Venue named top spot for weddings
A SUFFOLK country house has been voted among the world's 50 best places to tie the knot - even though it is still to host its first wedding.The West Wing at Ickworth House, near Bury St Edmunds, which opened in December after a £5million transformation, will not see its first wedding until June but staff have been busy taking bookings with eight couples so far preparing to marry in the palatial surroundings.
By James Mortlock
A SUFFOLK country house has been voted among the world's 50 best places to tie the knot - even though it is still to host its first wedding.
The West Wing at Ickworth House, near Bury St Edmunds, which opened in December after a £5million transformation, will not see its first wedding until June but staff have been busy taking bookings with eight couples so far preparing to marry in the palatial surroundings.
However, the fact that it is still untested has not stopped it ranking alongside the Great Wall of China, the London Eye, the Graceland Wedding Chapel in Las Vegas and the sunset beaches of Antigua and Jamaica as some of the best places in the world to get hitched.
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Mary Myers, sales manager at Ickworth House, said: “We are delighted to be included in the list. It is a credit to the stunning new building and magnificent grounds surrounding the West Wing, which will provide a picturesque backdrop for any wedding.”
The top 50 places to get married was complied for a supplement in the Independent newspaper last weekend.
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It says: “With its striking rotunda and curved corridors, Ickworth House has been described as the National Trust's 'sleeping giant', situated in 1,800 acres of gardens and wooded parkland.
“Finally completed after 200 years, the West Wing at Ickworth now offers the gallery and court for ceremonies and receptions.
“Champagne receptions overlook the Italianate gardens and there is seating for 220 guests.”
Ickworth House was built in 1795 for the eccentric Frederick Hervey, the 4th Earl of Bristol and Bishop of Derry.
Ownership transferred to the National Trust to help the family pay off death duties following the death of the 6th Marquess of Bristol and it was his son, John Hervey, the 7th Marquess who finally severed all the family ties with Ickworth when he gave up the East Wing shortly before his death aged just 44 in 1999. He died after blowing a £7million fortune on drugs in only a decade.
The West Wing, which was designed to house treasures collected by the 4th Earl from Europe and beyond, remained an empty shell after the ship carrying the priceless works of art and antiquities was intercepted by Napoleon's forces.
That all changed when a two-and-a-half year project to transform the West Wing was completed late last year.
The work was designed to bring the wing into use as a first-class function and conference centre, with weddings seen as one of its many uses. For information call 01284 735957 or email firstname.lastname@example.org