WEDDING bells will soon be ringing again at a historic town hall following a £1 million revamp.

Young couples and other party planners got their first glimpse inside the new-look Abingdon Guildhall this weekend at a grand reopening event.

Hundreds descended on the civic space to tour its historic chambers: the Roysse Room, the Old Magistrates Court – with magistrates bench, dock and cells still intact – the Abbey Room, the Bear Room and the grand council chamber.

ALSO READ: Plans for 'community hub' in Abingdon town centre

The restoration of the Abingdon Town Council-owned building has also included refurbishing the kitchens and there are now two resident chefs.

It was announced last month that Sue and Ian Wiper, who own The Regal cinema in Evesham, Worcestershire and have recently reopened the Guildhall’s 1960s’ extension as a cinema, would now also be running the revamped space.

Mrs Wiper said on Saturday: “The response overall has been fantastic, really positive.

Herald Series:

“What people have been most pleased about is how open the Guildhall is. For us having people in the building has really brought it to life.”

Mr Wiper added: “It makes sense for the two parts of the building to work together and people have been coming into one and asking about the other.”

The couple estimated there had been more than 500 visitors keen to seen inside the refurbished space in just the first two hours of it opening to the public on Saturday.

READ AGAIN: Medieval staircase found during Guildhall revamp

They now hope to rent out the newly-renovated rooms, either individually or as sets, for weddings and events.

But the cinema couple stressed their first goal was to see the space once more used by the community.

Herald Series:

Mrs Wiper said: “We’ve already had half a dozen local groups get in touch about things like art, yoga and dance.

“A lot of people have memories of being married here as well and want the same for their children.”

Hire rates for local community groups and weddings have been set by the town council at £40 per three-hour session for the larger Roysse Room and council chamber, and £24 for the other rooms.

ALSO READ: Lidl not Aldi to open in Abingdon

Wedding ceremonies will be charged at £300 and £150 respectively.

Abingdon mayor Margaret Crick, whose husband moved to the town to manage the Guildhall in 1985, said it was ‘absolutely wonderful’ to see the refurbished space open to the public.

Herald Series:

She added: “It’s amazing.

"It wasn’t easy back then to get what was wanted done so it is lovely to see the new life in the building now.”

For more information visit new website