A beautiful 19th century mansion house set within its own parkland and 186 acres of quintessential English countryside, Ashdown Park Hotel is the idyllic venue for milestone corporate events and grand private celebrations. For small meetings, large conferences and incentive travel, the venue has a truly unique proposition. From an 18 hole par 3 golf course, to a full service spa, a croquet lawn, tennis courts, carp filled lake, two restaurants, 16 events rooms, facilities for archery, falconry and woodland hiking; the variety of choice is impressive. In addition, the stunning converted chapel with stained glass windows and high vaulted ceilings offers the ideal location for large meetings and luxurious country weddings. The venue is welcoming and charming. It is indeed among some of the most prestigious venues in the world.
Ashdown Park Hotel has all the attractions of a remote country retreat, yet it enjoys excellent transport links and is within easy reach of London. Visitors to the hotel are immediately struck by the elegant neo-gothic architecture of the entrance and the high airy ceilings. The hotel's comfortable lounges look out onto sweeping lawns and offer the perfect spot for an informal meeting. The discreet and ever attentive staff are on hand to help in every way possible. When planning a corporate event or personal celebration, location, ambience, flexibility and stimulating environment are all major considerations. This is a venue that enjoys all of these qualities in abundance.
The Ashdown Park Hotel event spaces include fully equipped meeting rooms of varying sizes, lawns and a pavilion. The impressive Richard Towneley conference room can host up to 160 in theatre style while private dinners for 40 can be hosted in the Jacob Henniker room. Consequently the hotel can effortlessly host both a large or small events.
For company events such as an incentive trip, a host of imaginative themed evening entertainments can be organised such as a casino night, masked ball or outdoor concert. With nearby woodland trails and extensive open spaces, the hotel can also organise a range of sporting activities. These include off-road racing, laser shooting, assault course contests and team building exercises. For golfers, Ashdown Park boasts a challenging par 3, 18 hole course, a driving range and a putting green.
Each of the hotel's 106 bedrooms and suites are unique. Named after different species of trees found on the estate, the suites are large and luxurious offering glorious views of the parklands and Ashdown Forest beyond. The hotel's Anderida Restaurant has received two AA rosettes for the quality of its fine cuisine and wine list. The elegant atmosphere, panoramic views and innovative menus combine to create a memorable experience for all who dine.
The exclusive on-site Country Club has an impressive range of facilities. The club features an indoor swimming pool, gym, sauna and steam room as well as an award-winning beauty spa.
Weddings at Ashdown Park are no less than spectacular. Civil ceremonies can be held in the Lady Brassey room or in the summer, outdoor weddings take place in the Summerhouse. The manicured lawns and surrounding woodland also create an idyllic backdrop for wedding photography. In addition, the magnificent converted chapel is arguably one of the most unique wedding venues in the country. Complete with the original organ and a vaulted ceiling, this is a spectacular location for a wedding in the English countryside.
Ashdown Park was once part of the large area of the Ashdown Forest enclosed under the decree of 1693 and over the following century passed through the hands of several land speculators. The first mansion house known here was built by either Thomas Bradford, who had Ashdown Park in 1815, or by Rear Admiral The Honourable Jacob Henniker who owned and occupied Ashdown Park from 1822. At the time the Estate comprised 3563 acres and included Pippingford Park, Old Lodge and the Army training grounds.
In 1867 Mr Thomas Charles Thompson, Member of Parliament for Durham, bought the Estate. After purchase, he demolished the existing Henniker mansion, except possibly the cellars, and built the House which forms the central section of the building as it is now. The grounds were then laid out and some fine specimen trees planted. The stream, which originates near Wych Cross, was dammed to make fords. In 1886 he added the little Church of St Richard de Wych to the east of the present Estate so that the family, when at Ashdown, and the people of the place, could worship there and so save the three mile walk to Hartfield. This small Church fell into disrepair and was demolished in the 1970's. Mr Thompson also built a School Room and School House for the local children and provided free lunches for them. This School closed in 1943 and is now used as staff accommodation.
By 1914 and for the duration of the War the property had been taken over by Lady Brassey who turned it, together with her own house at Chapelwood Manor; Chelwood Gate, into a Hospital and Convalescent Home for Belgian Army Officers. In 1918 the Oxcroft Colliery Company purchased the Estate and felled most of the mature trees, which were used for pit props.
In June of 1919 the Estate was once more put up for sale, and in July, Sister Marie Saints Anges of the Order of Notre Dame visited Ashdown Park and considered it ideal for Convent purposes. Sister Marie had been born into the wealthy Towneley Family of Burnley and baptised Mary Elizabeth. She entered the Order of the Sisters of Notre Dame of Namur in Belgium in 1872 and stayed in Namur until 1915 when she returned to England. In 1919 she was requested by the Mother General to find a property suitable for a Training Establishment for Novices and was able to purchase Ashdown Park for the Order quite cheaply as most of the trees had been felled. In the spring of 1920 the first Sisters of Notre Dame, together with 33 Novices arrived at Ashdown Park. The Nuns remained happily at Ashdown Park for almost fifty years until the United States International University took it over in 1971. The Roman Catholic Church deconsecrated the Chapel, and the USIU renamed it the Anita Oliver Lunn Chapel. Mrs Lunn was a benefactress of the University and patroness of many American educational, cultural and scientific organisations.
The University did not stay long and in 1974 Ashdown Park was conveyed to Barclays Bank for use as a Management Training Centre, which it remained until being sold to its present owners on 1 February 1993.