Find out what’s happening to the historic Coach House at ‘Downton Abbey-style’ mansion in Wales
The owners of a Downton Abbey-style mansion in Wales have invested £300,000 to open a new wedding and events venue on the 10-acre estate.
They have converted the historic Grade II* listed coach house and stables at Soughton Hall, in Sychdyn, near Mold, in a move that will create a 10 new jobs.
The hall itself was first built in 1720 but it was redesigned a century later by Sir Charles Barry who went on to be the architect of the current House of Commons and Highclere Castle, the iconic location of the hit TV series and films.
The country house was crowned as the best wedding venue in Wales in 2019 and owners Elle R Leisure are hoping the Coach House will have a similar impact.
The refurbishment has been a labour of love according to managing director James Ramsbottom who also runs a five other wedding and event venues in the North West and a string of award-winning restaurants in Manchester.
According to Ramsbottom, they also want the coach house to become a hub for the local community.
It is available to hire for weddings as well as family celebrations, parties and business events while pre-booked Sunday lunches will be on the menu soon.
With the makeover now complete, it is now available to be booked for weddings and several other events have already been organised, including a wedding showcase on Sunday, November 28, and a corporate open evening on Tuesday, November 30.
Meanwhile, two Christmas party nights on December 11 and 17 and a festive Sunday lunch on December 5 are proving popular.
Elle R Leisure took over Soughton Hall in 2016 after it had been run a boutique hotel for the previous 20 years.
Ramsbottom said: “I’ll never forget the first time I saw Soughton Hall. I turned into the drive and was greeted by the breath-taking sight of the beautiful avenue of lime trees leading to the magnificent hall itself. I feel the magic of Soughton every time I come here.
“The Coach House was an amazing piece of bricks and mortar that was sat here doing nothing, having been operated as a restaurant by the previous owners.
“When we first took over, we wanted to focus our attentions on the hall, carry out extensive refurbishment work and get it working well as a brilliant wedding venue.
“The Coach House is now available and we have already started accepting bookings. It’s going to work well alongside the hall because it offers something different but equally special in its own way.”
“It was a waste to have a Grade II* listed building without a real purpose but now we have put that right.
“We have breathed new life into the Coach House whilst at the same time retaining many of the original features because a lovely building like this deserves to be loved and deserves to be used.
He added: “As coach houses go, it was incredibly posh in its day and now makes for a smaller, intimate venue which appeals to a different audience to the hall. It still feels very exclusive but it will appeal to slightly different segment of the market.
“The structure of building was fine but it did need a lot of TLC and we employed specialist, time-served craftspeople to carry out the work.
“The floor is original and all the timbers are original and we have repurposed the partitions from the original stalls.
“We are very much a community-based venue and we want to contribute as much as we can to the local economy, so wherever possible we use fresh local produce in the meals we serve. That’s been our policy ever since we took over Soughton Hall.
“Although all the menus from the hall will be available, the typical fare served at the Coach House will be high-end classics with a cool twist.
“We’re also looking to reinstate traditional Sunday lunches that can be booked beforehand.”
Head of sales Lauren Youldon added: “We’re very proud of the success of the hall and the Coach House now makes a fantastic alternative venue with a slightly different vibe, full of character and a wonderful rustic charm.
“The Coach House is able to host a range of weddings and events from intimate baby showers, to seated meals for up to 80 guests and evening receptions or parties for up to 200 people.
“We can’t wait for people to come and see what we’ve done with such a beautiful building.”