When I saw that the fabulous Eve Lily was hosting a wedding fair today, I thought I might mooch on over. Then I spotted that the fair was at a brand new Leicestershire wedding venue and I knew I needed to do more than just mooch. It was SO worth it.
The gorgeous Winstanley House is to be found hidden away in the centre of Braunstone Park, just two miles from Leicester City Centre. A former manor house owned by the Winstanley family, it became a school house in the early 20th century until it closed in 1996. Since then it has been boarded up, disused and vandalised.
Until now. An investment of over £2 million has seen this amazing property, lovingly restored and transformed into a boutique hotel and luxury venue. I hadn’t quite expected it to be so beautiful.
I am a National Trust member and love a good nosey around an old stately home. Winstanley House did not disappoint on that front, with original fireplaces and marble pillars, a magnificent sweeping staircase and exposed brickwork in the reception. Yet this has all been teamed with the most elaborate modern lighting, chandeliers in every bedroom and bathroom and the two, bright and airy ballrooms.
There are 19 large bedrooms, with sublime views and a concierge team always on hand. Both ballrooms will be licensed to host civil ceremonies, as well as a smaller room in the original building and a picturesque lawn area, where couples have the option to tie the knot under an old Oak tree. The largest ballroom can seat 450 guests, with the smaller ballroom, The Pavilion, seating 150 or 250 if using the patio area under canopy.
I have to say, it’s a wedding photographer’s dream. The architectural details, the light in the main rooms , the stunning countryside setting and grounds and, oh my gosh, the elegant bridal suite is the PERFECT setting for photos of the bride and bridesmaids getting ready.
It is just such a stunning venue and so unexpected. As well as having a good look around (I must thank Amy for being a brilliant tour guide!) and snapping photos (on my iPhone – don’t judge me by them!), I got chatting to a lovely old couple outside before I left. The lady had attended the school in her youth and shared some amazing memories of it but she was just so pleased to see what the wonderful team have done to restore it. She thought it was just fabulous.
And I have to say, I totally agree.
(reminder, these are iPhone photos and are not up to my usual standard!)