York Museum Gardens for wedding portraits
York Museum Gardens is a fantastic location for portraits of any kind (family photos, engagement photos), but because of it’s location and year-round beauty… it is especially perfect for wedding photos!
Being only 3 minutes from York Registry Office, York Museum Gardens is an ideal choice when it comes to choosing somewhere nearby for wedding photos. I often meet couples at the Gardens before their ceremony to make sure there we are all gathered in plenty of time before the ceremony – York traffic can sometimes be unpredictable, so having a pre-ceremony plan just 3 minutes walk away is a good idea!
The Hospitium, one of York’s finest wedding venues, is located inside Museum Gardens – which is such a bonus when it comes to wedding photos! Wedding guests have access to the gardens after closing time, so there are plenty of opportunities for lovely evening portraits without members of the public in the background.
Although Museum Gardens is very popular with tourists and locals alike, and can feel pretty busy at times (especially hot summer days) the clever planting and many different routes around can create a feel of seclusion, so your mid summer wedding photos doesn’t need to have hundreds of picnickers in the background!
St Mary’s Abbey (inside Museum Gardens)
St Mary’s Abbey is one of the most famous features of Museum Gardens. The ruins are spectacular and make a wonderful backdrop for portraits. It can also be a really nice way for you and your wedding guests to do a bit of York sightseeing! The Abbey was built in 1088 – it sat opposite and mirrored the Minster for 350 years.
The Marygate entrance to Museum Gardens (next to St Olav’s church) is another one of my favourite spots for wedding photos! This is the entrance we take to go to York Registry office, and it’s also the closest entrance to Marygate car park.
Throughout the year there are always beautiful plants, trees, and shrubs to see. The gardens has won a gold award for Yorkshire in bloom for multiple successive years, and it’s a fantastic place to walk around, even if you aren’t into plants! For photos… these ever changing backdrops are stunning.
The Hospitium was built to house guests of the the abbey (such as merchants) who were not permitted to stay in St Mary’s abbey. Being close to the river, there is often flood water surrounding the building, but usually, it’s lovely and dry (it never rains in York), and there is a particularly lovely archway I like to photograph couples under!
If you are looking for more portrait locations around York, you don’t need to travel far – in fact you can walk all the way across York in 30 minutes (though you way want to allow longer in wedding shoes). Here are a few of my favourite places for wedding photos in York City centre:
York City Walls
At the moment there are covid restrictions that only allow one-way travel – but you can enter at Bootham Bar (if you leave Museum Gardens between the Yorkshire Museum and the Anglian tower, you’ll end up at Exhibition Square, just opposite Bootham Bar) and continue in a clockwise direction until Monk Bar. On this section of the walls, you’ll have a lovely view of the Minster. It’s a really nice way to see this part of York – it always feels quiet, and you can have a look into lots of lovely gardens in the Minster Quarter.
After leaving the walls at Monk Bar, it’s a short walk to the Shambles. One of York’s most famous and historic streets, you’ll have a lovely backdrop amongst the tourists here!
The Barley Hall
If you’re looking for a nice, but not too long, tour around York – the Barley Hall is a lovely little hidden building down an alleyway off Stonegate. It’s a good place to spot one of the famous cat models and see some of the devils too. Plus – a quick snap in front of those lovely stripes!
After the Barley Hall, my mini photo tour of York usually ends up at the foot of the magnificent Minster. You can’t visit York without admiring the Minster! There is a rumour that if a couple kisses under the heart-shaped window, they will stay together forever.
Can you have wedding photos at York Minster?
But, be warned, wedding photos at York Minster are not allowed! York Minster has its own dedicated police force of 7 police officers. They will not let you have wedding photos taken at or around the Minster, and you certainly can’t go into Dean’s Park!