As a child, I visited Avoncroft Museum of Old Buildings quite regularly, both with my parents and with the school. I remember being fascinated as to how the buildings had been taken from elsewhere and moved there, yet each one had been restored to perfection. Fast forward about 25 years, and I was looking around for somewhere to get married. None of the local venues had exactly what we wanted. We wanted to get married and have the reception in the same place. The wedding wasn’t really about the formalities, but more about having a big party with our friends, so it had to be a big venue.
And if I’m very honest, the wedding was a bit of an afterthought. You see for years, we’d planned to go over to New Zealand for the 2016 Rugby World Cup. So when my husband unexpectedly proposed the year before the World Cup, we realised the wedding would have to be the weekend before we flew to New Zealand, so that the World Cup could be the honeymoon. As a result, we didn’t want to spend a fortune on the wedding.
Weddings at Avoncroft Museum of Old Buildings
By chance, I noticed that it was possible to get married at Avoncroft. What’s more, we could also have our reception there. The venue was huge, quirky and unusual. There was a little chapel if we wanted to use it for a small service, and the hall where we’d get married was beautiful. There was even a miniature train track to entertain everyone while we had photos taken. And what’s more, the price didn’t break the bank. I was sold.
The museum itself features old buildings from various different eras. They have all been moved to Avoncroft to protect and preserve them. Buildings vary from a collection of phone boxes (including a tardis), to an ice house, to the chapel from Bringsty.
Coincidentally, my dad used to be an organ builder and when he passed his driving test as a young man, the first place he drove to was the Chapel on Bringsty Common. I think walking me up the aisle there 50 years later in a museum made him feel quite old!
As a wedding venue, Avoncroft had everything you could possibly want and more. And the photo opportunities were second to none. I’m not sure you could get a better backdrop for photographs than this beautiful working windmill.
Events at Avoncroft
Since getting married, we’ve been back to Avoncroft a couple of times. It is always a fabulous day out for both adults and children. We particularly love attending on days when there are events going on, such as their Traditional Mayday Celebration.
The Mayday Celebration offers the sort of traditional entertainment that we love. Morris dancing, old style roundabouts, pony rides, swing boats, welly wanging, ancient crafts and of course the museum attractions are all open as usual. I took this gorgeous photo of the girls riding ponies when we were there. I love the photo of both of them, but I particularly love the zoomed in version of Libby and her pony pulling just the same face.
The little tea shop at Avoncroft didn’t cope well with the number of visitors on a rainy day. But to their credit, they opened up the hall for people to eat in there. There were also numerous food stalls around the museum. I think these would have been much better supported had the weather been a little kinder.