When I arrived in Cambridge over 20 years ago, little did I know what an amazing city it was or what the best wedding venues in Cambridgeshire were. Cambridge University in itself has been around for hundreds of years and some of its colleges have been kept unchanged all this time. The city’s historic centre is an amazing place if you fancy roaming around aimlessly, and the river Cam and the various bridges that cross it have also their very own appeal. You could walk around Cambridge for a whole day and discover many amazing locations and landmarks without planning anything in advance. This is why I feel incredibly lucky to be able to work in this city as a wedding photographer.
Cambridgeshire at large is a varied county with many wedding venues that have a lot to offer to couples. Be it in terms of space, amazing backdrops and facilities.
Many couples get married in Cambridge, often having studied at one of the Colleges and being allowed to get married there years later when the time comes. However, some other couples may decide to get married at a Cambridge college just because it’s an amazing venue in the city where they live. Like me, some years back, when I chose to have my wedding reception at Corpus Christi College because we fell in love with the place. There are also many wedding venues in the city which are not colleges but which have great backdrops and features for couples in search of originality.
Deciding on a venue where to get married in Cambridge can be daunting as the choice is vast, you will need to think about noise levels if the venue is in a residential area and if you want to have a band playing at your evening do, you will need to ask about the minimum number of guests you can invite, or if they charge corkage if you wanted to bring your own wine or champagne, etc.
The list below gathers the 10 best wedding venues in Cambridgeshire, not an exhaustive list, but those where I love shooting weddings the most. I will post one or two of my images for every venue below, as well as a link to the venue and a link to one of my blog posts if the wedding I captured there is still in my blog. Please note that the list below has nothing to do with an order of preference or which venue is better than others, it is totally random.
1. Queens’ College, Cambridge
Cambridge College founded in 1448 on the banks of the River Cam. The famous Mathematical bridge lives there, and the various courts and the unique dining hall are amazing locations to shoot in. Even the more modern garden by the river, with its 1970s hall of residence, has got its charms.
2. Corpus Christi College, Cambridge
Founded in 1352, it is the very college where I got married in 2011. I love the main court and its unusual chapel as well as the magnificent main dining hall. The Old Court dates back from the 1350s and is rumoured to be the oldest court in Cambridge.
3. Longstowe Hall, Longstowe
Longstowe Hall is set within ancient woodlands and amazing gardens, the lake is also a superb addition to the whole picture and couples can also get married in a gazebo on a little island which is very pretty. The impressive main house is a magnificent backdrop to photographs. This venue is merely 5 minute from my house, and I love shooting there.
4. The Old Hall, Ely
With amazing views of the Cambridgeshire countryside and Ely Cathedral, The Old Hall is a superb country wedding venue surrounded by picturesque lakes and grounds. The ceremonies often take place in an outdoor garden pavilion while the reception takes place in a marquee by the main house.
5. Rectory Farm, Cambridge
Rectory Farm is a superb country house set in lovely gardens and stunning countryside. I love the space at the back of the house and the big marquee where receptions take place. Also worth noting that the field at the back of the marquee is amazing at sunset!
6. Anstey Hall, Cambridge
Former country house built in the 17th century, Anstey Hall is a superb mansion near Cambridge and is an amazing location for any wedding. I love the rooms upstairs where the bride usually gets ready, as well as the dining hall/ceremony room full of mirrors and period features. Every room of the house is steeped in history.
7. Madingley Hall, Cambridge
Located just three miles west of Cambridge, Madingley Hall is one of Cambridge’s greatest wedding venues. Surrounded by magnificent woodlands and historic gardens, this wedding venue provides many great backdrops for your photographs.
8. Clare College, Cambridge
Founded in 1326, Clare College is set in gorgeous award-winning gardens, right on the River Cam, it has amazing outdoor areas, as well as a lovely great court and a vaulted bar area. Its very characteristic bridge is also a Cambridge favourite.
9. University Arms Hotel, Cambridge
Recently redesigned, and by Parker’s Piece park, the University Arms Hotel is a superb boutique hotel in the heart of Cambridge. The hotel boasts many suites available for your wedding day, the elegant Ballroom, with original features and floor to ceiling windows, can accommodate receptions of up to 200 guests.
10. Island Hall, Godmanchester
Built in the mid 18th century, Island Hall is a beautifully elegant mansion, in the heart of Cambridgeshire, set in 3 acres of lovely riverside gardens. It’s an intimate wedding venue, with many period features, grand staircases and big mirrors.