As the UK readies itself for tonight’s return of Downton Abbey, we have one question. Are you a Downton Abbey fan of the highest quality and find yourself in need to a wedding venue in the not-too-distant future? At Tellyspotting, we have the answer…and, it’s not Highclere Castle.
Couples looking for an entirely different way to tie the knot can now book the infamous Surrey-based courtroom, featured in Downton Abbey and scenes from other iconic British dramas, including Lewis, Endeavour, The Bill, EastEnders, Holby City, Call the Midwife and Midsomer Murders. The Surrey County Council has announced that the former Crown Court now has a license to conduct weddings. While it’s no longer a working courtroom, it still has all the original deep wood paneling and other than the fact you would be on trial, it must have been a pretty atmospheric place to have your fate decided by the courts. Now, if they so desire, happy couples can say their vows on the same stand that Bates was tried for murder while 100 of their relatives sit in the jury box or public gallery.
Even though it has ceased to be a ‘working courtroom’, the historic court, located in the council’s Kingston-upon-Thames headquarters, brought in £145,000 of revenue in 2013 as a film location rental. It’s hoped that the wedding market will prove just as lucrative as weddings can be booked for between £3,000-£3,250 which includes a ceremony in the courtroom and a reception in one of the building’s grand chambers.
Denise Le Gal, Surrey County Council’s cabinet member for business services, said: “I wouldn’t be surprised if the more avid Downton fans decide to exchange vows in the same courtroom that witnessed Mr Bates’ trial.” Even though it’s hard to put a $$ amount on a lifetime of happiness, it might seem a little steep for you pocketbook but, if it helps, it’s VAT free!