Merley House in Dorset Function Venue for Weddings, Business & Private Events

Built in 1756, Merley House is a beautiful building of architectural and historical importance and lends itself as your ideal wedding venue, business function or private event venue.

the front of a large, Georgian manor house situated behind a driveway and grass lawn

Merley House, Georgian Manor House

Merley House is a three story manor that has maintained its structure for nearly three centuries. Conveniently located just one mile south of Wimborne Minster, and within easy reach of Dorset and Hampshire, it is a highly recommended venue for any kind of occasion, whether large or small, for business and for pleasure.

The north side of the building is made from gorgeous Portland stone and supports three balconies and four features pillars that hold up entablature. At the north east side of the building is a walled garden and an Orangery, which once was the home of various exotic birds. Inside there are five state rooms to choose from, a spacious classical entrance and magnificent staircase.

With dedicated event planners, Merley House is the perfect setting for a wedding reception, civil ceremony, conference, corporate event or private party, offering elegance, refinement and seclusion for your special occasion.

 A collage displaying various old black and white photographs of Merley House

The History of Merley House


Merley (originally spelt Myrle) was an ancient manor belonging to the Lords of Canford. In 1751, Ralph Willett purchased the estate and is responsible for the building of the larger and much grander house we see today.

Willett’s great enthusiasm for architecture led to the design of the three storey building, rendered on the north side in Portland stone, featuring three balconies and four ionic pilasters supporting the entablature. In 1772 two wings were added one of which contained the new library as Willetts vast collection had outgrown the existing library in the house. Unfortunately these two wings were demolished in the early 1800s following an auction of the books and paintings they housed by the then owner, John Willett.

A walled garden was built to the North East of the house with an Orangery on the south side. This has survived to this day and used to be known as the Merley Bird Gardens, home to many exotic bird species. It is now the Orangery Suite; a unique venue for conferences and events which can be hired in conjunction with Merley House.

In 1875 the whole estate was sold by auction but there is little information as to whom it was sold until it was bought by Ivor Guest, 1st Lord of Wimborne. In 1927, the MP for South Dorset, Angus Valdemar Hambro purchased the estate in a dilapidated condition, spending two years renovating it.

In 1939 the out break of war meant that the house was requisitioned by the War office. When they left in 1946 the house was again sold at auction. Now down to just 270 acres it was sold in 14 lots and the house was converted into flats.

During the 1960s a holiday park was started, by the present owners, to help finance the restoration of the house. The ground floor was opened to the public and contained a collection of model cars, lorries, airplanes, ships and train sets. Most recently the downstairs was restored again to create spacious and elegant areas for different events and the upstairs for office space where views of Wimborne can be enjoyed.

The Rooms at Merley House

A large, elegant room set up for a wedding with multiple tables and chairs decorated with flowers and chair covers

The Old Library

With a southerly outlook, this is the largest of the rooms for hire. It is decorated in green and features plasterwork clouds and sunbursts within an arabesque and garlanded border.

a room featuring multiple elaborately decorated tables laid out with flowers and silverware.

The Drawing Room

Decorated predominantly in green with white cornicing and detailed in gold, The Drawing Room features an impressive chimney piece in white and green marble. The ceiling has a large central oval depicting ‘The Judgement of Paris’.

A room set up with round tables and chairs, there is a large projector screen situated in the corner of the room

The Dining Parlour

Situated in the north-west corner of the building, The Dining Parlour is decorated in blue tones. It features an impressive fireplace and a captivating ceiling that incorporates a depiction of Bacchus receiving a cup of wine from Ceres.

the bridal suite laid out with comfortable chairs in front of a fireplace

The Old Nursery

Located on the first floor of Merley House (stair only access) this room features three full-length windows, providing panoramic views of the nearby town of Wimborne Minster.  It is perfect for the Bridal party, a creche or the safe storage of personal items.

The Grand Entrance Hall, decorated with an ornate plasterwork ceiling, a large fireplace and a chandelier

The Grand Entrance Hall

Merley House boasts a classical entrance hall that provides a great first impression for your guests. The hall features a grand fireplace and a beautiful plasterwork ceiling. This area leads to The Old Library and to our magnificent staircase which is a perfect setting for photographs.

A room with a large bar and a grand piano in one corner

The Morning Room

Accessed by double doors from The Old Library this room houses a fully-stocked bar and an impressive Berstein grand piano. French doors lead to the south east corner of the house and a delightful enclosed patio for you and your guests to enjoy.

Animal Friendly Venue

From weddings to christenings to birthday parties, these events are shared with family and friends.
Pets are a huge part of family life so why shouldn’t they be part of events that celebrate major life events as well?
This doesn’t just apply to dogs, we are able to accommodate for most animals. If you’re unsure about your pet or have any questions, please give us a call on 01202 885024.

South West Regional Assessment Centre

Merley House is also home to a busy training organisation – South West Regional Assessment Centre. Should you be interested in commercial training such as Health and Safety, Environmental Legislation, Driver CPC or Driver Awareness, Continuing Competence, a range of Apprenticeships and employability please visit the website.
Visit SWRAC Website