Venue of the Month: Matara
Located just outside Tetbury, Matara offers a relaxed setting for any special occasion, with a unique East-meets-West ambiance…
Whether hosting 25 guests or 200, Matara provides a unique location with an atmosphere of calm and relaxation at its heart. It is an intimate space for a celebration: happiness, cherishing others and finding true love are all inspired by the surroundings and East-meets-West style
Owner Geoffrey Higgins explains his vision for Matara, saying, “It was set up 21 years ago as a beautiful and relaxing place that people could respond to – where they could relax and just be themselves.” Having spent many years in Vancouver – which had, at that time, the world’s second largest Chinatown – Geoffrey had become interested in Eastern wisdom. Matara is an expression of his values and beliefs, and the centre is run as a social enterprise with a
focus on wellbeing.
When people started asking whether their weddings could also be held at Matara, these requests were accommodated and the venue now hosts around 70 weddings per year.
It is indeed the perfect spot for anyone wanting a less commercial venue at which to hold their special occasion. Geoffrey, who is also a celebrant, says that the number of blessings held at Matara has increased over the last five years as couples look for a more meaningful expression of their commitment to one another. He says, “We have some wonderfully deep conversations with each other and I have met some extraordinary people.”
Outdoor wedding ceremonies can take place in the cloistered courtyard, which is inspired by Chinese architecture and surrounds an ornamental pool with koi carp. Alternatively, the Hilarium space holds around 200 guests for
larger functions. Converted carriage houses and stables are additional areas for quiet conversation and contemplation.
If you are planning a wedding, the emphasis is placed on you feeling free to create the event of your dreams. Support is provided by Matara’s friendly and helpful wedding coordinators, who work with the centre’s in-house chef to create each bespoke occasion. Al fresco or silver service dining, traditional hog roast or Indian buffet, vegan or dairy-free: the choice is yours.
At the heart of Matara lies Kingscote Park House, a Grade II listed Regency house which sleeps 16 in eight luxuriously furnished bedrooms. The house centres on an expansive farmhouse kitchen and informal dining area that opens onto a private courtyard. There are further rooms for entertaining or simply ’kicking back’, making the house the ideal place for family and friends to relax and reconnect before, during and after any special event. The house is also licensed for wedding ceremonies of up to 30 people.
The property’s original lodge has been beautifully converted into a secluded studio apartment, where bride and groom may choose to spend their first night together as husband and wife. Additionally, four Zen rooms – all with private bathrooms – in the converted stables close to the house each sleep two people.
The tranquil grounds at Matara offer endless photo opportunities throughout the seasons. There are woodland areas of oak, beech, apple trees, rowan and groves of magnolia, with an area dedicated to encouraging wildlife, bees and butterflies. 28 acres have been sculpted and nurtured for over 20 years to showcase nature’s harmony and balance: there are now 11 distinct gardens and three small lakes allowing guests to reconnect with nature. For every couple tying the knot at Matara, a rose or a tree is planted and dedicated to them.
Perfectly summing up Matara’s special appeal, Geoffrey says, “The number of people who return on their anniversary or with their families to share a picnic in the gardens shows what a heartfelt relationship they have formed with the place.”
Matara: 01453 861050 / GL8 8YA / matara.co.uk