Ever imagined tying the knot somewhere totally unique? In a puppet theatre, railway station or prison perhaps? Providing inspiration for creative couples, here are six extraordinary wedding venues to get your imagination whirring away
1. The Tolhouse Gaol, Great Yarmouth
A setting known for crime and punishment may sound like a weird proposal for a wedding venue, but this is a unique place to wed. One of the oldest prisons in the UK, the Tolhouse Gaol can be hired for weddings and is evidently an extraordinary venue for thrill-seeking couples who are hoping for a day that guests will never forget. Once-in-a-lifetime picture opportunities are around every corner, as are interesting slices of history. Minutes away from Great Yarmouth historic South Quay.
Perfect for: Halloween weddings, eclectic couples hoping to make a dramatic entrance and intrigue guests.
2. Norwich Puppet Theatre
With puppets from past and present adorning this theatre, it’s clear this is a unique wedding venue. One of only two dedicated puppetry venues in the country, Norwich Puppet Theatre was converted in 1980 from the Grade I listed parish church of St James Pockthorpe to an intimate and atmospheric theatre.
Choose from the retro auditorium which sets the stage for the ceremony with raked seating for an fantastic view and a medieval stained glass window, or the Octagon Studio for a smaller ceremony with around 40 guests, or for drinks. The Foyer bar is ideal for post-ceremony tipples before moving outside to the amphitheatre, with stone steps for unique photographs. A full house in the auditorium is approximately 140 seated guests. Opt for special lighting effects for a dramatic wedding finale.
3. Cley Windmill, Holt, Norfolk
Fancy your wedding photography taking place next to huge, grand white sails? The iconic Cley Windmill on the North Norfolk coast is out of the ordinary, as this historic building lies in the midst of reeds, sea views and stunning unspoiled countryside.
Tie the knot in a circular sitting room – the oldest part of the mill, dating back to 1713 – or make those vows in the garden and grounds thanks to a licence that extends to cover both indoor and outdoor events. Overhead beams, fireplaces, coastal views and an option to book out the whole mill out for a night or two (it can sleep up to 20 people) enables you to make the place your own.
Perfect for: An idyllic family wedding, a rural retreat wedding
4. Thursford Collection, Fakenham, Norfolk
If you and your beau are kids at heart, let your guests join the party by hopping fairground carousels, or absorbing the magic of the Venetian Gondola switchback ride, and more, at the Thursford Collection. The venue contains the world’s largest collection of steam engines and organs creating an original wedding environment for couples looking for a very different day. The venue also offers the Garden Pavilion of Thursford, set in landscaped gardens, which can seat up to 240 guests and is fully licensed for civil weddings.
Perfect for: Couples young at heart, fairground lovers, fun-filled weddings
01328 878 477
5. Chalkney Water Meadow, Great Tey, Colchester, Essex
Nestled in the heart of Colne Valley and green woodland, this waterside meadow could be the setting for a serene back-to-nature party or a fun-packed festival theme celebration. The lake surrounded by trees is yours to explore, so let your imagination run away with you when dreaming up your perfect wedding. Local ales, bespoke drinks menus and hog or ox roasts make up some of the catering options here, and bookings are made for exclusive-use over a whole weekend.
Browning Bros offers packages which include decorative lighting around the lake, camping and reception area, three tipis, mains power supply, luxury loo and shower unit, fire pit and more. The venue is not presently licensed for civil ceremonies or partnerships, but couples can make use of the pontoon and willow archway on the lake for a humanist blessing.
Claudia Rose Carter
Perfect for: Humanist ceremonies, back-to-nature celebrations, DIY festival-themed receptions
6. Butley Priory, Suffolk
If a fairytale wedding is calling but an unusual building is a requirement, Butley Priory could tick all the boxes. Initially an Augustinian monastery with its history beginning in 1171, this is an unusual gem on Suffolk’s Heritage Coast. Old stone walls and a peaceful atmospheric setting will instil a calm air on your big day. Two wedding packages are offered from the venue with various options, as is locally-sourced, organic food for wholesome quality catering.
Perfect for: Classic brides and grooms, peaceful ceremonies