Quantock Lodge, without a shadow of a doubt, is simply one of Somerset’s hidden gems. Set in 8000 acres of stunning scenery in the Quantock Hills it really is quite imposing yet truly beautiful.
When I think of the word “lodge” I tend to think of a log cabin (Google it) or a medieval hunting lodge as in King John’s Hunting Lodge in Axbridge. When I first heard of Quantock Lodge and then saw a photograph I wondered if Lord Taunton maybe had quite a dry sense of humour seeing as this building is quite blatantly a mansion in every sense of the word. Talk about understatement of the 19th century!
Michelle and James are getting married at St. George’s Church in Wembdon and are then heading on to Quantock Lodge where they will hold their Wedding Breakfast and Reception. We’ve known Michelle’s family for years and only last year shot Manthy’s, one of Michelle’s sisters’ wedding, again at St. George’s in Wembdon (it’s their family’s parish church) with their Reception at Woodlands Castle in Taunton.
We like to scope out the majority of the wedding venues we’re booked to shoot at if we’re not already familiar with them either via the expanse of images available on websites and Google or by physically visiting them if we get a chance in our schedule. Michelle called and said that they were going out to view the venue again and asked if we wanted to come along. We had a free afternoon and so jumped at the chance. I love old buildings, learning their history and everything that goes with them so I relished the chance to view this exquisite building at leisure. I was pretty excited as I hadn’t seen Quantock Lodge apart from in photos and knew it was going to be grand.
Quantock Lodge is located in the forest at the foot of the Quantock Hills (a national Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty – ANOB) in the quiet hamlet of Aley near the villages of Over Stowey and Nether Stowey in our home county of Somerset – a short distance from the towns of Bridgwater and Taunton. It is a Gothic revival mansion built by Henry Labouchere, 1st Baron of Taunton (or Lord Taunton for short) between 1857 and 1859 to, in the current owners own words “effectively to house his impressive personal art collection which included several original Michelangelo’s” (as you do when you’re ridiculously rich and have lots of art). I’ve since read it was apparently Lord Taunton’s second wife’s art collection but either way he wasn’t struggling for cash. You can read more here.
Alas the art collection is long since gone and the house has undergone a number of changes (Tuberculosis Sanatorium until from 1919 to 1961 and then Quantock School until 1998). It is an outrageously beautiful building with photo opportunities at every turn; an impressive entrance hall, grand staircase, long carpeted hallway, beautiful lawned garden with grand steps which are literally screaming out for perfect formal/group shots. It has so, so much character everywhere and even has a resident peacock who isn’t afraid to show his true colours!
After the school closed it reverted to its former name of Quantock Lodge, and was re-marketed as a centre for recreation and banqueting. It is also a recognised youth summer camp centre. You can find out more by clicking HERE to go through to the Quantock Lodge website.
Quantock Lodge doesn’t have a bar or catering services included in the wedding hire but this is great for some couples! It means you can truly put your own personal touch on everything whilst having a near full run of the building and the grounds. You can bring in whatever catering and entertainment you like meaning you can be as lavish or as low key as your budget dictates.
No matter how you decide to celebrate, be it a wedding or any other occasion, Quantock Lodge will almost certainly ‘WOW’ you with it’s character and surrounding scenery.
I’d like to thank the owner, Mrs Peaster, for showing us around and giving me a brief history of this great Somerset Wedding Venue, Quantock Lodge.