General, HP, Surrey County Council

Downton Abbey courtroom becomes wedding venue

 

Downton Abbey fans can now get married in a Surrey courtroom used in nailbiting scenes of the global TV hit.

As fans wait for the period drama’s fifth series to begin this Sunday, couples can now tie the knot in the former Crown Court where the trial of valet Mr Bates was filmed in 2011 for season two.

Surrey County Council now has a licence to conduct weddings in the Victorian courtroom, which is inside the local authority’s Kingston-upon-Thames headquarters.

Wedding fees from hiring out the courtroom and other chambers in the 1893 building will be reinvested into frontline council services. Filming fees brought in over £145,000 extra last year alone to ease pressure on the council’s funding gaps in areas such as adult social care and school places.

TV shows shot at the courtroom and other parts of County Hall since 2006 include:

  • Poirot
  • EastEnders
  • The Bill
  • Holby City
  • Silk
  • Silent Witness
  • Foyle’s War
  • Midsomer Murders
  • Lewis
  • Endeavour
  • Call The Midwife
  • Birds of a Feather
  • New Tricks

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’s trial.

“But if a Downton-themed ceremony isn’t a particular couple’s cup of tea they could always pick one of the other hit shows we have hosted in County Hall. Maybe Lewis, Endeavour or Midsomer Murders for detective drama lovers, or even The Bill for any police officers walking down the aisle!”

To enquire about weddings and an open day on 2 November, contact the county council’s commercial team on 0208 541 9304 or email functions@surreycc.gov.uk

Feature image by photographer Richard Munckton

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