If you’re searching for a picturesque countryside hotel to host your English wedding, you might like to check out Burley Manor.
Burley Manor is a grade II listed building that dates back to 1852 and is located in the heart of the New Forest countryside, in Hampshire.
There’s a new spark of interest in this place because of the extensive refurbishment they’ve recently carried out throughout the hotel, wedding barn and grounds.
Oh So Hitched popped down for a stay last weekend. We checked out the wedding barn and what the four-star Burley Manor has to offer for couples in search of a countryside wedding venue.
Burley Manor Barn: A wedding venue in The New Forest
The reception and public areas
It feels like you are walking into someone’s grand home when you walk through the front door of Burley Manor. It hasn’t been spoilt by attempts to make it feel too much like a hotel and you can expect original tiling, ornates fireplaces and banisters that create a charming setting.
The lounge area has a bar, stylish mismatched seats and deep aubergine coloured walls. There are plenty of knick-knacks and pops of colour throughout. When we arrived, there was a group enjoying afternoon tapas in The Drawing Room which looked like a great place to hold a sophisticated hen do or small party.
The Wedding Barn
The wedding barn is located at the back of Burley Manor and it officially opened for wedding bookings in autumn 2015. It holds up to around 80 guests comfortably, but after a personal tour with the manager, it was clear that it’s equally suitable for a more intimate wedding of 50 people or so.
Most weddings start with the bride entering via the marquee and bar area. And as you will see, the original beams create a rustic country feel. If you’re looking for a blank slate on which to stamp your own personality and decoration, this place is ideal. These before and after photos show what you can achieve with the right florists and wedding décor.
Ceremonies at Burley Manor generally follow with a drinks reception and canopés in the cosy marquee. This leads into the tiny bar area where you can buy draught beers and a selection of wines and spirits.
For the wedding breakfast, the wedding barn can be set up with two long banquet-style tables, or a series of individual tables. The top table is laid out in front of the original fireplace and the Medieval style chandeliers create a feature in the middle of the room.
An upside to booking Burley Manor for your wedding reception is that all the catering is provided inhouse. The wedding coordinators can take you through food tastings to find a menu that suits your taste. There are also options for exclusive hire of the entire property or hire of the wedding barn alone.
The restaurant and food
The restaurant at Burley Manor is an attractive Mediterranean style set-up with an adjoining conservatory where guests can enjoy breakfast and dinner. We felt there was room for improvement when it came to the dining service and standards, however we thought the afternoon tapas was well worth checking out.
Burley Manor has recently adopted a Mediterranean theme in their restaurant, in honour of the ‘Fair Farmeress’ Mrs Lister-Kay who owned the building in the early 1900s and had her own Italian garden here.
This is reflected in the afternoon tapas, which consisted of a savoury ‘wood-fired kitchen’ tier of flat bread and hummous, lamb kibbeh with spiced yoghurt, stone-baked tortilla and crispy cod bites. You then have the sweet selection tier filled with meringues, fig tarts, biscuits and tasty tiramisu. It was a delicious alternative to the traditional afternoon tea we are all used to.
Guest rooms at Burley Manor vary from the five different room types within the main house to the Garden Suites found within the single-level extension area that spreads across the gardens.
Our Garden Suite was homely and it combined contemporary fabrics with lovely antique furniture and retro touches. We loved the stylish Victorian inspired bathroom and very comfortable bed.
Construction work was being carried out on the new swimming pool which obscured our view a little bit. But when it’s finished, guests who stay in the garden rooms will hopefully have nothing but countryside views.
The boutique rooms in the main house are a little bit more bold and some wedding couples choose to stay in the particularly luxurious Manor Crown Room which offers a roll top bath and four poster bed.
Burley Manor is a 5-10 minute walk from Burley Village where you will find three main pubs and a few shops, cafes and restaurants. Don’t make the mistake I did and forget to pack your walking shoes. You’re in the New Forest, so this area is begging to be biked or hiked. If you do forget your walking gear (or you’re not the outdoorsy kind), there’s a lovely cidery and shop which you can explore.
Burley Manor is located in the village of Burley, around 2-2.5 hours’ drive from London and 30 minutes’ drive from Southampton and Bournemouth. (The hotel has a spacious car park for those who are driving). If you are travelling by train from London (as we were), you can take a train from Waterloo to New Milton in around 2 hours. You can join this train at Clapham Junction which was handy for us. Then it’s a 15-20 minute taxi ride from New Milton to the hotel (the taxi costs around £18 one way).
Until next time x
Oh So Hitched was a guest of Burley Manor in The New Forest, as part of this review. Any views expressed here are my own.