Firstly, we’d like to give a big thanks to Virgin Trains for getting us smoothly and safely – and in fantastic First Class style – to this fabulous destination in the heart of Lancashire. Now, on with the show!
The Valley Itself
Take a break from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and relax in the countryside, in the oh-so-tranquil rural haven of Ribble Valley, in the green county of Lancashire.
Complete with picturesque villages and majestic scenery, nowhere will you find an area so quintessentially English as the great food capital of Lancashire. So beautiful is the scenery in this Valley, with bridges, bubbling brooks and the Forest of Bowland, that it became J.R.R. Tolkien’s original inspiration for the famous fictional land, Middle Earth. The Queen even suggested that she’d like to retire here!
Full of rich heritage and a wealth of historic interests, you and your guests will have plenty to do should you find yourself with a few seconds of downtime. The adorable market town of Clitheroe is perfect for those who love to shop, with eclectic boutique stores for that extra special something. Looking over Clitheroe is Pendle Hill, the original home to the infamous Lancashire Witches! Inspired by the two women accused of Witchcraft in 1612, there lies the “Witches Trail” – a path winding its way through the Trough of Bowland and Ribble Valley, a fascinating journey with spectacular scenery.
Home to the Clitheroe Food Festival, which takes place every August, the Valley prides itself on a huge variety of scrumptious, traditional English food and is a must-visit for foodies! If you’re a little more athletic and want to get your blood pumping, Ribble Valley also has a plethora of fantastic cycle routes for all abilities – from gentle country lanes to daring mountain bike routes.
The Valley not only has stunning scenery and quaint permanent fixtures, but it also hosts a range of fun events all year round! In addition to the aforementioned food festival, you could also stumble upon the RV Jazz & Blues Festival (29th April), Chipping Steam Fair (28th May), and even a Cloudspotting Festival (29th July)!
Ribble Valley plays home to a huge number of stunning countryside venues, for wedding and celebrations of all shapes and sizes. We scoped out a few of these amazing venues to give you an idea of what Ribble Valley can do for your big day.
On arriving to our destination, and staying overnight at the lovely Shireburn Arms Hotel, one is welcomed to a big crackling open fire and the aroma of amazing food, you get the feeling that you have arrived at a comfortable country Inn.
There is a mixture of old and new contemporary interior designs which is ideal for small bijou weddings. The Inn has been revamped, as can be seen from the beautiful bedrooms and modern bathrooms throughout.
The 17th century inn is set in the heart of Hurst Green and surrounded by the rolling hills and valleys of the Lancashire countryside.
“The Ribble Room with its magnificent views of the Ribble Valley is licensed to hold up to 70 guests seated and 30 guests standing for your civil ceremony. The function room has its own bar and opens out on to our stunning south-facing terrace and enclosed gardens, perfect for photographs and for little ones (and big ones!) to let of a little steam during the day. Then after an evening of dancing slip between crisp cotton sheets, rest your head on a feather pillow and curl up beneath a super-soft goose down duvet in one of the Inn’s 21 bedrooms”.
The following morning, we start our journey at the wonderful Eaves Hall. This stunning venue has held on to its history by carefully renovating its interior to showcase the original features, while creating a luxurious, contemporary country feel. Their bar has been most recently renovated room, with the interior designers taking great inspiration from the Edwardian era.
With a total of 30 bedrooms, plus a luxurious Ballroom and Pendle room available for hire, this venue is here to suit all your traditional wedding needs.
They call their Lodge a mini-mansion in its own right – it really is the perfect place for the Bride and her party to get ready the morning of the big day, with three amazing en-suites, a living room, dining room, and compact kitchen.
This majestic venue also holds a whopping 13 acres of stunning gardens and outdoor scenery – the perfect location for those memorable outdoor snaps that make a wedding that much more memorable.
Gibbon Bridge Hotel & Restaurant
Now we travel west to take a peek at Gibbon Bridge Hotel. If your heart’s desire is a luscious outdoor wedding, then look no further than this garden paradise, located deep in the Forest of Bowland.
Its 23 acres of land have been lovingly landscaped and transformed into a variety of lawns, shrubs, blooms, and even its own vegetable garden, making this a stunning location for a Spring or Summer wedding.
Your ceremony can be held in the gorgeous Garden Bandstand luxuriously decorated with romantic voiles, red carpet, and gorgeous hanging baskets, with the stunning backdrop of Longridge Fell – which also serves as a scenic walk on a day when you’re not reciting your vows.
Alternatively, you could choose the unique Orangery if the weather isn’t as glorious as you might like. The Orangery is a contemporary space, joined to the terrace, bringing the outside in for a light, airy feel. If you’d rather a winter wedding, the Cavalier Room will not disappoint. This intimate room provides the perfect cosy space for any ceremony.
Browsholme Hall & Tithe Barn
Browsholme, built in 1507 and steeped in English history, proudly touts itself as the oldest surviving family home in Lancashire. Four miles North of Clitheroe, this red sandstone house overlooks Hodder Valley, which holds its own traditional agricultural & horticultural show – a must-see for any honorary country bumpkin.
Browsholme Hall is a spectacular historic family home; guided tours around Browsholme showcases the living history of the house, home to the personal possessions of fourteen generations’ worth of occupation.
Close to the house, Tithe Barn has been converted into a stylish new venue for weddings and celebrations for up to 120 guests. It still boasts its gorgeous traditional features including oak beams and flagstone floors for a traditional English experience.
The Hall and Barn are close to a number of churches if that’s your preferred form of ceremony; civil ceremonies can also be held in the magical Regency Drawing Room of Browsholme Hall, or in the newly converted Tithe Barn.
Spread Eagle Inn
Nestling in the beautiful village of Sawley, the Spread Eagle Inn pride themselves on bespoke weddings with a stunning view of Ribble Valley.
On one side of the Inn, the River Ribble flows gently alongside, winding through the Valley on a 73 mile footpath. On the other side is Sawley Abbey, the remains of a Cistercian Abbey originally founded in 1148 – an amazing site to see on a visit to Ribble Valley (plus entry is free!).
Spread Eagle’s ideal riverside setting and nearby Sawley Abbey also allow for some beautifully scenic photo opportunities to capture your happiest moments.
This venue is a delightful country inn with an extensive menu for all dietary preferences (including little stomachs!); this quaint venue could be the perfect place for your special day.
A magnificent 15th Century Manor House with gorgeous architectural features, Mitton Hall holds a choice of rooms holding up to 400 guests for your wedding reception, and is licensed to hold civil ceremonies. The intimate oak-panelled rooms are ideal for smaller weddings, and an appropriately-named Party Room is great for larger celebrations.
Food and drink are Mitton Hall’s speciality, putting emphasis on the greatest chefs and the finest ingredients, but also an in-house mixologist to create the perfect cocktail buzz well into the evening. It also boasts a stunning terrace and gardens in which to take gorgeous photographs to memorialise your big day.
You can even hire large lit-up signs, up-lighting or mood lighting to give your special day a unique feel.
Higher Trapp Hotel
Higher Trapp is a delightful country house, full of charm and character. Contained with 36 acres of gorgeous terraced gardens, this lovely venue reside on the Pendle hillside, with stunning views of the Valley and countryside.
Their bar – Fitzy’s Bar – is locally renowned, not just for the quality of its food and service, but also for the stunning views and scenery that the bar itself overlooks, and the conservatory and private terrace are also blessed with beautiful scenic views.
Their luxurious Pendle Suite has been newly refurbished for an especially comfortable stay, and a beautiful Garden Pagoda on which to hold your ceremony, the Higher Trapp hotel is sure to put a smile on your face on that special day.
Based upon years of dedicated experience, the staff at Higher Trapp pride themselves on making your day better than perfect, offering comfort and luxury for a truly memorable experience.
For admirers of shabby chic and all things rural, lovers of traditional English farm life, Bashall Barn is the perfect place to hold your wedding reception. They can accommodate up to 120 seated diners, if you’re looking for a countryside reception venue with a twist. They offer bespoke wedding packages, and are proud to be an alternative wedding venue who doesn’t charge for individual room hire.
Doing things their own way, Bashall Barn pride themselves on creating bespoke weddings with a raw country feel. You can choose anything from a finger buffet to a 5 course banquet at Bashall barn; they produce all their food in their own kitchen, bakery, and – get this – ice cream parlour, so you can be assured that your food is the freshest you can get in the countryside.
Mytton Fold Hotel & Golf Club
A picturesque venue attached to an exclusive 18-hole golf course, the Mytton Fold Hotel sits at the heart of Ribble Valley. This wonderfully secluded venue is surrounded by 100 acres of gardens as well as the golf course, making this venue a great location for indoor or outdoor affairs.
They offer several options for your ceremony, the beautiful Abbey and Ribble suites for a formal indoor celebration, or a delightful garden Gazebo, complete with a red-carpet lined bridge to ceremoniously cross on your way to recite your vows.
The Hotel features 43 double bedrooms, with Bars and a Bistro for all your consumption needs. Perfect for guests with furry companions, this venue is dog-friendly, and even has a few dog-friendly rooms with accessories upon request.