IT is the oldest public museum in the world, with an unparalleled collection of art and architectural treasure. But Oxford’s Ashmolean is also one of the country’s most stunning wedding venues.

Having hosted evening ceremonies for the past 10 years, the museum, on Beaumont Street, now has a licence for daytime weddings. And to celebrate, it has teamed up with our sister paper, The Oxford Times, to offer free use of their opulent European Art Gallery for a wedding ceremony worth up to £1,200.

The timing is perfect for any romantic soul planning to pop the question this Friday – Valentine’s Day.

The prize includes free use of the space for up to 80 guests, followed by an opportunity for the couple to have their photographs taken in the galleries.

With its array of classical bronze sculpture and Old Master paintings, the European Art Gallery is the most popular area of the museum in which to tie the knot. The happy couple can descend a sweeping staircase and exchange their vows surrounded by priceless works of art.

The prize also includes the services of the Ashmolean’s dedicated wedding expert, who will assist the winning couple with planning their day. Guests will be welcomed by the museum’s friendly team.

There is an additional option for couples to hire areas of the museum for receptions.

To enter, simply answer the question and fill out the form which will be printed this Thursday, and the week after, in The Oxford Times.

The museum’s Head of Events, Wendy Ball, said: “We have been running wedding ceremonies and receptions for 10 years, but what is new is that, for the first time, we can offer people a chance to tie the knot in the European Art Gallery during the daytime.

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“It’s a beautiful space, with the couple making a grand entrance down a grand staircase into a room full of beautiful Italian paintings which they and their guests will have all to themselves. It’s the perfect backdrop as the colours are so opulent and rich.

“There is even an 18th century harpsichord, for that special touch of baroque charm.”

Banbury Cake:

She added: “The whole gallery will be temporarily closed for your ceremony, but the lovely thing is that the Ashmolean is a public space, so you will be able to come back in the future and re-visit. There’s a nice sense of stability and permanence – and it enables you to weave the museum into your life.

“It’s also a hub within Oxford, so family and friends can explore the museum – or we can even take your guests on a guided tour while you are having their photographs taken.”

To experience what your prize might look like, book a show round with the Ashmolean’s expert wedding planner, by emailing

  • Please note: the competition will only be available in print in The Oxford Times and not online.
  • For your chance to win, you can pick up a copy of The Oxford Times, in all good newsagents from this Thursday.