For those with romantic leanings or an interest in the past, there's possibly no better place to visit in Berkshire than Ashdown House. Open to the public it's a unique building inspired by Dutch architecture and with a long and turbulent history behind it. While it's perfect for romantics and history buffs, there's plenty for children to see and do here too, including the acres of woodland in which you might be able to catch the passing herds of Red Deer. There's a wide selection of accommodation nearby, ranging from budget hotels to impressive and elegant country houses.
Hotels near Ashdown House
Ashdown House was built in 1662, by William Craven, one of England's wealthiest men at that time. He built it to protect the love of his life, Elizabeth, the Queen of Bohemia. Once Elizabeth's husband, Frederick, died, William devoted his life to her. To ensure that she remained safe from the potential threat of the plague in London, had Ashdown House built as a safe haven. Unfortunately, Elizabeth died before the house was finished and William lived, alone, until the age of 89. Despite this sorry tale, many visitors flock to Ashdown House each year, staying in nearby hotels, such as the Coppid Beech Hotel, the Morrisons Guest House and the Grange Bracknell.
A Family-Friendly Attraction
The house's history is detailed through paintings and papers that line the walls of the impressive staircase, which has become part of a guided tour. While this all sounds a bit mournful, the caretakers of the estate encourage children and have devised a number of trails for them to follow, giving them an insight into the history of the house and its inhabitants. There are numerous family-friendly hotels nearby, such as the Beneficial House - House of Fisher and the Fines Bayliwick Hotel.
However, if you're tying in your visit to Ashdown House with a romantic break, the Oakley Court Hotel, near Windsor, is a sublimely romantic backdrop. Used as a film location in the 1970s, it still bears the forgotten gargoyles from its stint as a double for Dracula's castle, and eagle-eyed visitors may recognise the entrance hall from the St. Trinian's films of the 1950s.
Wreathed in doomed romance, Ashdown House is a memorable attraction and booking a hotel nearby is the best way to get the most from your visit.