Donnington Grove Hotel & Country Club
You get a sense of Donnington Grove’s grandeur long before you arrive at the actual house. Approach from the main road, up the long, winding drive, over the lake and through the 500 acres of grounds and, from a distance, you’ll spot the ornate battlements, windows and pillars of this gothic-style 18th Century manor house. As you get closer, it rises to its impressive three storeys. This is the perfect backdrop to a classic British wedding.
Built back in 1763, at various times Donnington Grove has belonged to Regency dandy Beau Brummell, infamous party-girl Daisy Fellowes and a Japanese consortium (hence the beautiful temple area in the secret walled garden).
There are various function spaces throughout the hotel, depending on the size of the wedding party, and three rooms licensed for civil wedding ceremonies – the smallest accommodating up to 45 guests, the largest big enough for 100. An experienced wedding coordinator is available, giving couples a bespoke wedding service. Or for ceremonies up to 50 guests why not hold your ceremony in the Japanese Pagoda, now licensed for weddings too.
There’s an exceptional range of hotel rooms with twin or double accommodation on offer. It starts with the classic rooms, either in the main hotel or in the adjacent buildings. There are lake view rooms with walk in drench shower rooms and an additional six summer house rooms, all with walk-in showers, and superb views from the shared terrace. Next up are the temple lodges with fully equipped kitchens and private decking areas with views over the private walled gardens. Finally there are the manor house rooms and the manor house suite. The latter features a luxury double room, an adjoining twin room, and a private dining area – perfect for bridal parties who need the space to prepare for the big day.
And while all that’s happening, there’s a beautiful 18-hole golf course to keep the groom and his party amused in the run-up to the wedding. Designed by the late Welsh pro golfer Dave Thomas, this has hosted several professional tournaments over the years. “The front nine undulates over higher grounds with stunning views over Newbury,” Donnington Grove explains, “whilst the back nine can be described as classic parkland, with an abundance of beautiful trees and water hazards that can unnerve the bravest.”
With such a variety of facilities and vistas, this venue has no shortage of backdrops for the wedding photos. “With its attractive exterior, romantic bridge over the River Lambourn, ducks and swans, willow tree by the river bank and secret garden, it is everything you would want and more for the ‘Wow!’ factor in wedding pictures,” boasts the brochure.
But where the hotel really excels is with its wedding reception catering. It can accommodate up to 120 guests for a seated meal, and up to a total of 200 for the evening party, with packages starting at around £100 per person. This includes a three-course meal, wine, an evening buffet and disco, and a complimentary suite for the bride and groom.
“We aim to meet and surpass your expectations every step of the way to ensure your wedding reception is truly memorable,” say the staff. “You only get one chance to make your wedding day shine, so why settle for average? With stunning grounds, enchanting views and a quirky unique character, Donnington Grove provides a truly magical setting for that very special day.”
Wedding show 28 January 2018 1100-1500, free admission and free bubbly.