THE North East’s most historic wedding venue is offering bridal couples the Keys to the Kingdom for the ultimate occasion.

Over the past 600 years, Lumley Castle, at County Durham, has welcomed kings and princes along with thousands of couples in search of a fairy tale wedding setting.

And now the four-star hotel is offering bridal parties the chance to live like royalty and hire the entire castle for two days of wedding celebrations with friends and family.

Along with 63 lavishly decorated bedrooms, the castle, overlooking the River Wear and set in nine acres of parkland, offers a choice of ornate State Rooms in which to hold the wedding service, drinks reception and wedding breakfast.

And couples opting for the Keys to the Kingdom package will also enjoy the services of Lumley Castle’s entire team of staff, from wedding organisers and chefs to housekeeping and even a seamstress to ensure no dropped hems or missing buttons spoil the big day.

On arrival up to 180 guests will be served a quintessentially English afternoon tea followed by a relaxed evening exploring the hotel and grounds with a barbecue or grazing table, depending on the weather.

An overnight stay in rooms within the castle itself or in its courtyard, followed by a full English breakfast will prepares guests for the wedding itself, which will start with a canapés and drinks reception, followed by a three-course wedding breakfast and Champagne toasts.

Along with the table stationery, linen and top table centrepiece, the hotel will provide a Master of Ceremonies in full Chamberlain dress and a wedding coordinator to ensure everything runs smoothly.

And the celebrations will continue late into the night with a disco, live music and a choice of hog roast, barbecue or bespoke menu, before the wedding couple retire to the King James Suite.

Renowned for its magnificent four poster bed, it was in this room that the monarch – James I of England and VI of Scotland – spent the night on his journey north from London.

“And in offering bridal couples exclusive use of the entire hotel for their wedding, we are giving them the chance to be king and queen of the castle,” said general manager, Gordon Cartwright.

“It really is the most exceptional way in which to celebrate with friends and family and to start married life.”

The Keys to The Kingdom includes two nights’ accommodation and all meals for a minimum of 120 guests and prices start at £325 per adult and £160 per child.

To book or for more information visit https://www.lumleycastle.com/