Plans unveiled to transform Victorian gate house at ‘Downton Abbey’ style historic hall and wedding venue

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A Downton Abbey-style luxury wedding venue has unveiled £70,000 plans to transform a Victorian lodge house into a brides’ haven.

The derelict Grade II listed house at the top of the hall’s grand driveway at Soughton Hall, near Northop, in Flintshire is going to undergo a massive makeover.

According to owners Elle R Leisure, original features in the quaint Tudor-Gothic style building will also be preserved including an original bread oven.

It is all part of an ambitious refurbishment scheme led by Managing Director James Ramsbottom, to turn the Flintshire architectural gem in to one of the UK’s finest and most exclusive wedding venues.

James Ramsbottom, owner of Soughton Hall, is pictured outside the Lodge house at the luxury wedding venue.

Since taking over the historic 15-bedroom property in February 2016, Elle R Leisure has spent around £400,000 on transforming the interior of the property. This has included a major revamp of all the bedrooms, guest areas and the marquee used for wedding reception and events.

James said buying and refurbishing the pretty, two-storey, two-bedroom house was ‘another part of the jigsaw’ in restoring Soughton Hall for generations to come.

James said: “We believe the lodge house was built in the 1860s by Chester architect John Douglas when the Hall was still in the ownership of the Bankes family who had it as a family home from the early 1800s until the 1980s when it was first sold to be turned into a business.

“So it has been an integral part of the estate for 150 years. We were lucky enough to be able to purchase the house from one of the Bankes family and now we are keen to use it to enhance the first-class facility we are able to offer to brides and grooms looking for the most special of places to get married.”

The house will have a cosy sitting room with woodburner, kitchen/diner and bathroom on the ground floor with two bedrooms – one ensuite – on the second floor. It will provide a private, home from home space for brides to enjoy with their bridal party the night before the wedding or for a newly married couple to relax in after their big day.

James added: “We now have more than 100 weddings booked in for next year and the Lodge house will help us to accommodate more of what some of our bridal parties may require, both in terms of accommodation space and also in terms of being able to make the most of their very special Soughton Hall experience.”

Manchester-based Elle R Leisure, which is run by James and a 500-strong team including three of his four sisters, is well-known for its successful Dukes 92 and Albert’s bar and restaurants in Manchester.

The company also has a luxury boutique hotel called Woodlands in Leeds which specialises in weddings.

To find out more about Soughton Hall go to www.soughtonhall.co.uk Facebook is @soughtonhall or twitter @SoughtonHall