Jesmond Dene House is one of the premier wedding venues in Newcastle upon Tyne. It has everything - an old beautifully maintained building that's full of character, stunning gardens and opulent rooms for guests to stay over. It is close enough to the city centre to make travelling a breeze and secluded enough, overlooking Jesmond Dene, to feel like it's way out in the countryside.
The original Georgian house, designed by John Dobson -the architect responsible for many of Newcastle’s iconic streets - was bought in 1871 by Captain Andrew Noble, a partner in Lord Armstrong’s Tyneside-based shipbuilding and armaments business.
As the business grew, Noble needed a grander house for business entertaining. He commissioned leading Arts and Crafts architect Norman Shaw and local architect Frank Rich, to double the size of the house adding a west wing, billiard room, Gothic porch, Great Hall and a fleet of bedrooms - all in typically grand and eclectic Arts and Crafts style. The panelling, plasterwork, stone carvings, exuberant chimneys and stained glass found in the hotel today date from this time.
Knighted in 1902, Sir Andrew Noble was a prominent figure in high society and as such Rudyard Kipling, Lord Baden-Powell, Admiral Togo, Chinese ministers and Japanese princes have all stayed or dined at Jesmond Dene House. After Sir Andrew’s widow died in 1929, the house was used as a college, Civil Defence establishment (tunnels still exist under the house), seminary and, until recently, a residential school.
It took 18 months to convert the empty Grade ll-Listed building, to a hotel, which opened its doors in 2005.
Located in the West Wing, the Great Hall is a spectacular, double-height space with oak and silk wall panelling. There are huge Gothic windows, a beautiful carved inglenook fireplace and quaint minstrels’ gallery. It also has its own private reception room.
The gallery can be used by your photographer to get a unique perspective on your wedding. It also makes the perfect location for a singer or quartet to play during the ceremony.
There are six bedrooms above the Great Hall and you are normally required to book these along with the hall for your wedding. It means that you effectively occupy the entire wing of the house and are able to party in the hall until midnight without disturbing the other guests.
The Great Hall can easily seat up to 100 or 120 for an evening reception.
The Norman Shaw room
This room is named after the architect who was commissioned to increase the size of the house in late 19th-century.
It's a beautiful, light room that overlooks the hotel garden and Jesmond Dene. It features two lovely window seats so that you can take in the picturesque view.
For a seated meal the room can fit up to 18 around one large oval table or up to 20 around two separate round tables.
The room is licensed for civil ceremonies and can seat up to 20 guests.
The John Dobson Room
Named after the 19th-century architect, who is responsible for the original design of the house, this room is a large, bright room and located on the lower ground floor of the hotel.
It features access to a terrace that overlooks the picturesque Jesmond Dene. The terrace makes an excellent space for celebratory drinks after your ceremony. Alternatively, the room is licensed for civil ceremonies and if you you have 40 guests or fewer you can have your wedding ceremony in this room.
For a seated meal you can invite up to 30, on three separate tables, or up to 22, on one oval table.
The Frank Rich room
The smallest of the three private rooms is also named after one of the influential architects commissioned to extend the house.
It's an intimate room which can accommodate up to 12 guests and is perfect for smaller groups. It's also licensed for civil ceremonies.
The room showcases an original fireplace casing and a lovely deep red feature wall.
The Apartment is the best room in the hotel and is used as the bridal suite. I conducted a couple of weddings in here too, a few years back. I banged my head on the low ceiling more than once!
The Apartment is a large, open-plan room with sloping ceilings, tucked away on the top floor and accessed by a private staircase. Strikingly decorated in shades of pink and grey, there's a spacious sitting area with a sofa, and a private roof terrace with table and chairs.
Jesmond Dene House is a great venue for a wedding photographer. The building stands in it's own picturesque grounds and if you still want more options, then Jesmond Dene itself is on the doorstep. The interiors are stunning, so even if the weather forces you inside, you'll still have something to work with.
The only slight issue is the light. Even though the Great Hall has a high ceiling it is clad in very dark wood and even in high summer on a sunny day, it can be a little dark.
- Magnificent interiors and beautiful gardens, great for photography
- Great location, close enough to the city centre to make travel easy, but far enough away to feel secluded
- Can cater for the entire wedding day from the ceremony, through the wedding breakfast to the reception and you and your guests can stay the night
- You get what you pay for! As Newcastle's premier wedding venue it is at the upper end of most people's budget.
Jesmond Dene House is the Newcastle wedding venue that has it all - superb interiors, stunning grounds, rooms to stay in overnight, a rich heritage and great location.
Phone: 0191 212 3000
Write: Jesmond Dene House, Jesmond Dene Road, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, NE2 2EY
Photographs provided by Jesmond Dene House via Sean Elliott photography