You could be excused for thinking you are abroad in summer at Tunnels Beaches, hidden, tucked away and secluded in a cliff overlooking the sea in North Devon anyone who has visited these historic bathing pools would not be surprised to hear it is now one of Britain’s most popular exclusive wedding venues. As the dream of a beach wedding in the Caribbean fades with all the logistical problems of getting your nearest and dearest halfway around the world, suddenly The North Devon link road doesn’t seem so much to conquer and the alluring charms of Ilfracombe call to put seal on another holiday romance.
I have had the pleasure of photographing at Tunnels Beaches (or as my florist wife & I call it Tunnels) many times in the past, so many in fact that I have encountered British seaside weather in all it’s vagaries. From stunningly hot October days to gale force winds & rain, sea fog, spring sunshine & even hail. Snow is the only weather I haven’t yet encountered there, but that is due to the winter closing of the venue, a wise decision considering it’s exposed position.
For a venue that hosts more weddings than I photograph (usually I photograph between 80-90 a year) the venue is always immaculate, spotless and like-new. From the time the late night party revelers from the wedding that day leave in the wee hours of the morning to the arrival of the next nervous Groom the North Devon elves must appear and clean and scrub with such vigor that no trace of any wedding ever happening before yours will be left. This goes for the staff also who are always bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, happy, attentive, polite and cheerful without being overbearing. Welcoming to the suppliers & guests alike to make sure that today’s couple have the most amazing wedding day and to treat them as if they are the only couple ever to get married at Tunnels Beaches.
I have witnessed the most stunning sunsets from the roof top, whilst guests join us drinks in hand music playing throughout the venue and out onto the patio area overlooking the sea where couples sit by a fire-pit snuggled under blankets reminiscing about their own special day or planning one to come.
From a couples perspective Tunnels has everything you need for a relaxing beach wedding day, from the gasp as your guests exit the Victorian hand carved tunnels into the sea/beach vista before them to the awe-inspiring Atlantic sunsets (well it’s The Bristol Channel really but watching the sun set behind the Island of Lundy, who cares?!).
For a photographer it is a dream venue, no wonder every wedding photographer in the UK wants to book a wedding here! Tide in or tide out the scene changes and the sea covers or revels the tidal pools, those reflections, that light and all in such a relaxed manner you have to pinch yourself to remember you are working. I hope you enjoy these few photos from Tunnels Beaches as much as I enjoyed capturing them and with another year of weddings ahead I cannot wait to return. More photos at Evolve Photography