THINKING OF HAVING YOUR WEDDING IN DURHAM?
As a Yorkshire based wedding photographer, I frequently head north of the border to capture wedding photography in Durham.
The majestic north east city of Durham is a historical treasure trove, with architecture that spans 1,000 years of history.
A hotch potch of historical buildings with its centre piece Norman Cathedral at the centre. Durham’s riverside location and open green spaces give it a rural feel. Add to that a prestigious university, a vast array of shops including lots of independents, a fantastic street café culture, a foodies paradise and a haven for culture buffs and you see that Durham is simply an awesome city.
Needless to say, there are some amazing wedding venues in Durham. Something to suit every wedding style, taste and budget. Below are some of my favourites.
Beamish Hall is a beautiful Grade II listed twelfth century country house in Durham that sits within 24 acres of picturesque parkland within the secluded rolling hills of The Derwent Valley. Today, it’s a four-star country house wedding venue that offers a host of indoor or outdoor spaces licensed to host civil ceremonies.
As an experienced Beamish Hall wedding photographer, I’m always impressed by their award-winning wedding team, for whom nothing is ever too much trouble. Not even for Durham wedding photographers.
Their host of rooms means that they can cater from weddings from 10 guests right through to 300 making them the ideal venue for large and Asian weddings. Rooms include their Victorian Winter Gardens Orangery that is as magical as it sounds. Their atmospheric wood panelled Shafto Hall and Monboucher, a light-coloured room with period features. Or you can choose an outdoor ceremony in their gardens and woodlands.
When it comes to wedding photos, their striking interiors, impressive house and stunning parkland provide me with endless beautiful backdrops for amazing wedding photos.
When I captured wedding photography at Beamish Hall for Katy & Charlie they chose to host their civil ceremony in the Monboucher Room, that has stunning bay windows looking out over the meticulous grounds.
DALTON PUMP HOUSE
Dalton Old Pump House is fondly known by its owners and staff as ‘Lady Dalton’. A grade II listed building, it was built between 1873 and 1879 as a water pumping station. And remained in use up to WWII, then stood derelict until a restoration began in 2020.
If you’re looking for an utterly unique Durham wedding venue with a fascinating history then this is the one for you.
Indoor wedding ceremonies take place in the Engine Room. This breathtaking room has original grand bream engines that reach up three storeys high. With statement chandeliers and custom ivory and gold chairs, it’s pulls off urban luxe effortlessly and has space to accommodate 124 guests. It also has a mezzanine level perfect for register signing, live music and Durham wedding photographers looking for an amazing aerial shot!
The Terrace is a pretty outdoor south west facing space that is versatile enough for you to use as you wish. Licensed for outdoor ceremonies, wedding receptions incorporating food cooked on their custom outdoor fireplace or is the perfect place for an elegant drinks and canape reception.
The impressive boiler room is 4000 square feet and features over 50 chandeliers. Your first glimpse of this room will take your breath away. Elegant by day for a wedding breakfast, it can quickly be transformed into a party palace. It can seat up to 200 guests, that can stretch to 300 guests for an epic evening celebration. Check out Emily & Rhys's wedding here.
ST. CHADS COLLEGE
St Chads College is an active college that forms part of Durham University. Sitting in the heart of Durham just stone’s throw from the cathedral, it fronts out onto the famous medieval street North Bailey. Outside, there are beautiful gardens and a wooded gorge of the River Wear that flows round this high peninsula. It really is a picture-perfect setting for a wedding.
St Chad' s is licenced for civil ceremonies that take place outside of the universities usual term times. For ceremonies they offer their glass-roofed Casidy Quad or outside in the lawned gardens. Both can seat up to 100 guests. More intimate ceremonies can take place in the Senior Common Room.
Wedding receptions usual take place in The Moulsdale Hall, that enjoys unrivalled views of Durham Cathedral that can be seen through the halls tall arched windows. The Moulsdale Hall has seating capacity for up to 120 guests.
Evening celebrations usually take place back in the glass roofed Casidy Quad that has capacity for up to 140 evening guests.
Healey Barn is an 18th century stone and oak barn venue in the Northumberland countryside just outside Durham. What I especially love about being a Healey Barn wedding photographer is that this barn venue manages to be both rustic and modern, spacious and cosy. Making it ideal for weddings large and small regardless of the time of year.
Refurbished by the very successful Cripps & Co Team in 2015, it stands today as a premier Durham wedding venue. Indoor weddings take place in the barn that has capacity for 130 at a ceremony, 144 dining capacity and up to 200 guests for an evening reception. And with an enviable late-night license, you and your guests can party till late.
For outdoor ceremonies, their sunny courtyard that wraps around the entire barn is ideal and can accommodate ceremonies for up to 60 guests. The courtyard is also the ideal location for outdoor drinks, with the doors of the barn thrown open to seamlessly blend indoor and outdoor spaces.
When it comes to food, the team at Healey Barn pride themselves on their wedding feasts. Food is flame cooked from fresh ingredients on a huge BBQ and French rotisseries in full view of the guests, creating a fantastic vibe.
For guest accommodation they offer Healey Hall, a ten-bedroom luxury B&B, and for you and your wedding party there are two luxury cottages on site. Check out Louise & Lewis's wedding here.
Rockliffe Hall is an impressive Grade II listed gothic style hall built in the Victorian era that sits in 375 acres of parkland. Today, it’s been reimagined as a 5-star luxury hotel with a spa and golf course in Durham. This country retreat is the ideal setting for a wedding.
Rockliffe Hall are fully licensed to host civil ceremonies in a number of spaces. Such as the Rockliffe Suite, The Orangery, The Morning Room, The Old Hall and The Glass House. You can also choose an outdoor ceremony on their pretty terrace or in the enchanting walled garden. Between them catering for weddings from 60 to 170 guests.
Wedding breakfasts and evening celebrations take place in The Rockcliffe Suite, that has light neutral décor and doors opening out onto a terrace that leads straight to the garden. So you can throw open the doors so you and your guests can enjoy drinks and lawn games outside. It can accommodate up to 170 guests but for smaller weddings can cleverly be divided into two smaller spaces.
For accommodation, Rockliffe Hall has 61 five-star luxury bedrooms and four lodge houses within the estate. Allowing every one of your wedding guests to stay over. And with a golf course and spa on site, who wouldn’t want to make a weekend of it.
So, if you’re thinking of having your wedding in Durham, I hope this has been helpful to you. These are just a few of the many wonderful wedding venues in the Durham area. And they really are stunning venues but you don’t have to take my word for it. The most fun part of planning a wedding in Durham is getting to visit amazing venues in a beautiful part of the country so have fun with it!