“A Cotswolds Experience” at Caswell House

Written by Caitlin Hoare
Long walks in the countryside punctuated by pub lunches and hours wandering around idyllic honey-hued villages are how I might usually spend my time in the Cotswolds, but on an otherwise uneventful midweek in May, I was invited to attend “A Cotswolds Experience” at Caswell House.

Located not far from the border of the Cotswolds AONB, famous for its jumble of quaint towns and crooked streets peppered with caramel-stoned, thatched-roofed cottages, lies Caswell House. Tucked down a quiet Oxfordshire lane, this exclusive-use family-owned wedding venue dates back to 1485 and is a rich tapestry of history, charm and breathtaking surroundings (300 acres of glorious countryside, no less). It’s impossible not to fall for this stunning venue from the photos alone; therefore, as I made my way up the drive, greeted by a smattering of quintessential Cotswold stone barns, emerald green creepers, and weathered (in the best kind of way) stone features, I fell hard.

After checking into my room in one of the venue’s homely, light-filled guest cottages, it was time to gather in one of Caswell’s garden spaces, a pretty, private lawned area that had only been used by the family until recently. It was such a beautiful, versatile space, which we all agreed worked so well for our intimate, relaxed welcome drinks that I believe they will continue to offer it to couples as an additional al fresco gathering space, should they wish to use it. I can just imagine garden games and informal, sociable welcome meals stretching well into the early hours here!

Once the beloved home to the Matthews family, Caswell House is now a thriving business hosting up to 180 weddings a year. With siblings Kate and Will at the helm, it’s clear they’ve inherited their parent’s passion, creativity, and vision to continue growing and pushing this well-established, much-loved business further, which they intend to do this as organically and sympathetically as possible, with sustainability at the fore. In fact, the venue already has admirable green credentials and a strong environmentally-friendly approach across all areas of the business, from sourcing food to renewable energy and waste reduction. Another big tick, in my humble opinion!

With up to five weddings taking place a week, you might be wondering (as I did) why they felt the need to open their doors and host an industry event at all. They’re evidently doing very well and have honed a well-oiled machine with over 15 years of experience hosting weddings and events. Well, folks, they’re looking to try something a little different. They recognise that multi-day/weekend weddings are becoming increasingly popular due to modern couples’ desire to spend longer celebrating such a momentous occasion. And so, the team wanted to showcase what a two-day Cotswolds experience could look and feel like. Spoiler alert… it’s heavenly!

Although they do host many weddings, it’s clear that guest experience is still their no.1 priority. The team is unwaveringly professional and super friendly, and it’s obvious they work incredibly hard to understand what their couples really want and need, not just what they can offer. If this event is anything to go by, the team is an absolute testament to the venue; they are most definitely people people, unobtrusive, flexible, and kind.

The venue tour, led by Caswell’s Sales & Event Manager Sara, took us through the key venue spaces, Joslins Barn, Bartletts Barn and Wenmans Barn, all of which feature exposed stone walls and ancient wooden beams, now juxtaposed by bright white ceilings and a contemporary-style; my favourite combination and the perfect blank canvas for any wedding theme or colour palette. Caswell’s effortless, natural connection with its surroundings and mindful approach to remaining true to its origins extends to its luxurious accommodation. The Honeymoon Suite and 15 additional guest bedrooms are all homely and stylish, yet expertly combined with all mod cons and perfectly in-keeping with the characterful heritage features that we all know and love. When it comes to wedding venues, I firmly believe the guest accommodation should be just as much of a consideration as the venue itself, providing everyone with a comforting and calming feel, a refuge from our hectic day-to-day lives. Caswell offers this by the bucketful!

Following the tour, we were invited to take part in a yin yoga and sound bowls activity with local practitioner Yogalina Wellness Centre in Joslins Barn. From yoga classes to massage treatments, if you wanted, you could turn your pre-wedding into a bespoke, restorative retreat with relaxation at the heart, OR you could opt for energising treatments for your nearest and dearest to kick-start a day of celebration! Following the class, we were treated to tea and homemade cake in the sun-trap courtyard, bringing a feel of modern-day Provence to this gorgeous old Cotswold estate.

Speaking of which, the gardens and grounds are nothing short of mesmerising. Beyond the courtyard, there is even a moat complete with a wisteria-clad bridge (Bridgerton vibes galore!). The ancient Loggia offers an unrivalled backdrop for outdoor wedding ceremonies, and behind that, a private, wildly planted garden space is available exclusive to the wedding couple for those romantic, just-married photograph opportunities. There is genuinely so much to take in; the outdoor spaces compete for your attention and are each as pretty and picturesque as the other—not forgetting the other side of the moat, complete with dramatic and elegant weeping willows (a personal fave). In short, the gardens are sublime. You certainly wouldn’t struggle to find a breathtaking backdrop here!

When the early evening came around, bringing with it balmy temps and bright blue skies (well, the whole day was glorious, to be perfectly honest!), we gathered back in the sun-warmed courtyard for some fizz, canapés and a fun and hands-on cocktail masterclass! Led by Cotswolds Distillery, we were taught how to make a fresh and vibrant spring cocktail with notes of elderflower, mint and cucumber. Once the shaking and making was complete, we enjoyed our sundowners al fresco before moving into Wenmans Barn for dinner. This is the barn that you might recognise if Caswell House is already on your radar (if it’s not….why not? I sincerely hope it will be now!). Think exposed stone walls, flagstone floor and masses of fairy lights strung between the beams. Although this space can accommodate up to 140 for a wedding breakfast, our table of 30 didn’t feel lost. In fact, it was perfect. The atmospheric candlelight, paired with the floral cloud installation hanging above us, adorned in hues of lilac and oodles of greenery, created an intimate yet refined vibe.

Let’s move on to the food, my favourite part of any trip, holiday, event… day! From the moment we were introduced to Caswell Kitchen during our welcome drinks, it was clear that their approach to food and hospitality as a whole was nothing short of exceptional. Not only do they place a strong emphasis on seasonal food, working tirelessly to match the menu with the environment, but their dedication to understanding what couples want is evident in how they approach menu planning. Rather than offering rigid, pre-set options, they say their menus are simply a starting point, working closely with couples to craft bespoke culinary experiences that reflect the couple’s tastes and preferences.

Earlier in the day, they served a light lunch featuring an array of small plates that were each vibrant, colourful and VERY delicious! But it was the evening meal that really showcased what Caswell Kitchen is all about. It was a true celebration of spring, showcasing some of my favourite seasonal flavours and ingredients. Highlights included asparagus, confit Burford yolk, mustard slaw, prosciutto and Parmigiano, followed by new season Cotswold lamb, spring vegetables and clover, and a rhubarb and white chocolate dessert, accompanied by a rhubarb and custard cocktail. Lip-smacking, pretty as a picture and a lot of fun! Each course was also paired with a delicious wine – an inspired touch – who doesn’t appreciate a complementary wine with every plate? I certainly do! The whole evening was a delight. We “mmm’d” and “ahhh’d”, chatted and laughed until the sun retreated, and it was time for us to do so too.

While visiting Caswell House in spring was an absolute treat, I imagine it is a totally dreamy romantic hideaway in all seasons, whether during the height and heat of summer or the magical winter months when you can go wild with candles and twinkling fairy lights!

Thanks to the inspiring team, this rustic, romantic venue has been magnificently restored in all its glory. I have no doubt that Caswell House will continue to excel in hosting couples and their nearest and dearest for a memorable, high-end experience for many years to come. Luxury multi-day weddings in the Cotswolds really don’t get much more golden than this.

Press Stay

Caswell House is part of the Coco Wedding Venues directory; however, we handpick each venue to showcase and only feature venues we adore. We were not paid to write this feature but were gifted an overnight stay with activities and dinner.

With thanks to

Venue Caswell House

Photo and Film Char Cook Photography, Poppy Carter and PS Visuals

Catering Caswell Kitchen

Wine Pairing Oxford Wine Company

Floral Design and Silver Birch Trees Joanna Carter Flowers

Table Décor The Luxe Collection

Stationery Lou Paper

Furniture Hire Hire Love

Cocktails and Master Class Liquid Spirit

Singer Georgia Roe

Sax Robert Benson Saxophone

Yoga and Sounds Bowls Yogalina

Lighting Oakwood Events

Cake Display and Lavender Biscuits The Pretty Cake Company

Rustic Tables Chipping Norton Event Hire

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