Upper House are delighted to be part of the Manchester Plastic Free GM Pledge to eradicate single-use plastic straws and ultimately all single use plastics in the Greater Manchester hospitality industry.

By joining the movement, we are able to use these wonderful paper straws in the Upper House Hunstman’s Inn and cocktail bar. FSC certified and fully recyclable, the sale of each box of this strong and stylish straw will mean a donation to the Manchester Emergency Fund, set up to support those affected by the 2017 attack.

This straw is perfect for our Cocktails dedicated to Agatha Christie at Upper House. Agatha enjoyed many happy times at Upper House, which was the hunting lodge of her sister Madge and brother in law, James Watts. There are three books connected to Upper House – The Mystery of Hunter’s Lodge, Hercule Piorot’s Christmas, and the Adventure of the Christmas Pudding.

Our first homage is called Agatha Christies Bourbon Milk Punch, designed as the perfect nightcap after a long day of celebrating at Upper House!

Served in our iconic Bee glasses, this comforting concoction of bourbon, milk, clear honey, vanilla and nutmeg is designed to soothe. Agatha Christie didn’t drink, but she was partial to quaffing glasses of cream, sometimes mixed with milk! We hope this clever disguise gets her approval!

Our other reposer is dedicated to Miss Marple, whose name was taken from the nearby town of Marple that Agatha passed through on the train on her way to Upper House.

Miss Marple’s Afternoon Tea will inspire you to think through all the evidence! A convivial blend of Tea from The Manor with dark rum and fresh citrus juices. Choo! Choo!

The bee straw is available exclusively with Stephensons, a northwest catering supply business celebrating 150 years in business in Manchester this year. Managing director Henry Stephenson said “… we are absolutely honored to be able to assist the GMCA in their plans to make this fantastic city a more sustainable place for everyone.”

Pledgers like Upper House also have access to other eco-friendly items, and look forward to more, which began with the Mayor of Manchester Andy Burnham’s pledge at the 2018 GMCA’s Green Summit.


Phoebe and James take to the hills on their Wedding Day – credit Adam Lowndes

Blustery mountain skies are no stranger to this beautiful couple, Phoebe and James. This Peak District duo are heading for Everest Base Camp for their honeymoon, perhaps detouring via Africa and Argentina before the big one!

Upper House beneath Kinder Low End – credit Adam Lowndes

Mountains are part of their story, and this was a subtle and personal theme that ran through their wedding day.

“We actually found your place when hiking up Kinder and we could just see the roof peeking through the trees. It later popped up on my Facebook page and the moment I saw that you could get married there I was sold!

In New Zealand one of my favourite places was the Fox Glacier where we spent the day ice climbing and caving. Knowing that you can ice climb on Kinder Downfall made it feel even more special.”

Whilst climbing in New Zealand, they also experienced a Hobbit feast.

“Lord of the rings isn’t so much of a big thing for us but it is one our fave lazy Sunday films. We visited Hobbiton in New Zealand and had a banquet in the Green Dragon Pub with the fires lit and jolly music playing. The setting made us feel so happy and warm inside that I knew I wanted that style of meal at our wedding. I really wanted to share this experience with my friends and family back home.”

Parsnips and carrots amid the décor lent both a medieval and fantastical edge – credit Adam Lowndes

For their wedding, they devised tables laden with fruit and vegetables, platters and bowls, stunningly arranged by Samuel James Events, who totally got on board with their idea, serving sides of lamb, hunks of beef, whole chickens and an array of inspirational sides, all presented for guests to rip into and share around! A seasonal and taste sensation!

And all this from a bride who is herself a vegetarian! What a girl, she blew us away with her thoughtfulness for other people, a real staff favorite. We had to include this phone shot of her tearing up chickens on the top table!

Long drinks all round! – credit Adam Lowndes

Gin was also a part of their story! Individually twisted pre-dinner gins welcomed each guest to the table for the speeches.

Gin featured also as a stunning cake! Cakes made by Beeley Bakes took centre stage with a take on the regional favorite Bakewell tart cake accompanied by a gin and tonic confection and a delightful Baileys and chocolate!

The Jacobean window in The Great Hall displays the trio of cake – credit Adam Lowndes

The dance floor jumped to songs chosen by the couple and played by the wonderful DJ Ail B

Strutting all kinds of stuff beneath the amazing floral décor by Kirsty McCallion- credit Adam Lowndes

A riotous end to an amazing day of fun, love and laughter that will never forgotten, we were honored to host this amazing couple on this little mountain in their beloved Peak District.

Congratulations Mr and Mrs Mottershaw from all at Upper House – credit Adam Lowndes


This little company with the evocative title Cine Reportage could not be more aptly named. Reportage photography is a style often required by wedding clients looking for non-intrusive, naturally captured images of their wedding day.

This reportage, however, provides exceptionally evocative footage.

A quick peek at this beautiful show reel will demonstrate the unique qualities of images captured on real film. Using a 1970’s beast of a machine, untold metres of Super 8 and 16mm film reel are skillfully shot by film maker Will Cummock, edited to bristling perfection and set to sublime musical backgrounds.

The cinematic effects of using film bring a whole new layer of simple, joyous, immediate and engaging texture to what are in reality intensely produced films.

The demands for Wills skills take him frequently to the south of England and have taken him all over the world. His quiet demeanor and humble approach to his medium has made it easy to work in all languages and be part of some very special days with some wonderful clients.

However, this Cheshire lad is now home in the North, and building his business in the enigmatic landscapes of Yorkshire, Cumbria and Derbyshire.

As a boost for any clients interested in engaging Will for a spectacular wedding film at Upper House, he is offering all our clients a discount of £150 on any of his wedding filmography packages.

For further details, email, or call 07952 542425 for an initial chat about all things film.

We are simply swooning at the romantic possibilities of an Upper House event filmed on this historic format!


Interior View of Manchester Great Exhibition, 1857

James Watts, 1804 – 1878, was the Mayor of Manchester at the time of the largest Art exhibition ever held in the world. Prince Albert chose to stay with him at his stately home of Abney Hall in Cheadle when he visited Manchester to open the Art Treasures Exhibition in 1857, and was taken to shoot on James’ 6,000 acre Kinder Estate during his stay.

Abney Hall

Historic Photo Upper House

Queen Victoria awarded James Watts a knighthood in 1857, and the Watts’ Coat of Arms granted by the Crown at the same time truly reflects the status of this amazing Manchester man.

James Watts relaxing at his beloved Upper House

From their humble beginnings in a weaver’s cottage in Didsbury, this family rose to represent the industriousness of Manchester as founders of a great Wholesale Textile Empire. The City’s character and success was founded on the Cotton Industry, and the Worker Bee symbol was given to Manchester when it was granted City status in 1842, having risen over the centuries from provincial town to Britain’s third city.

Upper House Stain glass Window in The Great Hall, Watts’ Coat of Arms

Old Photograph of The Great Hall

This symbol was then given to this Mayor, and it features prominently in the stained glass of his hunting lodge, Upper House.

It is combined with a dotted Fleur de Lys relating to the Norman-French origin of the name Watts. The central wheatsheaf was granted to signify “plenty and commendable hospitality in the bearer”. Having hosted such an Exhibition with such great aplomb, this is indeed a well-earned symbol.

Manchester Bees

The 103 Manchester Bees adorned the city for 4 weeks and ends on Sunday 23rd September. You can buy tickets on this link for the final farewell, when they all come together for the Bee in The City Farewell Weekend from Friday 12th – Sunday 14th October 2018 at HSBC UK.


• The Art Treasures of Great Britain was an exhibition of fine art held in Manchester, England, from 5 May to 17 October 1857. It remains the largest art exhibition to be held in the UK, possibly in the world, with over 16,000 works on display.

• Season tickets were sold in advance for 2 guineas

• The exhibition attracted more than 1.3 million visitors – about four times the population of Manchester in 1857.

• Prominent visitors included the King of Belgium, the Queen of the Netherlands, Louis Napoleon, Benjamin Disraeli, William Ewart Gladstone, Lord Palmerston, the 2nd Duke of Wellington, Charles Dickens, Alfred Lord Tennyson, Florence Nightingale and many more.

• To entertain the visitors, Charles Hallé was asked to organise an orchestra to perform a daily concert, in addition to a daily organ recital. After the exhibition closed, he continued running the orchestra, which became the Hallé Orchestra.


•There are 101 bee sculptures

• At the end of the project the bees will be sold at an auction in October, with all of the funds being donated to The Lord Mayor’s We Love MCR Charity.

• Some of the schools involved have chosen to pay tribute to the 22 people who lost their lives in the Manchester Arena attack. They have grouped all of these Bees together in Manchester Cathedral so that people can view them in a quiet and peaceful place.


Capture emotion and create memories with an extra touch of elegance and luxury at your wedding, using the subtle art of scent styling with the truly wonderful Jane Helliwell, creator of Champagne and Flamingos.

Jane Helliwell

A true innovator in the wedding industry, Jane works with discerning clients to create bespoke fragrance experiences to truly enhance your guest’s wedding journey, from the moment the fragranced invitation arrives, to the scents of the day, to the table gifts they will treasure forever.

Handmade ceramic ties as favours, loaded with your wedding day fragrance will undoubtedly find a welcome place in anyone’s home! Or votives with beautifully engraved lids with your well chosen words!

Taking inspiration from the environment and setting, to the season, time of day, and even the food you are eating, your consultations with Jane take place over a minimum of four to six months, where you will meet at the venue and keep sampling the products. Any fears of overwhelm or overly feminine experiences will be swiftly put aside, and the results you resonate with will reflect you both as a couple.

Scent levels are orchestrated to suit the area and atmosphere using both electronic emitters and a variety of candles.

The invisible difference that will compliment your venue and theme, taking you from a happy morning to night time revels in perfect balance!

Imagine the possibilities of scent styling in the stunning spaces of Upper House. Memories created will be captured in essence forever, to always take you back to the place and the people you loved the most!

We are delighted to be working with this unique wedding stylist, and can’t wait to inhale the halcyon days at Upper House!


Champagne and Flamingos Website:

Champagne and Flamingos Instagram:

Champagne and Flamingos Facebook:

All Things Tipi

Fancy a Tipi wedding?

Photography by

Forget hiring a field or landscaping your grounds, applying for a temporary events licence, hiring interlinking tipis for all parts of your day and night, bar companies, event managers, toilets, catering tents, fridges, ice stores, generators, fuel, flooring, tables, chairs, tableware, glasses, outdoor furniture, equipment, staff, ceremony rooms, churches, transport, lighting, heaters, matting, walkways, dance floors, audio equipment, electricity technicians, water supply, parking facilities, nearby accommodation and great caterers…

For less than all this costs, you could thoroughly enjoy a tipi experience plus all the beautiful spaces of Upper House with our “Castle & Tipi” package.

At Upper House our Tipi is a beautiful and practical solution to having a larger dining space.

Photography by

Hidden just behind the castle walls, in the late afternoon, the big doors are opened to a completely different experience. Guests step from the historic Courtyard into a whole new space.

Photography by

For the next few hours, the wedding breakfast experience can take on a different style that is completely unique to each bride and groom.

The light is golden and oh-so-flattering, and the tones of the room beautifully enhance the floral decorations.

Photography by

A warm and welcoming space, with heater outlets placed every few metres around the perimeter walls, large comfortable chairs, surround sound, adjustable lighting and decked flooring, it effortlessly matches the quality of the Upper House wedding experience that characterises all aspects of an Upper House wedding day.

Photography by

Contemporary, elegant and honest, it’s a space where guests are delighted to spend time sharing your carefully selected wedding breakfast and hearing your speeches. A time that will be remembered for years to come!

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The atmosphere and comfort is simply incomparable to the usual tented experience. Guests then return to the amazing entertainment areas at Upper House for the evening – enjoying the original wayside Inn, the woodstore cocktail bar, central Courtyard and the magnificent Medieval Great Hall, transformed from a ceremony space into a laser lit dance floor.

Photography by

Which would you prefer?

Upper House Castle & Tipi Weddings: UHH-Castle-Tipi.pdf


Floristry – The Flower Lounge Didsbury –

Photography –

Tipi Video by –

Magician – Sam Fitton –

Accent Tableware at Upper House

A seemingly small detail such as a coloured glass can magically lift a table dressing to new heights.

Photography by: Jonboy Wilson Photography –

It’s detail that’s noticed by each and every wedding guest. Sitting in front of a thoughtfully styled place setting can be a feast for the senses. A tactile experience of different textures, light and colour can bring the dining experience to life. Unusual cutlery, beautiful glassware, a dash of colour, is inviting and exciting and a promise of things to come.

Photography by: Jonboy Wilson Photography –

The shimmer of a pearlised plate charger that delicately echoes the pastel shades of the flowers, or the stylish statement of a taupe table napkin beneath a crisp white menu card and a sprig of greenery, the tactile joy of a gorgeous green water glass amongst the classic wine glasses, or a pop of cerise that pulls the whole room together – you really can’t go wrong with a touch of accent table ware.

Photography by: Jonboy Wilson Photography –

Upper House uses Manchester based companies Whitehouse Crockery and The Table Linen Company to provide the signature pieces for creatively styled tables. Both companies are leaders in the hospitality industry nationally, and their constantly innovative ranges are showcased and can be selected at the headquarters of our recommended caterers.

Photography by: Jonboy Wilson Photography –

Simon Bailey, chef and co-owner of Vanilla in Allseasons, and all-round foodie, paired a variety of Whitehouse Crockery with his signature dishes served at his own wedding at Upper House. It can also be worth thinking of how to best present your favourite dishes at their finest.

Photography by: Rosie Hardy –

Our contemporary Tipi Dining Hall is a perfect complimentary backdrop for a rainbow of colour choices – a great neutral swathe, with taupe buffalo leather dining chairs, coupled with unlimited candle light and lighting options really allows the décor to take centre stage.

Show some style with delightful accent tableware in the Upper House Tipi Dining Hall!

Photography by: Jonboy Wilson Photography –


Floristry – Flowers By Breige –
Photography – Jonboy Wilson –
Photography – Rosie Hardy –
Glassware and Tableware – White House Event Crockery –
Linen Hire – Event Crockery Hire –
Catering – Vanilla In All Seasons –

Wedding Presents

We are British! We have such a complex relationship with Wedding Presents!! Oh Why oh Why! Nothing seems right, every option gets criticised, there’s no code of honour here! There’s no code at all!

Currency? Hard Cash? Experiences? Holidays? Gift Lists? Vouchers? The gift of your esteemed company? Guilt? Shame? Dishonour on the family? What is the protocol?

‘Dawn Holmes Artist – 07411 441676’  

So, why not bypass all the Wedding Present storms and head straight to the restful shores of some amazing local artists. If Kinder Scout appeals to the Bride and Groom, then you can rest assured that a local landscape may delight them.

‘Dawn Holmes Artist – 07411 441676’  

Dawn Holmes lives in Hayfield and has made this stunning landscape, its local characters (both four and two legged), its occupations and budding local students her life’s work for the last 30 years.

 ‘Dawn Holmes Artist – 07411 441676’  

Breath taking skies, glorious heather, incredible light and vast moorland landscapes – what’s not to love? You can commission a treasured view, have a series of vistas captured on canvas, or purchase a framed print from her limited editions.

‘Dawn Holmes Artist – 07411 441676’  

We love working with Dawn, and she often hosts ‘en-plein air’ workshops here at Upper House. You can contact her directly on 07411 441676or on here Facebook Page or see her work at the local galleries New Mills Art and during the High Peak Arts Festival, where works are displayed in all sorts of venues.

‘Dawn Holmes Artist – 07411 441676’

Perfect Day? Perfect Weekend!

“Its such a perfect day

I’m glad I spent it with you..”

Helen Howard Photography –

What better words than those of Lou Reed to sum up how the best day of your life should feel.

This romantic song was written during a halcyon phase of Lou’s life, according to Bettye Kroonstad his first wife, as the song was written after a day spent together in Central Park while they were engaged in 1973.

It’s a bittersweet testimony to love, but there’s no denying the wonder it evokes, and how it captures the sheer appreciation of those life moments that we are suddenly able to apprehend with a sense of peace.

So what better words to express the joy of the perfect weekend, too. To have a weekend that feels a world away from the ordinary, and to share it with those you love, is truly a magical way to enjoy your wedding celebrations.

James Tracey Photography –

“Just a perfect day

Problems all left alone

Weekenders on our own

It’s such fun..”

Lissa Alexandra Photography –

Johnboy Wilson –

The world drifts away from the moment the gate closes behind you as you enter the woods at Upper House. The whole weekend returns all who spend time in this place to a sense of magic – it is a word used time and time again in the reviews of those who come to stay here.

James Tracey Photography –

Its hard to express, hard to define, but you know that a feeling finds expression here…that the world is a stage, that we are just players upon it, and sometimes, just sometimes, there’s nothing else you can do but just appreciate the glory of existence, without even needing to deny problems, longings and the mysteries of karmic forces.

“You’re going to reap just what you sow”

When it comes to an anthem for marriage, let’s hope so!

Abby and Andrew’s Pre-Wedding Stay Over at Upper House

When hiring a whole house for your wedding weekend, what better preparation can there be for the event than a private pre-wedding stay-over?

Abby and Andrew took full advantage of the opportunity and met their wonderful wedding photographers Grey Weddings to do an engagement shoot.

Gray Weddings –

An engagement shoot means more time to be more adventurous than on the wedding day – stepping out into the landscape without worrying about the dress!

Gray Weddings –

An early Spring landscape gave Abby and Andrew a totally different feel to their midsummer wedding day, really maximising the potential of capturing themselves amidst this stunning scenery.

Gray Weddings –

Staying over before the big day is great fun, having the house to yourselves, and having time to wander all the rooms and decide who will sleep where. Opening all the cupboards in all the five kitchens to find out where the mugs and champagne glasses are, surely makes them the perfect hosts!

Gray Weddings –

Whether you stay over or not, engagement shoots are part of your package here at Upper House. They give both you and your photographers the best opportunity to really get to know the spaces, and give you some perfect, natural shots of you both to treasure forever.

SLP Photography –

How Exclusive is “Exclusive Use?”

The term “Exclusive Use” is one that is frequently used by many types of wedding venues, from hotels to farms to village halls. It can be confusing to know exactly what the term means to each venue. For a couple embarking on their first search for their dream place to get married, the definition may not be exactly as they might expect.

Many places offer “Exclusive Use” as standard, and some offer it as an additional extra, at additional cost. A hotel, for example, may charge extra for “Exclusive Hire” of certain areas, certain rooms or certain bars for a wedding day, and depending on the geography of the place, this may seem easy to understand, that there would be rooms or spas or restaurants running as usual in other parts of the building.

“Exclusive Use” should mean that only your guests can use the whole place for your wedding day.

With weddings running on consecutive days, however, what venues may not promote is the arrival of the next day’s guests, meaning that during the afternoon reception of one event, people dragging suitcases will be arriving for the next day. They will inevitably be curious to see what is in store for them the following day! This does not feel very “Exclusive”, so the terms of the agreement need to be looked at very carefully!

There is also the question of who can visit during the ‘Exclusive Use’ hire period. Many venues allow viewings during the morning of a wedding. The result may be that a prospective client gets a nice view of the venue dressed for an event, but it certainly does not feel that the focus of the staff is on the actual bride and groom for the day!

It is often only the bride and groom that understand the arrangements for their wedding day. For their wedding guests arriving to a place, it is crucial that they understand the arrangements too, with present, approachable and well-briefed staff, adequate signage and proper instructions, or their first impressions will never be that the place has been specially hired for your wedding, and this impression can last a lifetime. They should feel like they are expected solely as a wedding guest and not a gym member, and this impression needs to start in the car park!

Otherwise, what is the point of Exclusive Use?

Key Questions to ask a venue about “Exclusive Use” or “Exclusive Hire” should be:

· Exactly who is allowed on site during the complete hire period?

· Where and when do other users enter the building during the hire period?

· Who meets and greets my guests? Where are they met? (At reception is not the answer!)

· What signage is provided or what can I provide?

· What is the procedure if my event does not turn out to be Exclusive Use as I expected?

The Fantasy Venue

When Sky TV called to see if we wouldn’t mind being the fantasy venue for one of the brides on Don’t Tell The Bride (now with E4) we were truly delighted. We were told the lady in question had selected Upper House as her ideal venue because she is keen on walking and the great outdoors.

“We still get goosebumps going up the drive” : Nicola Hudson

And what better place for an outdoorsy girl to be than Kinder Scout in the Peak District National Park? The area has provided our family, our dogs, horses, motorbikes, boats and guns with the most amazing times over the decades. A love and passion for the wildlife, habitats and landscape is at the heart of the Upper House initiatives, with ongoing conservation projects for the forest and marine life being the main priority.

The old faithful rowing boat gets a makeover on the River Kinder

That such a great position is also the setting for such a great house is a pièce de résistance!. And that such a great house is home to one of the most detailed and well preserved Medieval feats of architecture in the UK is the icing on the cake! And it is a joy to share this amazing family home.

Fantasy venue indeed! Our brave bride-to-be sees the Great Hall for the first time

From our fantasy home to your fantasy venue, Upper House provides treasured times for all those lucky enough to share this special place for a day, a night, a weekend or a lifetime.

At Home in Your Fantasy Venue – Upper House Estate

• Upper House hosts only 12 special events a year. Cherish your Wedding Experience as much as we do.

Small Big Days

Every married person has considered the size of his or her wedding, even if it only included one witness. It is a consideration we all share from the day of the proposal until the Big Day itself.

My friends Tom and Francesca’s story of grabbing the ice-cream man from his van to witness their nuptials (and then take their photographs!), will always rate as one of the most romantic tales I know, and it is a rare one in the UK, where LA style spontaneity is not a possibility!

A Big Day in its truest sense is all about that huge declaration, that deepest commitment of one soul to another and we can all understand it is not about the size of the guest list.

So what does matter about size? You may have always expected that the Big Day would mean sharing it with the most people you’ve ever gathered together in your life so far. But there comes a time when you really have to think about what those folk are going to truly share with you on your day.

In a world where sharing is king, be very mindful of the everlasting impression your Big Day will have for those you feel are important enough to be there. Sharing the love means that they should love it too, and your wedding should forever deepen and brighten the relationships you have with those around you.

As you think through all the timings and all the elements of your Big Day, always begin with the two of you. Then be realistic about what you can provide for the comfort of those joining you at those times. If the balance becomes too much of a compromise, then it is time to embrace the Small Big Day.

If a small wedding means that you can have luxury and privacy, as opposed to mediocre and non-exclusive; you can have quantity and quality as opposed to not enough and badly done, then you will soon wonder why you ever considered the big guest list.

As a venue owner of a venue that specialises in the ultimate intimate wedding experience, it is always interesting to hear clients describe what they don’t want, and this can often have a lot to do with their experience as guest. I feel truly blessed to work with such thoughtful people. At Upper House you can be assured that all will delight in truly sharing this amazing space that is completely yours for the day, on premium dates, at any time of year. An abundance of friendly and helpful staff, a package that caters for you from the moment you arrive, and the amazing five course Wedding Breakfast, means that nothing about your Big Day could ever be considered small at Upper House.