day.

A drinks reception would be idyllic outside in the Old School’s Quadrangle amidst the statues, whilst the bride and groom go off to have photos in the Duke Humfrey Library. A guided tour for 20 of your guests could also be arranged during your drinks reception.

Alexandra Jane Photography


This wedding venue is a magnificient blank canvas. Whilst it was certainly not built for weddings in the 13th century, it more than makes up for its slightly trickier organisation process with its unique charm and character. In spade fulls.

The ceiling alone is awesome and you’d be forgiven for just staring at the rafters for the duration of any event. It is not an exaggeration to say that this place is stunning.

Throw in a morning punting and a sighting of Morse and you’ll have fully submerged in a dreamy Oxford world.


Type of venue: historic building
Find out more:
Location: The Bodleian Library, Broad Street, Oxford OX1 3BG
Wedding season: year round
Guests: 100-120
Marquee option: n/a
Ceremony: licensed (in two rooms)
Venue hire: from £1800 (ceremony only) or £6550 for wedding reception. Bespoke packages available. 
Nearest church: University Church of St Mary the Virgin, The High Street, Oxford OX1 4BJ
Wedding breakfast: packages with Oxford Fine Dining
Accommodation: Old Bank Hotel nearby
Wedding fairs: Wedding showcase 23rd February 2019 and throughout the year
Other things worth a mention: You may have spotted this venue is some pretty high profile films including Harry Potter and the recent ‘The Favourite’ starring Olivia Coleman who got an Oscar for best actress for her role.

Goose & Berry | That Event Company | Fabulous Flowers

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10 reasons guests will love your Cotswold wedding

10 reasons guests will love your Cotswold wedding

Wedding venues in the Cotswolds

Hanami Dream is based in West Oxfordshire and there are some truly beautiful wedding venues to choose from in the surrounding Cotswolds. Whether in a barn, a manor house, a marquee or a hotel, there are some amazing places to hold your wedding or special occasion. Take a look at the venues with wedding licences where you can get married in West Oxfordshire.

Places for your guests to visit in the Cotswolds

The Cotswolds is a relaxing escape from the big cities, with rolling hills, acres of lavender fields, historical towns, stately homes and picturesque, chocolate box villages with their honey coloured limestone buildings.

So it is no wonder many couples choose to say ‘I do’ in this area of outstanding natural beauty. Your guests may have travelled far and wide for your big day so may wish to stay overnight (or longer). After the wedding, here are some places that your guests may wish to visit in and around Witney to make a proper get away of their trip (and five of them you can get married at too!) As featured on travel blog Twenty Six O Two.

1. Historical Witney

Witney is famous for 3 Bs: blankets, bread and beer. The major one of these is it’s woollen mills and blanket industry. Blankets were first made here in AD969 and there was a working blanket factory until 2002. There are old woollen mills around the town (although most are converted to offices or flats now).

A walking tour of the town takes in most of the relevant locations such as the Market Place, The Blanket Hall, Weavers Cottages, The Buttercross, Corn Exchange (where you can have a civil wedding ceremony) and the River Windrush (which would have provided clean water for cloth making and was a good stream to power the mills). Witney and District Museum is worth a visit for history buffs and there are awesome monthly pie nights held at The Blanket Hall.

Witney also has a history of brewing since 1841 and the Wychwood Brewery is sited here brewing the legendary Hobgoblin beer and offers guided tours and tastings.

2. Cogges Manor Farm

Cogges Manor Farm is a local museum and farm attraction which puts on lots of events throughout the year. It is a haven and wonderful place to escape with the children.

More than just a farm museum, it was a set location for a lot of the interior shots of Downtown Abbey, as well as featuring as the childhood home of Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette in the film Colette, released in 2019 and starring Keira Knightley and Dominic West.

With beautiful grounds, animals and a manor house, it also has two stunning seventeenth century barns which provide a wonderful setting for weddings and celebrations.


Photography by Squib Photography
3. Witney Shops & free parking

Witney boasts a great number of unique and independent retailers (like Rapture and the Old Pill Factory) as well as some major big hitters (such as M&S, Debenhams, Next, Fat Face and White Stuff). With two main shopping areas at either end of the High Street, people flock to shop in Witney. Even more so as the parking is free throughout the town.

4. The Leys

At the bottom of the High Street, is Church Green which is great to sit and take a rest from shopping. Or just the other side of St Mary’s Church is The Leys, a spacious recreational ground.

The Leys makes a great day out with the kids, complete with amazing park equipment, a splash park, crazy golf and toilets. You can take a picnic or eat at The Coffee Shed. During the summer months it is used as the perfect place to host Witney carnival and numerous music concerts.


5. Ducklington Lake

Witney Lake (known locally as Duck or Ducklington Lake) is a picturesque spot for a leisurely walk just a short way from the town centre.

Good for relaxing walks, bird watching, fishing or feeding the ducks, it is exactly a mile to go around the lake. If you fancy a slightly longer walk you can go across fields towards the neighbouring village of Ducklington, home of the elusive Fritillary flower.

6. Old Swan & Minster Mill

Not far out of Witney is Minster Lovell, an idyllic and remote Oxfordshire village. You can walk to the Minster ruins from Witney if you’re feeling spritely. Where you could reward yourself with a refreshing drink at the Old Swan and Minster Mill, or better still enjoy their spa facilities to completely unwind. A 5-star country inn set on the River Windrush surrounded by 65 acres of Cotswold wildflower meadows and riverside gardens. This is a destination to get away from the hectic, crowded city to a stunning and tranquil setting.


Photography by Farrow Photography

7. Crocodiles of the World

A short drive towards Brize Norton, will bring you to the UK’s only crocodile zoo, Crocodiles of the World. There are over 150 crocodiles there from 15 different species including crocodiles, alligators and caimans, as well as other reptiles.

Feeding time is always exciting to watch and the knowledgeable staff give really in depth and interesting talks at different times of the day, plus you might even get the chance to hold a baby croc.

8. Cotswold Wildlife Park

There are so many reasons to visit the nearby town of Burford including the immense garden centre, its medieval bridge, old stone houses and attractive frontage. Burford is quite rightly called one of the most picturesque towns in England and just simply walking around the town can happily wile away an afternoon.

In addition, Cotswold Wildlife Park (just outside of Burford) is well worth a visit with so many amazing animals to see including lions, giraffes (where you can go on to a platform to be face to face with them), rhinos (and even a baby rhino), zebras, penguins, birds, reptiles, primates, as well as a farmyard, train and adventure playground.

9. Eynsham Hall

The opposite way out of Witney, set in rural Oxfordshire lies Eynsham Hall which, despite its name, is actually in North Leigh (on the road between Witney and Woodstock) rather than in Eynsham itself. After driving through wooded areas, you come upon some impressive gates that lead the way to the estate. The half-a-mile, tree-lined, driveway escorts you until the Hall slowly comes in to view.

You can certainly spoil yourself at this country house hotel and enjoy a lavish afternoon tea at Eynsham Hall.

10. Blenheim Palace

You can’t come to this neck of the woods without a visit to Blenheim Palace in Woodstock. Birthplace of Winston Churchill, steeped in history with absolutely phenomenal grounds, palace tours, butterfly house, maze, miniature train and adventure playground. Not to mention all the events and shows that are put on throughout the year, as well as being able to get married in style here.


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Wedding venue review: Millets Farm

Wedding venue review: Millets Farm

Millets Farm wedding venue

After a three year hiatus and some fantastic renovations, Millets Farm have reopened their Lakeview Suite to hold wedding receptions.

With amazing views of the lake, the farm on hand to entertain the whole family and a big versatile space, this is more than just a function room – this has wonderful charm and character.


Millets Farm location

I have visited Millets Farm many times as a parent and enjoyed the vast and ever growing facilities and attractions that it has on offer. We’ve enjoyed the maize maze, pick your own fruit, the garden centre, the new play barn and the delicious wares of the farm shop.

However I had never been upstairs, above the Farmhouse Kitchen, and seen the Lakeview Suite – a private space with it’s own access and outdoor balconies across some great views of the farm.

The restaurant building was built in 1990 but the Lakeview Suite has recently returned to weddings with a renovated, vaulted ceiling, wooden beams and panoramic views.


Spacious function room

It surprised me how much space this room has to offer. And the light pours in to the room. Don’t let one big open space be daunting as you can easily partition the room to act as different areas for your big day.

Plus it has a cosy bar and seating area to provide excellent places for guests to unwind and mingle.

The room hire includes 120 chairs plus round or trestle tables for your wedding reception. It is a great space to be able to decorate and make it your own.

Not only that but the whole space is remarkably quiet and peaceful even with it’s proximity to the farm and restaurant.

The facilities are great and this is brilliant value for money.


Catering partners

For one less thing to worry about organising, there is exclusive in house catering with some high quality food packages provided by catering partners, Oxford Farm Weddings. They create delicious, bespoke wedding menus at Millets Farm.

Plus look no further than the on site bakery for celebration cakes, whether that be a traditional wedding cake or perhaps a cake of cheese.


Far from just farm facitiies

Whilst this wedding venue isn’t currently licensed for ceremonies yet, it is something that they are seriously considering and is likely to be available in the not too distant future.

They also have plans for a beautiful pier by the lake to have your wedding photographs.

There’s also a boutique on site (Beauty within Millets) to get ready before the big day.


Millets Farm is a family run business and they have lovingly renovated this space – using the three year break to refine their wedding packages. Lakeview Suite at Millets Farm feels like it’s a new wedding venue on the scene because they’ve returned with a space that is a bit different than the rest.  It is great value for money, with great facilities, amazing food packages and beautiful views.

Type of venue:
function room
Find out more:
Location: Lakeview Suite, Millets Farm Centre, Kingston Road, Frilford, Oxfordshire, OX13 5HB
Wedding season: year round
Guests: 120-150
Marquee option: n/a
Ceremony: not licensed (yet!)
Venue hire: from £2000
Nearest church: St John the Baptist, Abingdon Road, Kingston Bagpuize, OX13 5AY
Wedding breakfast: packages from £60pp with Oxford Farm Weddings
Accommodation: local hotels and b&bs
Wedding fairs: Wedding Open Day 26th January 2019
Other things worth a mention:  a great family day out

image credits:

Photography | Matthew Pattimore Photography |
Flowers | Flowers by Kirsty |
Styling & décor | My Taylor Made Wedding |
Chair bows | Bowtique Chair Covers |





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Wedding venue review: Merriscourt

Wedding venue review: Merriscourt

Merriscourt wedding venue review

Merriscourt is one of my favourite barn wedding venues in the heart of the Cotswolds. A vast expanse of space and possibilities; complete with modern facilities, accommodation and in house catering options.

It is a ‘one stop shop’ of a wedding venue which offers freedom, creativity, transparent pricing, and above all lots of space.

home from home wedding barn venue

There’s a real sense of calm and peacefulness about the surroundings and it feels very homely. You have full reign of the whole place during the event and can also stay over in one of it’s many accommodation options.

ample grounds

The venue is actually 3 interlinking converted barns around a beautiful central courtyard with a picturesque tree, giving a wonderful focal point from each of the surrounding barns.


This wedding venue is blessed with high beamed ceilings, Cotswold stone walls adorned with subtle tapestries, and oodles of light.

Much more than just a blank canvas, this converted barn looks like a home from home. It’s your own house party for the weekend.

With space for a ceremony, drinks reception, sit down meal and dance floor without having to turn each space around; it rightly boasts lots of space. Plus there’s no need to relocate for any element of your special day with accommodation on site too.



I don’t think I’ve ever heard a bad comment about Merriscourt. Couples have all said how great it is and that everything is clear so there’s no second guessing when wedding planning.

It would seem that Merriscourt can’t do enough for couples and go out of their way to ensure the day couples desire.

Plus from a wedding guest point of view, the staff seamlessly usher you through each aspect of the day from room to room.


This wedding venue is a real home from home that can be adapted just how you want it with an abundance of space and options. See an inspirational French foodie’s fête wedding at Merriscourt.

Type of venue: barn
Find out more:
Merriscourt, Sarsden, Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire, OX7 6QX
Wedding season: year round
Guests: 150
Marquee option: n/a
Ceremony: Licensed Stone Barn
Venue hire: from £3480
Nearest church: All Saints Church, Church Road, Churchill, Chipping Norton OX7 6NU
Wedding breakfast: packages for canapes, sharing boards and bbqs. Three course meals from £36pp.
Accommodation: luxury accommodation in grounds sleeps total of 26
Wedding fairs:
 Wedding Fair around March/April time
Other things worth a mention: beautiful Bentley for hire as well

Wedding venue review: Lapstone Barn

Wedding venue review: Lapstone Barn

If I was getting married again, this is the wedding venue where I’d choose to say ‘I do’! Its a brilliant compromise between a hotel and the blank canvas of a barn, which for me is the best of both worlds.


Though slightly out of my normal radar, this wedding venue sits about 20 miles from Witney in the north of the Cotswolds. However it was well worth a visit to look around on such a glorious sunny day last month.

I feel really lucky to live in such a beautiful part of the country and it was wonderful to drive through such stunning countryside to get to this venue. Unfortunately, my drive was slightly longer than planned as I made the mistake of trying to find this venue from their postcode. It is much easier to find if you stick to the main roads, coming off the A44 towards Chipping Campden on the B4081. Or type ‘Lapstone Barn Wedding Venue’ in your Google maps!

There’s a lovely sense of escapism when you arrive and this venue feels like it’s completely in the middle of nowhere. Found not far from Batsford Arboretum, Dormy House and a stone’s throw away from Snowshill, with the lavender of the region echoed at the venue.

Industrial chic

This 18th century stable farm (and then a furniture shop until only last year) has recently been beautifully and breathtakingly done up to a luxurious finish. With all the class of a London venue alongside the tranquil and rural setting of the Cotswolds.

Industrial chic at it’s best and you can’t beat the backdrop and amazing scenery that this venue has to offer.


After coming down the long drive, there’s a spacious car park out the front of this newly refurnished barn. Whilst the outside space was still a work in progress when I visited, you can still see the potential and vision that will come to life as soon as the warmer weather appears. With plans for a water feature and lavender in their courtyard and new tree being planted outside. Every aspect is being considered to provide stunning memories for your big day.


There are two main parts to the inside of the venue, both exude a modern, classy and warm vibe.

The Stone Barn is more rustic and what you’d come to expect of a Cotswold barn venue and typically where couples choose to have their ceremonies. Then the Northwick Barn is a large industrial loft style extension where you could hold your wedding reception. But the options could also include the courtyard (which is also licensed).

Then there’s a further Tanner bar section with seating and a wood burning stove – hygge typified!

What struck me was that the venue seemed really light – both natural and artificial – with great expansive windows and doors, plus I loved the really modern light fittings.

On top of this, there are lots of places and separate areas to sit inside and outside, which would be great for people to break away during the reception or when music is playing.

Lapstone Barn offers all inclusive catering and bar packages and you can have the venue exclusively from 10am – 1am. There’s also a great area to get ready upstairs in the Hayloft where you can see your guests arriving along the drive.


These new kids on the block are certainly not wet behind the ears, as they boast years of experience and an extensive list of suppliers in the wedding industry. They have worked on high-end bespoke marquee weddings and are bursting with ideas and expertise in creating stunning weddings.

They’ve got great vision and a brilliant eye for detail. They’ll even set the tables for you! So all you’re left to worry about is the decor, entertainment and getting yourself ready.


This wedding venue is a beautiful halfway house between a barn and a hotel. With the facilities of catering and a bar like a hotel, along with the charm and personalisation options of a barn.

Type of venue: barn
Find out more:
Location: B4081, Chipping Campden, GL55 6UR
Wedding season: year round
Guests: 140-200
Marquee option: n/a
Ceremony: Licensed inside and courtyard from £200
Venue hire: from £1500
Nearest church: St James’ Church, Church Street, Chipping Campden GL55 6JG
Wedding breakfast: packages from £43pp
Accommodation: local hotels and b&bs
Wedding fairs: Wedding Fair and Open Day 17th March 2018
Other things worth a mention: brilliant industrial loft style barn conversion


Wedding venue review: Eynsham Hall

Wedding venue review: Eynsham Hall

Well, if you’re looking for the WOW factor, turning in to the long drive way and getting a first glimpse at this wedding venue will get your jaw dropping and have your guests in awe.


Set in rural Oxfordshire lies Eynsham Hall which, despite it’s name, is actually in North Leigh (on the road between Witney and Woodstock) rather than in Eynsham itself. After driving through wooded areas, you come upon some impressive gates that lead the way to the estate. The half-a-mile, tree-lined, driveway escorts you until the Hall slowly comes in to view.

Quirky details

Eynsham Hall pitches itself as a stately (but not stuffy) Jacobean manor. And this harmony of traditional and contemporary elements sit alongside each other seamlessly. I was delighted to look around this wedding venue at Christmas time and loved all the festive trees decorated individually in each room. And it’s the quirky attention to detail that pops up in every room making each one a bit different with their own talking points.


Not only a grand stately home, but Eynsham Hall is surrounding by around 3,000 acres of beautiful parklands and formal gardens – perfect for your wedding photographs.

The terrace overlooks a fountain with a relaxing sound of the slow trickle of water. There’s also tennis courts, a pool, sauna and beauty treatments on site to enjoy before or after the big day.


There is certainly no doubt that this is a stately home – proud of its heritage and exuding opulence from it’s very essence. With an amazing staircase to make a grand wedding entrance, oak panelled walls, foreboding portraits hanging, huge fireplaces and large arched windows with big window seats to perch and view the impressive gardens.

But this venue also oozes charm and elegance. It is relaxed and accessible just like the mismatched sofas and arms chairs in the lounge that invite you to sink in to them. And my eye kept being drawn up to the striking high ceilings to notice that each room had a slightly different modern twist for the chandeliers, whether that was using drinking glasses, stag antlers or even a spider’s web.

It also boasts a luxurious bridal suite including a big copper bath to enjoy. Plus the spacious Peacock Room for the bridal party to change and get ready in before the ceremony.


For your wedding day, this would be your house and you’d feel at home and be made very welcome. This wedding venue only hosts one wedding a day so you have their exclusive and undivided attention.

The staff are slick behind the scenes and experienced at what makes a wedding work well. There’s options of which room to hold your ceremony (as well as whether you have it inside or outside). Whilst Eynsham Hall has always specialised in large scale celebrations, it has also announced the addition of a new and intimate licensed ceremony space for weddings for 40 guests from January 2018.


You’ll be spoilt for choice with the number of different rooms at your disposable. You could use one room for the ceremony, the library for drinks, relax outside on the terrace and have a sit down meal in another room.

In my opinion this venue wouldn’t suit the diy couple who want to personalise everything, as the decor and surroundings already speak for themselves. There’s not much that you’d need to organise yourself. Although I think some chair covers may be needed in some rooms if the distinctive colour of the chairs doesn’t suit your own wedding theme.


This wedding venue needs no adaptation or adornment and will provide you with a lush backdrop to a stunning wedding, whether you’re after an impressive, plush do or an intimate affair.

Type of venue: country house hotel
Find out more:
Location: A4095, North Leigh, Witney OX29 6PN
Wedding season: year round
Guests: 80-150
Marquee option: marquee permitted
Ceremony: licensed inside or outside from £475
Venue hire: included in packages
Nearest church: Methodist Church, 1 Chapel Lane, North Leigh, Witney OX29 6SD
Wedding breakfast: packages from £115 per person in April-October (from £110 pp in winter months)
Accommodation: 35 rooms in the main house (plus 90 onsite)
Wedding fairs: several throughout the year – next on 25th February 2018
Other things worth a mention: check out the copper pipes of the beer pumps in the brasserie and yellow sofas in the contemporary bar

Local licensed wedding venues in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds

Local licensed wedding venues in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds

Getting married at a licensed wedding venue in the Cotswolds

We live in such a stunning part of the country, commonly regarded as an area of outstanding natural beauty. The Cotswolds is located in south central England and made up of 6 counties: Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, Somerset, Warwickshire, Wiltshire and Worcestershire. It’s no wonder that every year 20,000+* of couples getting married in England choose to say ‘I do’ in a wedding venue in the Cotwolds.

Photography by Squib Photography

About the Cotswolds region

Mainly rural landscape, with it’s lush green countryside, the Cotswolds is a relaxing escape from the big cities. With acres of lavender fields, historical towns, stately homes and picturesque, chocolate box villages with their honey coloured limestone buildings. It’s no surprise that this region has many places that feature in the Britain’s richest towns list. And we are perfectly located amongst the ‘golden triangle’ of the Cotswold towns of Burford, Chipping Norton and Woodstock.

Photography by Farrow Photography

Wedding venues in the Cotswolds

Hanami Dream is based in West Oxfordshire and there are some truly beautiful venues to choose from in the surrounding Cotswolds. Whether in a barn, a manor house, a marquee or a hotel, there are some amazing places (with some breathtaking views) to hold your wedding or special occasion. There’s something out there to accommodate most styles, guest numbers and budgets.

Bride looking down in the garden | Journey to the Centre of the Earth | modern ethereal winter styled bridal shoot by Hanami Dream | agate | marble | airplants | tulle | pale blue | gold | Oxleaze Barn | Gloucestershire | October 2017 | Photography by Squib Photography

Take a look at the venues with wedding licences where you can get married in West Oxfordshire:

    1. Bay Tree Hotel
    2. Blenheim Palace
    3. The Blue Boar
    4. Caswell House
    5. Cogges Manor Farm – see my wedding venue review for Cogges Manor Farm here
    6. Eynsham Hall – see my wedding venue review for Eynsham Hall here
    7. Ferryman Inn
    8. Friars Court
    9. Heythrop Park Hotel
    10. Merriscourt – see my wedding venue review for Merriscourt here
    11. Old Swan and Minster Mill – see my wedding venue review for Old Swan and Minster Mill here
    12. Oxleaze Barn – see my wedding venue review for Oxleaze Barn here
    13. The Cotswold Plough
    14. The Trout at Tadpole Bridge
    15. Oxford Witney Hotel (formerly Four Pillars Witney)
    16. Witney Lakes Resort
    17. Witney Registration Office – Windrush Room
    18. Woodstock Town Hall
    19. The Wychwood Golf Club

Not technically in Oxfordshire, but we also wanted to include new kid on the block in Chipping Campden:

20. Lapstone Barn – see my wedding venue review for Lapstone Barn here

Photography by Squib Photography

We are certainly spoilt for choice around here for amazing venues to hold a special occasion. For more details on how to pick your perfect wedding venue look out for my The Holy Trinity of Wedding Planning – Part 2: where.

*Data from Office of National Statistics Area of occurrence 2015. Based on 245,513 marriages in England. Based on 20,106 marriages in the Cotswolds (combined Oxfordshire, Gloucestershire, Somerset, Warwickshire, Wiltshire and Worcestershire).