Five Minutes With… The Team at Eshott Hall
“There’s never a dull moment in the hospitality sector, particularly when you host weddings!”
And Margaret Livingstone-Evans, General Manager at Eshott Hall, should know. With a wealth of experience that has seen misplaced fancy dress chickens and AWOL drummers, magical woodland ceremonies and everything else in between, there’s not much that can faze her and the team at Eshott Hall.
“For the bride and groom their wedding day is the culmination of months, if not years, of planning. The same is true for us. It’s a huge privilege to play such an important role in a couple’s big day and we want it to be remembered for all the right reasons. Each and every member of our team is involved: from the carefully tended gardens and the extra little touches in the bridal suite to the finely executed wedding breakfasts and the meticulous co-ordination of the day. Everyone mucks in and sometimes, quite literally, get their hands dirty!”
Each wedding is unique, but for the team some are even more memorable for the strange last-minute requests or the narrowly averted hiccups they posed! Here’s a glimpse into what makes Eshott Hall so special for us: our favourite corners, our oddest wedding tales and our most memorable moments….so far!
Margaret, General Manager
Favourite season? Spring going into Summer with the wonderful drive to work, arriving at the Hall nestling in the Northumbrian countryside with the dappled sunshine shining on the Hall through the trees.
Favourite view or hidden spot? The secluded woodland opening out onto the countryside with the sea in the distance.
Did you know? The Hall used to belong to the ‘Bainbridge’ family who owned the largest department store in Newcastle which is now John Lewis.
Favourite bedroom? It has to be the Bainbridge because that is the bedroom I stayed in when I first visited Eshott Hall for a special birthday
Last minute wedding panics? I had to find a drum kit for an evening band at a wedding as the drummer had gone AWOL with the kit. I’m quite proud to say that I found a kit within the hour!
Riskiest request at a wedding? It wasn’t intended to be risky but during a wedding when I worked and lived in Cheshire, a guest asked me to help him get dressed up as a chicken. This was because he had previously been invited to a fancy-dress party by the couple and went as a chicken only to find out when he arrived that he had been stitched up because it was in fact a black-tie party! To get them back he wanted to dress as a chicken at their wedding. All went well, he came in during the speeches and everyone laughed and got the joke. He then sat behind the top table but did not realise the window was open, I saw him lean backwards then all I saw was the chicken feet in the air and he was disappearing in front of my eyes. He grabbed onto the curtains which in turn pulled down the curtain rail and only just missed the newlyweds! Thankfully he bounced back up again in through the window. The moral of this story: be careful who you help to dress up as a chicken!
Hannah, Senior Wedding Coordinator
Favourite season? It’s got to be Spring when the wisteria is out on the front of the Hall and looks absolutely stunning. Our couples marrying in April usually expect rain but can end up having the best days of the year. I love the unexpected sunny days.
Favourite view? We have some hidden steps in the Fernery, which I love looking down into, this makes a magical wedding picture for our brides and grooms. Also in the meadow behind the Hall, and by the lake in the woodland when all the bluebells are out.
Did you know? We have a hidden lake and we are the only venue locally with a fixed woodland ceremony.
Favourite bedroom? Room 6 ‘Tedsmore’ which has a hunting theme with cow hyde chairs, furs and antlers. It’s a very cosy room with a comfy four poster bed and a fantastic view of the red squirrel tree.
Strangest request from a wedding couple? We had an Asian themed wedding where an elephant was requested! We weren’t able to fulfil this one sadly so instead they brought in a pure white stallion in full Indian head dress complete with an Indian drummer. We also had a circus wedding here at Eshott which had ‘Shuggy boats’ on the lawn, fire breathers on stilts etc. It was phenomenal.
Any last-minute panics or quirky requests? I once had to un-tie and re-tie the wedding party’s corsages ten minutes before their ceremony because they had been delivered by the florist in the wrong colour. At another wedding I had to light almost 1000 candles and bring in in 150 giant helium balloons; I almost floated away. They looked incredible.
Stephanie, Front of House Receptionist
Favourite season? Winter. I love the smell of the log fires, and at Christmas time our beautiful decorations and candles light up the Hall.
Favourite view? For me, it’s the East lawn when the sun is setting. There are beautiful views across the tops of the trees.
Did you know? Eshott Hall is home to a thriving population of native red squirrels. We work with Northumberland Wildlife Trust, the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers and The Red Squirrel Protection Partnership to protect them by installing wildlife feeding stations, nesting boxes and wildlife corridors.
Favourite bedroom? I love ‘Fern’ in Eshott Grange which has beautiful views of the grounds.
Mark, Head Chef
Favourite season? Late spring, early summer for me. There’s lots in the garden that is ready to eat and it’s now that I start to write the summer a la carte menus around the fantastic produce grown in our walled gardens.
Favourite view? It has to be from the kitchen window, as it looks over the whole garden. It’s especially beautiful at sunrise.
Did you know? All the walls in the garden have small wood burning fire places built into them so they can be heated up at any time.
Favourite bedroom? The Italian; I like the roll top bath feature in the centre of the room. I also love watching the red squirrels on the lawn from the window.
Last minute wedding panics? As a chef we’re usually spared these things unless it’s kitchen-related. However there was one time when all of the chefs had to run out and help a bride who was stranded in her vintage wedding car which would not start. We all had to push the car so they could get it started. It was very hard work!
Shaun, Head Gardener and Maintenance
Favourite season? Summer. Everything is at its best and the gardens are in full bloom. It’s definitely worth the months of hard work to see Eshott in the Summer!
Most memorable request? Pulling a guest out of the garden tip! He was in a Porsche at the time and had driven straight into the woods. Luckily, he was unscathed and the car just needed a good wash!
Favourite view? The stile which is used as a viewing point; it’s tucked away in the woods, you can see for miles across the countryside. It’s a perfect location for a picnic.
Favourite Bedroom? Versailles because of the view from the bedroom as well as the décor of the room. Elegant and timeless.
Did you know? Eshott Hall is in the ‘Doomsday Book’.
Biggest risk? Catherine Cookson’s ‘The Moth’ was filmed at Eshott Hall. Not a lot of people know that. The location manager for the filming was none other than Simon King one of our own ‘Hairy Bikers’. I had to open up all of the chimneys and fireplaces which was a difficult job and then the Hall was set on fire at the front of the building for one of the final scenes in ‘The Moth’.
To find out more about Eshott Hall please call 01670 787454, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or view our Weddings packages