10 Romantic Venues Worthy of a Royal Wedding
Have your wedding in a regal venue like Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, who will wed in Windsor Castle on May 19.
Photo By: Paul Keppel Photography
Photo By: Louisa Dettmer Wedding Photography/Leeds Castle
Photo By: Larnach Castle
Photo By: VisitBritain
Photo By: Rachel Arms Photography
Photo By: Cloghan Castle
Photo By: Crofts and Kowalczyk Photography
Photo By: PSML Luis Duarte/National Palace of Pena
Photo By: Getty Images/Chris Hepburn
Photo By: VisitBritain
At Pendennis Castle near Falmouth, Cornwall, England, brides and grooms exchange vows where troops under King Henry VIII once watched for invaders. Built almost 500 years ago, the castle hosts weddings in its circular Tudor Keep and in various rooms in the Royal Artillery Barracks. The lawn is a perfect setting for marquee receptions (tented events, as they're known in the U.S.), and the castle and panoramic views across the Fal Estuary make a spectacular backdrop for photographs.
Leeds Castle in Kent, England, is known as "the loveliest castle in the world," and it's been the home of six English queens and the palace of King Henry VIII. Visitors come to explore the 500-acre estate's popular hedge maze, fabulous gardens, and parklands. Couples can say their vows in the Maiden’s Tower, a separate 16th-century building, or the Ceremony Room, where tall French windows overlook the moat.
New Zealand’s only castle, Larnach, is one of its most popular attractions. It's in Dunedin, on the Otago Peninsula, where it's surrounded by award-winning gardens. Couples can arrange to have their wedding guests met by a lone bagpiper as they enter the spectacular castle ballroom. Ceremonies are held in the Rock Garden, by the Reflecting Pond, under a cupola near a herbaceous border or at another picturesque spot on the property.
Roch Castle, in St. David's, Pembrokeshire, Wales, was built by a Norman knight in 1195. Over the centuries, various families lived within its walls, until it was destroyed by fire in 1644 during the English Civil War. Later, the castle was restored and transformed into a hotel. In 2017, it won a Trivago Award as the Best 5-Star Hotel in Wales. It’s a lovely setting for intimate weddings, with room for up to 18 guests at your ceremony and up to 30 guests at your reception.
Osborne, on the Isle of Wight, was once Queen Victoria's holiday home, and it's still filled with elegant furnishings and artifacts from The Royal Collection. For the first time in 150 years, couples can hold their wedding ceremonies in its magnificent rooms, Walled Garden or on the private beach, and continue their celebrations with a marquee, or reception, on the Durbar Lawn.
For over 800 years, Cloghan Castle has overlooked the green hills near Galway, Ireland. The deteriorating castle, once a Norman keep, was restored in 1973 and given a 6,000-foot extension. Now it boasts seven bedrooms that accommodate up to 14 members of a wedding party and a banquet hall that seats up to 120 guests. Couples are literally given the keys to the castle for their ceremony.
Dundas, in Edinburgh, is an authentic Scottish castle with three main buildings. The first, known as Auld Keep, dates back to 1416. On-site wedding coordinators serve as "fairy godmothers for the ceremonies here. Guests can gather under a vaulted ceiling in the Great Hall or under the sparkling chandelier in the Croquet Room, a stunning Georgian-style room in the main house. Outdoor weddings can also be arranged. Side trips are available to visit the filming sites for the popular Starz television series, Outlander.
National Palace of Pena
Exchange your vows at Portugal's National Palace of Pena, a castle-like complex that sits atop the second highest peak in the Sintra Hills. Ceremonies are held on the rooftop of this exotic structure, which features brightly-colored elements of Egyptian, Moorish, Renaissance and Gothic architecture. Now a national monument, it was King Ferdinand’s palace in the mid-1800s.
Scotland's Edinburgh Castle, built in the 12th century, was captured by Oliver Cromwell in 1650. Today, it receives over a million visitors each year and offers a majestic setting for a wedding. Small ceremonies are held in St. Margaret’s Chapel, the oldest building on the grounds. Large groups use the 19th-century Gatehouse Suite or the 18th-century Jacobite Room. Couples who reserve the grand Queen Anne building can request a private viewing of Britain’s oldest crown jewels, known as the Honours of Scotland.
This is the "real" Downton Abbey. You’ve already seen some of Highclere’s rooms and grounds if you are a fan of Downton Abbey. Built around 1679 as a private country home, Highclere, in Hampshire, England, now belongs to the 8th Earl and Countess of Carnarvon. Brides and their attendants can dress in one of its elegant bedrooms before descending an oak staircase that opens into the saloon, a grand room in the center of the castle.