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Oatlands Park Hotel in Surrey, South East EnglandOatlands Park Hotel, Surrey, UK

Country Estate filled with royal history and ghosts

Oatlands Park Hotel is a historic Country House Hotel in the heart of Surrey, south England. The hotel has been operating since 1856, with a traced history to 1538 and reign of King Henry VIII. Set in ten acres of picturesque parkland the enduring characteristics of this property and grounds make this the perfect location for all occasions. Oatlands Park Hotel is situated in Weybridge, near Esher in the Surrey countryside and yet only 30 minutes from Heathrow Airport and 45 minutes from central London.

Standard bedroom Otlans Park Hotel The hotels 144 bedrooms offer luxurious accommodation in a relaxing environment. Several rooms also boast four poster beds - for that special occasion or to make that lasting impression with stunning views over the gardens. Relax in your air conditioned room, whilst enjoying a drink from your mini-bar, safe in the knowledge that you are still in touch with the outside world via our VDSL high speed internet connections.

All rooms featuring direct-dial telephone with fax/modem/DDI points, satellite television, hairdryers and trouser-presses. Plus 12 conference and function rooms, leisure facilities and a license for civil ceremonies, Oatlands Park Hotel can cater for all your needs


Dinning room at Oatlands Park Hotel The Broadwater Restaurant and Terrace is the perfect place for fine dining. With spectacular views over the Broadwater Lake and landscaped gardens, you can enjoy the sumptuous cuisine in a luxurious and relaxing setting. Our aim is to provide high quality ingredients, sourced through local suppliers, and cooked in an honest and thoughtful way. We take pride in offering our patrons a varied menu selection which combines classical dishes with a modern and innovative twist. Created with passion, by our Executive Head Chef, using original flavours that are reflected in each individual dish.

Garden pation of Oatlands Park HotelLeisure
The hotel offers a range of leisure and sporting activities, which are further complemented by the facilities in the area surrounding Oatlands Park Hotel. Improve your golf skills on our 9 hole par-3 course or play a game of tennis on court, set in our landscaped grounds.

For those who like to keep fit, the Hotel has its own fitness suite with a range of equipment. The 10 acres of picturesque grounds also provide the perfect setting for team building days, functions or just for a leisurely stroll to take in the views across Surrey and the Broadwater Lake.

Alternatively use the Hotel as your base to explore some of the country's finest museums, golf and racecourses or visit local attractions such as historical palaces or fun filled theme parks. Just 5 miles from Hampton Court and Esher, Oatlands Park Hotel has many historic connections, with Henry VIII and other royalty. Local attractions include Painshill Park, Wisley Gardens, Hampton Court Palace and Windsor Castle.


Dinning room in Oatlands Park HotelCONFERENCE
Oatlands Park Hotel have the latest technology and flexibility of floor space, whether for a board meeting for six, or a presentation for 300. The York Suite in the hotel is the main conference room, seating up to 300 delegates theatre style or 220 for dining. The Drawing and Garden rooms are perfect for accommodation of smaller events seating up to 60 delegates, and our six dedicated syndicate rooms in the hotel can be used independently for up to 10 people, or in conjunction with any of the larger conference accommodation rooms.

Many venues in the hotel offer a variety of conference facilities, including back projection, OHP projection, and the facilities for LCD projection. At Oatlands Park Hotel the technology has been updated to the highest standards, offering hi-speed communications throughout the hotel, VDSL accessibility, Wi-Fi Hotspots and BT Openzone.

Our Conference Liaison Executive is at your disposal to ensure your event runs smoothly. The six main conference rooms can be used in conjunction with a range of smaller syndicate rooms, all of which benefit from natural daylight and air-conditioning.


Entrance of Oatlands Park HotelHistory

Its picturesque red brick buildings surrounded numerous open courts, which were connected by gateways flanked by octagonal towers. It covered over ten acres of land. It was an imposing building and must have closely resembled St John's College at Cambridge and the Palace at Hampton Court.

However, the Queen for whom it was built probably never lived here, and Henry himself only visited it occasionally, though there are some grounds for thinking that he may have secretly married his next Queen, Katherine Howard, in its chapel. Only on rare occasions did his son, Edward VI, or his daughter, Mary I, go to Oatlands, but Elizabeth I was frequently there with her court, either on one of her Royal progresses through the country or to escape some prevailing epidemic in London.

James I and his Queen, Anne of Denmark, made Oatlands one of their favourite residences.

Charles I spent a great deal of time at Oatlands and filled it with pictures and works of art. The Queen lived here during the King's campaign in Scotland, and gave birth to her son, Prince Henry. A fine Cedar, said to have been planted to commemorate his birth, still stands beside the main drive of the Hotel.

In 1643 Oatlands was Prince Rupert's temporary headquarters during the Royalist march on London. The property changed hands in 1649 and was sold to Robert Turbridge of St. Martin-in-the-Fields. It was valued at £4,023 18s. 0d. He then demolished the palace.


After the Restoration, Oatlands reverted to the Crown, and in 1689 John Evelyn states in his diary that Sir Edward Herbert, the Lord Chief Justice, was living in the old house. This house quite definitely was on the Hotel site. Sir Edward followed James II into exile and his estate was forfeited to the Crown, but William III granted it to Sir Edward's brother, Arthur Herbert, Earl of Torrington.

He died in 1716, bequeathing the house and estate to his friend Henry Clinton, Seventh Earl of Lincoln, whose son Henry, later created Duke of Newcastle. He also enlarged the estate and laid out the formal gardens and terraces, traces of which can be seen to this day. The Arms of the Duke of Newcastle can still be seen on the main gates at the entrance to the Hotel.

During this period, and influenced by his travels abroad, Newcastle built the celebrated Shell Grotto near the site of the present Dogs' Cemetery, and here years later, in 1815, the Duke of York entertained the Emperor of Russia, the King of Prussia and their retinues at a Banquet in celebration of the great victory at Waterloo. In 1790 Oatlands was leased from the Crown by the Duke of York, son of George III. Although he was dissolute and reckless, his faults were in many ways due to the times in which he lived, and he rendered the State loyal and efficient service, especially in his office of Commander in Chief of the Army. His statue surmounts the tall column at the top of the Duke of York's steps, leading from the Mall in London.


In 1794 the mansion was burnt down and was rebuilt in the debased Gothic style of the period. Unfortunately the Duke of York was always in debt, and in 1804 an Act of Parliament was passed to enable him to acquire the freehold of all the property he held on lease from the Crown. He very soon mortgaged his whole estate to Sir Thomas Coutts and Sir Edmund Antrobus, and after the death of the Duchess of York in 1820, the whole property was sold.

It was bought by a Mr. Edward Hughes Ball Hughes, popularly known as The Golden Ball, a man of fabulous wealth and notorious as a leader of fashion in the decadent days of the end of the Regency. Hughes pulled down a great deal of the Duke of York's mansion, and made many alterations, but his extravagance eventually compelled him to let it to Lord Francis Egerton, who lived there until the early 1850's.

He was succeeded for a short time by a Mr. Peppercorn, who became bankrupt, and Hughes, who was living more or less in poverty in Paris, ordered the sale of what remained of his once extensive property. Oatlands was offered in lots, to be cut up for building, and a small syndicate bought the mansion and some of the adjoining land for the purpose of converting it into a Hotel. The house was again re -modeled and the present Tudor Wing added, and in 1856 the Oatlands Park Hotel came into existence, with Mr. Peppercorn as its first Manager.


For many years prior to the Great War, the Hotel was owned by the South Western Hotel Company, and an extract from one of the earlier Tariffs is appended to this brief history. Famous guests who stayed at the South Western (later Oatlands Park) Hotel included Fanny Kemble , Emile Zola, Charles Dilke, Anthony Trollope and the cartoonist and artist Edward Lear.

In 1916 it was requisitioned and during the War was used as a Casualty Hospital for the New Zealand Forces serving in France. New Zealand Avenue, at the end of Oatlands Drive, is named in memory of the New Zealanders who died here. Shortly after the War the property was purchased by Mr. M.F. North and Mr. R.W. Black, the founders of the North Hotels, and in 1924 the estate was considerably enlarged by the purchase of Oatlands Lodge, a large mansion now demolished, which stood on the site of the present Lily pond. As the years have passed the Hotel has been considerably enlarged, notably by the extension of the restaurant with the suites over in 1927 and by the addition of the ballroom wing in 1930.

Barclays Associate Hotels owned the hotel for some years until the 1980's. Oatlands Investments Ltd, acquired the hotel in 1986, restoring and refurbishing it to a standard which takes the Oatlands Park Hotel into the 1990's and beyond. Retained is the character of the Listed Buildings and the grounds which are included in the Register of Gardens and Parks of Special Historic Interest.


Dinning room in Oatlands Park Hotel IN-HOUSE GHOST
From a transcript of the news article, from the Esher News and Mail:
“Hotel's ghost hunt for help to get into the spirit of the past. Oatlands Park Hotel is appealing for any local clairvoyants or spirit mediums for help in unravelling the history behind regular "friendly" ghost sightings.”

The first spirit sighting is the figure of a "grey lady" in a crinoline dress, typical of the 17th century, which has been reported by many people. The lady sweeps slowly and regally across the floor of the restaurant, disappearing through the wall on the west side of the hotel.

Room 1313 on the third floor of the Tudor Wing, just below the bell tower, is the site of the other recurring paranormal activity. For many years guests staying in the room have reported feeling a "presence" and complained of extreme temperature changes. They have said that the edges of the room are colder than the middle of the room by about 5 degrees.

One explanation put forward by staff is that this is due to the particularly gruesome death in the 19th century of a maid in service. According to this theory, the woman had a lovers tiff with her fiancee who was also working at the house. The distraught girl fled to the bell tower, barricaded herself in, just above room 1313, and finally threw herself off.


A spokesman for the hotel said they were appealing for help to understand the spirits, not drive them out of the building.

A former and very well-know Sales and Marketing Manager of the hotel said that the Grey Lady is seen in the evening, near where there used to bay windows that led to the garden. In the intervening years, the restaurant has been partitioned off, and she now walks through the wall into the accounts department. With regard to room 1313, he said of the "cold spot", and there is the typical "hairs standing up on the back of the neck"-type feeling.

The deputy manager, a few years ago, experienced the feeling of being unable to move or get up in bed when staying in 1313 (this is more commonly known as the "Old Hag" experience, which would sit on people's chest while they were sleeping, paralysing and suffocating them: these days, it is regarding as a form of lingering sleep paralysis when waking). He couldn't give any indication as to how long this has been going on, but only knew that it has been happening for a "number of years".

A duty manager of the hotel did say, however, that the Grey Lady had been seen by staff members, since the ghost was seen very late on in the evening, when guests were not around. He knew of no-one who had seen the ghost on the far side of the wall, in the accounts department. Sighting of the Grey Lady were not frequent.

The ghost in 1313 is more frequent. It was mainly a "cold spot" phantom (that encompasses the whole room), but there have been cases of drawers being opened, the TV being moved, and the radio and TV being turned on spontaneously. On some occasions, complaints in the night about the noise in room 1313 from its neighbours have brought the response that the room was currently unoccupied. And a few times, guests in 1313 have changed rooms in the middle of the night. There was also the disconcerting feeling sometimes of someone sitting on the edge of the bed



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