Perfectly grand – Welcome to Harlaxton Manor
After opening exclusively for local residents during lockdown and opening to the public for a series of events throughout May, the manor is proud to be hosting more unique events this summer as well as relaunching its spectacular weddings and special celebration packages.
Few stately homes can boast a more stunning first impression than Harlaxton Manor, which has been described as a “dramatic fusion of Gothic, Jacobean and Baroque styles”.
More than a quintessential, classic English manor house, Harlaxton Manor is a spectacular flight of fantasy where styles from across Europe combine to create a house and gardens that are beyond imagination.
Approach up the imposing straight mile-long drive, across an ornate lakeside bridge, under a gatehouse and you’ll find a breathtaking fairy-tale façade set among 300 acres of formal gardens and mature gardens with views over the Vale of Belvoir in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Originally constructed in 1830 by Anthony Salvin for Gregory Gregory, a wealthy businessman from Nottinghamshire, this stunning manor has seen many changes over the years.
Previously, the manor has been a private home, an RAF officers’ mess, a religious house for novices and, more recently, an overseas study centre for the University of Evansville. Because of this, the manor has only been accessible to the public on open days and special occasions.
This year, however, is set to be an exciting time to visit and explore the delights of Harlaxton Manor, with the manor team making Harlaxton Manor more open than ever by hosting innovative events while also launching its creative wedding and special celebration packages.
“Until now, Harlaxton Manor has been a secret waiting to be discovered,” explains events and marketing manager Andy Fowler, who firmly believes 2021 will be a ‘year of discovery’ for this unique venue.
“After last year, we’re starting afresh in many ways, while setting out to be far more open and accessible than ever before in our history.
“Earlier this year, during lockdown, we opened our gardens and more of our grounds exclusively for residents of our neighbouring village and hosted a month-long series of outdoor events for the public throughout May.
“Now, we’re about to launch more stunning experiences into the summer with garden events and afternoon tea in our 19th century conservatory. We’ll also be hosting workshops and community events, as well as offering tours of our most impressive and beautiful areas.”
Taking a modern approach
Andy points out that although Harlaxton Manor is steeped in history, the team has taken a modern approach while also being mindful of preserving the manor’s heritage.
“We take great efforts to conserve and restore our historical assets, but we’re also passionate about sustainability, change-making and our community. We’re taking a contemporary approach to designing events that harness that powerful heritage to offer a stylish, premium service, and also create experiences that are relevant and in touch with a new, post-Covid world.
“For years, people have been telling us how much they’d love to see more of our grounds, our gardens and our manor and now we have an opportunity to let people do just that.”
The events team will also be releasing a programme of workshops and self-discovery events towards the end of summer, as well as conferencing and private hire packages which make this venue so distinctive.
“There isn’t anything like Harlaxton that exists anywhere else,” says Andy. “Being a part of the University of Evansville makes us completely unique; it gives us a great sense of purpose as an educational establishment in the English countryside, it gives us a really interesting culture as we blend the worlds of traditional English heritage with the energy, enthusiasm and creativity of our American students. Every day, we get to see the manor through new eyes which makes you realise just how amazing this place is and so we never take it for granted.
“We’re not a museum; we’re a college for ambitious, forward-thinking young people, and that inspires and influences everything we do, including our events and celebrations.”
Andy explains that while students will still be taught at the manor, its facilities and environments are being used “more creatively so that we can also do so much more for local residents and visitors”.
The team points out that only at Harlaxton Manor can you book an afternoon tea or workshop, with the additional bonus of learning from the next generation of students from the USA who are exploring and discovering British culture.
“Sharing your culture with someone from another country is probably the best way to learn about your own identity because you see it from a whole new perspective,” says Andy.
“Cultures collide and coexist at Harlaxton Manor and that makes it something very special indeed. Our events are deliberately designed to bring those worlds together and we’re working on exciting and innovative projects which will both enhance our role as an educational institute and create a unique offer for the community.”
Dream wedding venue
The dedicated wedding and special celebrations team at Harlaxton Manor has long prided itself on hosting memorable occasions, but having reinvented their packages this year, their new ideas take weddings and celebrations to “a whole new level”.
“Our new wedding packages make the most of everything this stunning house and gardens has to offer, making it feel as if it’s all yours and it’s exactly as you’d like it,” says wedding co-ordinator Bethan Price. “The team offers flexibility, choice and something really personal; from a jaw-dropping, elaborate manor style wedding experience that’s beyond imagination, to more intimate celebrations which delight and charm in unique and amazing ways.”
Every wedding couple at Harlaxton Manor has a dedicated wedding co-ordinator who is their primary contact from the first visit, through to the wedding day itself.
“Our co-ordinators are with you from day one to develop your wedding package and our team members are friendly, approachable and ready to help plan every detail to make your event unique and spectacular.
Having an open and honest relationship with our team is one of the secrets to planning a wonderful wedding or special event, so we take the time to get to know you and what you’d love for your big day.
“On the day itself, our manor team will help everything proceed as planned, while providing additional support through the day and into the night, ensuring a memorable occasion you will never forget.”
The manor’s special catering team has also been busy creating delicious wedding menus, including afternoon tea, banquets, with street food options and flexible bars.
There is also the option for a personalised menu featuring local produce, home-made foods, vegan menus and evening party food including pizza and hog roasts.
Wedding couples are also offered a complimentary stay in the romantic bridal suite on their special day.
“A wedding at Harlaxton is a wonderful experience; it’s like nowhere else on earth,” says Bethan.
“It’s an incredible, jaw dropping landmark which makes a statement and it’s also a beautiful, elegant backdrop and a relaxing, calm environment at the same time.
“We really feel for couples who feel like they’ve put their lives on hold over the last year, and I think it’s really reminded everyone about the important things in life. People have waited for so long for their celebrations and we want to give couples the weddings they’ve dreamed of and that means making every effort to ensure they’re personal to the couples getting married, with every detail bespoke for them.”
Wedding celebrations, as well as anniversaries and engagement parties, can make use of the amazing state rooms, as well as the pretty conservatory and stunning gardens.
“While our rooms are filled with heritage and beauty, they are surprisingly versatile and can be laid out and decorated, so they’re perfect for a wide range of styles and functions.
“Our new wedding packages include large and intimate options. Couples can make use of all our state rooms, including our Great Hall and this enables us to host weddings with up to 200 day guests and 350 in the evening.
“Our intimate packages, which are very flexible, enable couples to celebrate an intimate, stylish wedding on their own terms in a variety of our beautiful state rooms for a more personal celebration.”
“It is wonderful that Harlaxton is not just a stately home, but can be enjoyed by visitors in new ways. We’re at the start of something exciting and by visiting, you can help us to shape what we do in future.”
For more information visit www.harlaxton.co.uk or follow Harlaxton Manor on Instagram or Facebook