In the picturesque Southern Highlands, nestled off the beaten track (but not too much) just an hour away from Sydney's CBD you'll find a charming bed and breakfast reminiscent of a Downton Abbey manor.
Built in 1836, Fitzroy Inn was a halfway house during the colonial era, and has been revamped and restored into the perfect place for an easy** destination wedding.
Fitzroy Inn had me at lavender-lined driveway. The beautifully maintained garden might as well be straight out of a Shirley Barber book, providing the perfect backdrop for any ceremony (your photographer will be stoked, and you'll save on decorating costs).There are canopied archways of greenery galore, wide expanses of lush grass, and flowers everywhere (you'd swear fairies live here); it’s no surprise maintenance of its grounds is Fitzroy Inn’s biggest overhead.
The Highlands is also becoming increasingly recognised for its wine, and it’d be sacrilege of anyone visiting the area not to sample some of the local vintage. And let me tell you, these grapes are seriously di-vine (sorry!). I visited one of the vineyards, Tertini, sampled the award-winning Riesling and Pinot Noir, and left a couple of bottles/hours later as a member of their wine club.
An additional plus for wine lovers is the original cellar on site at the Inn. It comes complete with an eight metre well and original convict holding cell.
The coolest thing about the cellar? Your wedding guests can enjoy canapés and a tipple down there amongst the fascinating history, while you’re off posing for the camera – everybody wins.
Did I mention the fabulous fare on offer at Fitzroy Inn? Executive Chef Yoshifumi Tanimoto’s unique seasonal menu pairs rustic charcuterie tasting boards and contemporary Australian cuisine, all matched with a selection of the region’s premier wines.
Even everyone’s favourite towering cravat enthusiast, Matt Preston, would agree the food on offer is disgustingly delicious, and, he’d be very glad to know, generously portioned.
Above ground, the Inn can accommodate the whole bridal party, plus some. There’s always room at the Inn. Even if you’re staying in separate (gorgeous) rooms, there’s a billiards room, smoking lounge, library, Tuscan-esque dining area, and a sprawling garden where you can all get together and relax. (Cluedo much?). It’s just like hiring out a huge house – you and your guests can take over.
Not only is the place homely, but the staff and owners (who are always around) are very personable and easy going, meaning styling, food, and everything extra for your big day is a breeze.
Overall, there are few places that can carry off this kind of traditional, almost mysterious charm, without a hint of pomposity. If The Notebook was a venue, this would definitely be it. I was so romanced by the place I'd vow to stay there forever, 'till death do I part. So before you book your wedding venue you need to visit Fitzroy Inn, just to be absolutely sure the place you had in mind is just as magical. And if it's not, then you'll book the Highlands’ most alluring destination on the spot.