2 (all year)
Historic Bickleigh Castle comprises a Grade 1 listed Norman Castle, a Grade 2* listed Saxon Chapel, Grade 2 listed cottages and some recent buildings, all standing in extensive grounds through which runs a beautiful stretch of the River Exe. The Estate stands in the Exe Valley, a conservation area and a leafy unspoilt part of Mid-Devon amongst rolling hills.
The Castle is some eight miles north of the City of Exeter and four miles south of Tiverton, just off the A396. We frequently host Weddings, so if it is a wedding you are thinking of, we can provide a first-class service, having organised over five hundred in the last seventeen years. We always lay on the catering for weddings.
We offer accommodation for up to 40 people (25 people minimum) on site in 18 bedrooms, of which one (the Tudor Room/Bridal Suite) is in the Castle itself, the rest being in our picturesque, thatched cottages.
We also host ‘Staycations’, which are very popular, can be ‘bespoke’ and, of course, are exclusive. These are normally charged on a per person basis. The style of event is up to you – we have had a great variety: anniversary weekends, a Medieval event, a Jane Austen weekend and Classic, Vintage and Veteran Car weekends, to mention but a few! Staycations can be on a fully-catered or self-catering basis.
The third main use is for Conferences. Groups in recent years have included Thames Clippers, the Country Landowners’ Association, the South London Latin American Dance Group, the National Trust’s senior management meeting and departments of the NHS. We are ideally suited to such events and for some can offer by arrangement added security (e.g. for government or military conferences). Conferences can also be either fully-catered or self-catered events.
Given the space we offer, various outdoor activities can take place. We have a small children’s play area, a Tennis court, Croquet lawn, an outdoor Hot Tub, and numerous places to sit out and enjoy a drink. We also have a very good barbeque set new in 2020. With a little arranging, you can use the River Exe for ‘wild’ swimming, rafting on lilos and other inflatables, or kayaking (in theory you could kayak all the way to Exeter if you had the time!); the river is, however, not suited to other craft.
Indoors we have a cosy guests’ sitting room, an ideal meeting point for all your guests, a dining and bar area which doubles as an excellent dance floor, and a further four reception rooms, including the Great Hall in the Castle and the banqueting room which is where Wedding Breakfasts normally take place. The ‘annexe’ in the banqueting room sometimes doubles as a Cinema, where we can set up a large screen.
Our quiet country lane which runs between Bickleigh and the pretty village of Thorverton is suitable for local walks or runs and cycling. We can arrange for you horse-riding and clay pigeon shooting, both of which are available a few miles away.
You can travel to Bickleigh Castle by car – we have a large car park. However, if you want to use public transport, there are stations on the main railway line at Tiverton Parkway and Exeter St David’s, both of which are some twenty minutes’ drive from the Castle. There is also a good bus service. If you are organising a Wedding or Staycation, we strongly recommend that at least two or three of your party bring a car, or even a minibus.
John Vaughan (Manager) joined Independent Cottages in December 2017
Weddings have always been our primary raison d’etre and we have had many wonderful occasions over the last seventeen years. The vast majority of our Weddings have been weekend events (Friday to Sunday) with the main ceremonies taking place on Saturdays. This gives you the chance to bring people together for more than just a few hours and to create a very memorable occasion.
The order book is fast filling up for 2021, but there is a good choice of dates for 2022 onwards. We can arrange weddings of all types and sizes, from something small and intimate to a large traditional event. We have always welcomed Armed Services personnel and we have always been very welcoming of children. You can either have the whole event on site with a Civil Ceremony, or a Church Wedding (depending on your arrangements with the Church) and the Reception at the Castle. For Church Weddings we have some classic transport for you to travel in style; for a very local Church it is possible to hire a horse-drawn carriage.
We have an excellent Chef who can supply a wide variety of menus to suit all tastes, anything from a simple barbecue to classic haute cuisine. Food is prepared on site in our large kitchen. We also have a variety of excellent suppliers for flowers, photography, fireworks etc.. We have had some superb live bands and other musicians who we can call upon; no Wedding is complete without music.
We have a licensed bar which can be open until 0100 which is also the extent of time for live music and discotheques; for those who like to dance the night away, however, we also have a very good CD player which can be used at any time. Likewise, we can offer a cinema facility for a late night movie.
Many people choose Bickleigh Castle for weddings because of its amazing history and the fairytale quality of it being a genuine medieval castle. You may well want to hold your wedding in a certain style and adopt a theme. Most ideas are possible and our friendly wedding co-ordinator is on hand to advise what will work best.
Staycations have been very popular in the last few years. These can take many forms, but the formula is generally for people to stay either for a long weekend or for a week or so, and to make it either an event where we provide the catering, or it is self-catered. We have one large commercial kitchen with fridges, freezers and a complete self-contained washing-up area (scullery) with an excellent and very fast dishwasher.
Some people just come together for a simple holiday; however, many are marking a special occasion – which might be a wedding anniversary, a special birthday or a perhaps a staging post of a Classic Car tour. Whatever the occasion, we can help you mark it in a memorable and imaginative way as we can lay on all manner of special items. As an example, people often choose to have at least one really special meal, often a black tie evening; related to that we can lay on a movie (we have an area we sometimes use as a Cinema) or perhaps a treasure hunt or quiz; there are many possibilities.
Pricing for staycations is normally on a per head basis for Bickleigh Castle; a guide for prices can be found below.
As mentioned above, we have had many very successful Conferences at Bickleigh Castle. The format is similar to that used for Staycations, except that other rooms come into use: the Banqueting Room makes an excellent Conference room, being large, carpeted, with ample suitable furniture, good Wifi provision and plenty of power points; as it is on the first floor without adjoining rooms, it is particularly private. We can arrange (at cost) additional security for certain types of event.
We also have several more Reception Rooms in the Castle itself which (especially the Great Hall) lend themselves to a variety of uses, although they do not have wifi.
Conference groups often like to use areas of the grounds for team-building exercises – there is ample space for outdoor activities.
Often with Conferences organisers want their delegates to have a room each. On the one-per-room basis we can accommodate 18 on site, with room for more at the nearby ‘Fisherman’s Cot’ Inn. However, we have some rooms which have more than one bed and these can provide a sharing arrangement. In each case, there are several rooms where bath/shower room use needs to be shared.
The pricing for a Conference is slightly different to a Staycation in that it normally involves a Day Delegate Rate, so if you have delegates who are not staying it covers those; the DDR includes morning and afternoon tea and coffee breaks and a good light lunch.
Bickleigh Castle is a particularly interesting and unusual venue for events of this type and you can be assured of both privacy and quietness.
Prices: Pricing for ‘staycations’ is on a per person basis, with a minimum of 25 guests. Pricing is £115 per person per night (November to March inclusive) and £130 per person per night the rest of the year for self-catering, or £170 per person per night fully catered (full hotel services) November to March or £180 per person per night rest of the year. Christmas and New Year have special pricing. Conference and Wedding prices have to be negotiated with our office.
The owners live and run the Estate Office from a private wing at the Castle so are onsite to assist guests.
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