The Ragley Estate in Warwickshire offers an exclusive and varied venue rich in heritage, historic landscapes and breathtaking architecture
The panamas may have been put away and the trade stands dismantled after a wonderfully successful Game Fair, but that doesn’t mean life winds down on the Ragley Estate in Warwickshire. Far from it. The ancestral seat of the Marquess of Hertford is a hive of activity year-round, hosting a staggering breadth of events from large-scale park gatherings to corporate activity days and private parties as well as being a sought-after location for photoshoots, film work and weddings.
With the Estate’s 5,500 rolling acres, Capability Brown parkland and the cornucopia of stunning architectural features found in the grounds and the Hall, it is little wonder that this exclusive private venue is a magnet for those behind a huge range of creative projects. From high profile events in the park, including concerts, festivals, automotive and countryside experiences, and the most intimate and exclusive weddings, through to private hire for corporate and charity functions, fashion shoots, advertising campaigns and the filming of movies and television series, it all happens on the Ragley Estate.
Every celebration at Ragley is bespoke
Ragley is proud to be a place where everyone is a very special guest, in fact it is an exclusive venue that can be made to feel your very own, hosting weddings and festivities of all sizes and themes. No one event is ever the same, as the friendly and flexible team works tirelessly to ensure every celebration is a bespoke experience. Further, for all the breathtaking grandeur of the Georgian house, the Hall offers something very special as it is also a family home to the Hertfords and so exudes an extraordinary warmth.
Offering this level of privacy means that Ragley is not open as a public attraction. But this doesn’t mean the gates are closed: each year over 200,000 visitors are able to experience this distinctive atmosphere and breathtaking surroundings attending events such as The Game Fair, Camper Calling, Classic Ibiza and Adventure Bike Rider. As a concert venue, the Estate has seen many household names take to the stage, plus regular events which have become part of Ragley’s annual calendar, drawing visitors back year after year.
A historic location in demand
The state rooms of the Hall, which was designed in the 17th century, are a blank canvas that can be dressed to maximise their historic and aesthetic lavishness or to create pretty much any themed event. In the past, the Great Hall ballroom – with its spectacular 40ft windows – has doubled for the Palace of Versailles and has witnessed actor David Tennant jump through a mirror on horseback.
But Ragley’s allure is so much more than glamorous film sets, A-list celebrities and large-scale events. It is available for the most intimate private dinners and launches to thrilling off-roading experiences, top-class country sports, equestrian activities, and so much more. It isn’t just visitors that are enriched by their time there but also the community around the Estate. As well as providing employment and housing, it involves local schools, residents and businesses in its daily life.
An estate intertwined with the countryside
Traditional country pursuits are part of Ragley’s DNA. It has the longest-running syndicated shoot in England and Lord Hertford’s ancestors were closely involved with the introduction of the red-legged partridge to the UK during the 1770s. It is also a popular venue for gundog training, supports beekeeping and a wide range of environmental projects such as moth surveys, habitat preservation and creation, and careful woodland management.
And while Ragley may be steeped in history and rural heritage, it also champions innovation in its farming and food-production methods. It is a LEAF-marque certified farm and is committed to nurturing natural habitats and the environment for future generations – from the historic trees populating the Estate’s ancient woodlands to the deer that roam the parkland.
Brands familiar to many, such as Warburtons bread and Jordans cereals, use mainstream crops grown at Ragley, while the estate also produces more niche products. These include echium, which is used in the cosmetics industry, linseed, poppies and Wildfarmed wheat, which is grown completely organically. Involving no pesticides, using diverse cropping, bi-cropping and multi-species cropping, it improves soil health and brings biodiversity back into the fields.
A ‘field-to-fork’ philosophy guides the approach to deer and game management, and lamb production. Ragley Estate Butchers are based at Hillers Farm Shop, and its highly knowledgeable butchery staff are on hand with advice, offering a range of produce from the estate and from trusted local suppliers. Ragley provides the lamb and game from the farm and across the estate, including partridge, pheasant and venison, while the butchers are also famous for their award-winning sausages.
Experience the Ragley Estate for yourself
It is now possible to experience Ragley not simply as a day visitor but to stay in one of the holiday homes on the estate – ideal for those hosting an event at Ragley or attending one of the many festivals, or simply as the perfect base from which to explore the attractions of Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire and further afield. Choose from the unique and historic gatehouse that sleeps two, the Hunting Lodge (sleeps 16) with its raft of beams and flagstone floors or Ridgeway Farmhouse, which enjoys glorious views across the estate towards the Hall.
To find out more about the extraordinary variety of experiences Ragley has to offer, see www.ragley.co.uk where you can also sign up to receive their newsletter, or follow on Instagram (@ragleyestate and @ragleyhall) and Facebook (@ragleyestate).