Marbled Thoughts

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Estate of ecstasy

Wilderness is a 5,000-acre private estate home to luxury manors, country houses, farmhouses and cottages, all available for private hire. From a glorious weekend away to a stunning celebration location, Wilderness Event Sales Director Shella Palmer gives us the lowdown on what to expect.

What sort of accommodation does the Wilderness Reserve provide and what makes it special?
Our concept is simple: beautiful houses on a private estate that can be hired for long or short breaks, close to the heritage coastline and with each stay tailored to guest requirements. We offer exceptional high-end design and service without the fuss of a hotel – there isn’t a central lobby, bar or restaurant but guests have their own home for the weekend and we can bring in chefs, service, activities and housekeeping as required. The estate is sustainably heated and on arrival there is a pot of tea and a homemade cake laid out to help guests to settle in. We also offer complimentary activities such as use of the tennis courts with rackets and balls provided, swimming pool, rowing boats, paddleboards, croquet, yoga mats and bicycles.

Why do clients choose Wilderness?
They want the privacy and exclusivity of a house where they can come together in beautiful kitchens or plush living rooms, without having to interact with anyone else. They love the parkland views and the fact that Wilderness embraces wild landscapes rather than a manicured interpretation of the countryside. It’s not unusual to see lambs in the spring or grazing sheep or cows and in winter there are often pheasants or partridge roaming.

What sorts of events do you host?
We only accept 10 weddings every year so most of our guests are celebrating smaller events. Weekends often involve birthday or anniversary celebrations where friends and family can come together and relax. Often there will be a low-key activity such as our Wilderness Bonfire experience or something more active such as axe throwing. We also host company events on the estate that tend to appeal to companies looking for something different or more informal than the traditional hotel or conference room environment.

What projects have you worked on with the Marble team?
We worked on an amazing wedding in the summer of 2018 with Marble Private. The team understood the aesthetic of the estate and captured some really beautiful spaces, making the most of the various locations. Their mix of contemporary styling with a rustic and country edge was perfect for the Wilderness ethos.

What’s the most memorable event you have ever held?
One winter 60th birthday celebration stands out. Guests took over Hex Cottage – an extremely romantic cottage with no electricity – and lit the whole event by candlelight. All the ground floor rooms in the main house (Sibton Park) had fires lit and there was acoustic live music playing throughout. Storm lanterns and flickering lights glowed everywhere and firepits, hot waterbottles and blankets were provided for those happy enough to brave the cold.

What trends do you anticipate in event venues?
Guests don’t want to just take over a space – they want it to feel like it’s theirs for the period that they are there and make themselves a cup of tea or coffee without having to ask a member of staff – but not to have to worry about clearing up. There is a much greater emphasis on being able to relax in your own space, while still trusting that there is a seamless level of service underpinning the experience.

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