When it comes to historical properties, Cambridgeshire is perhaps best known for the colleges that grace its principal city, but dotted around the flatlands of the county are a few historic jewels that have flung open their doors to couples who are looking for somewhere beautiful to hold their day. The red brick beauty that is Longstowe Hall is one such place.
Dating from the time of Elizabeth I, it’s the type of venue that you may stumble upon, nestling deep in Cambridgeshire within ancient woodland. Its beautiful red brick façade gives way onto formal English gardens and the venue is unique in having its own traditional marquee set within the grounds, able to accommodate 150 guests who can drink champagne on the greenest of lawns before sitting down to a sumptuous celebration feast, and then dance the night away under its twinkling chandeliers.
As a photographer I have worked here several times, each time the couple bringing their own sense of style to their day, such as Dan and Vicky’s celebrations that had the feel of a 30’s style party complete with Jazz quartet and which featured in the magazine, Wedding Venues and Services.
Some of my favourite photography moments at this gorgeous venue are almost exclusively using the magnificent façade, its gardens and marquee as backdrop. It’s very easy to relax with each other here and enjoy the romance of your day. The double borders leading to the lake are fantastic to wander along hand in hand; the riot of flowers provide a perfect juxtaposition to the formality of the gardens, and also provide ample space for guests to explore and enjoy. And then there is the lake………enchanting with its tranquil reflections; perfect in the early evening light to capture stunning romantic images before you finish off the day in style dancing on the marquee’s generous dance floor…….
And the best time to have your day here? For me late spring and autumn are always favourites and are a very popular date at this venue. The celebrations that I have photographed here have always been in April and September and whilst the weather can be a bit variable at these times of year what it does mean is the potential for what I view as perfect photography weather; blue sky dotted by fluffy white clouds, softening what could otherwise be harsh light, interspersed with sunshine that provides enough warmth for everyone to spill outside into the beautiful gardens and enjoy the glorious landscape and architecture and enough places to take shelter if the rain should arrive!
The red brick of the Hall, imposing and formal in its Elizabethan beauty yet perfect for a truly romantic day. It’s a venue where I have photographed many fantastic weddings and every time I visit there I almost feel like I have been dropped into some exquisite period drama. The beautiful Grand Hall is perfect to welcome your guests before moving onto the stunning marquee within the grounds and in fine weather there is plenty of room to enjoy champagne and canapés on its immaculate lawns or get lost in the perfume of hundreds of flowers in the formal gardens.
This is one venue that is awash with perfect natural backdrops; The grandeur of the Hall will be a key feature for your day but if you wished to sneak away from your guests a while and wander through the beautiful gardens, whilst I photograph you from a discreet distance, or wander down to the lake in the soft early evening light to capture the stunning reflections you will not be disappointed, when you return to the marquee, to capture your all-important first dance, surrounded by your guests the results will be stunning.
I would say that this is a very private luxury venue with a definite WOW factor. It’s ideal if you want your celebrations in a fantastic marquee and you want plenty of space and beautiful grounds in which to enjoy yourself, and the type of venue I would choose if my lovely wife and I were to get married all over again.