Rich in history
The History of Oatlands Park Hotel
Steeped in history, Oatlands Park Hotel was originally the site of a grand Royal Tudor Palace, home to the Kings and Queens of England. The estate has played host to many Emperors and Earls, Dukes and Duchesses throughout the centuries before it was burnt down. The hotel you see today was built at the turn of the 18th century.
1538 to 1548
King Henry VIII acquired the land to build Oatlands Palace for his future Queen, Anne of Cleves. It’s imposing red brick building with gateways, octagonal towers and open courts were a worthy rival to his other Surrey home, Hampton Court Palace. In 1540 the marriage was annulled and it is thought Henry secretly married Anne’s lady-in-waiting, Catherine Howard, in the chapel at Oatlands Palace. On Henry’s death, Edward VI, Queen Mary and Elizabeth I all succeed him as residents of the palace. It was a particular favourite with Elizabeth I, who uses it as a hunting lodge.
1615 to 1638
James I and his Queen, Anne of Denmark, also favoured the palace at Oatlands and spent a lot of money reconstructed the building. They founded ‘The Kings Silk Works’. In 1630 James’ son, King Charles I, appointed a man called John Tradescant the Elder as ‘Keep of His Majesty’s Gardens, Vines and Silkworms’ at a salary of £100 per annum. He bought rare plants from around the globe to the Surrey estate, before son succeeded him in 1638.
1640 to 1650
Charles I’s third son Henry, 1st Duke of Gloucester, was born at Oatlands and the ancient cedar tree which stands beside the main drive of the hotel today is thought to have been planted to honour his birth. The tree was one of the first to be imported here from Lebanon. King Charles I was executed in 1649 and the Palace was later demolished during Oliver Cromwell’s short-lived reign. Only a hunting lodge was left and the estate was sold to Robert Turbridge of St. Martin-in-the-Fields for the sum of £4,023.
1689 - 1790
Over the next 150 years, the house and grounds were remodelled by a string of wealthy tenants, from Sir Edward Herbert to the Earl of Torrington. The 7th Earl of Lincoln laid out the high lawned terrace as you see it today. The Earl’s heir Henry, Duke of Newcastle, rebuilt and enlarged the house. His coat of arms can still be seen on the main gates at the entrance of the hotel.
1791 - 1820
Oatlands was leased from the crown to the third son of George III, Prince Frederick, better known as the Duke of York. The house burns to the ground in 1794 and was rebuilt in a Gothic style. The Duchess of York retires to Oatlands where she lived an eccentric life until her death. She created a dog’s cemetery for her beloved pets which can still be seen in the gardens today. A kind and generous woman, a monument was erected in her memory, located at the bottom of Monument Hill in Weybridge.
1824 to 1838
Young society dandy and gambler Edward Hughes Ball Hughes, known as “The Golden Ball” buys the estate on the Duke of York’s death in 1827. He spent his honeymoon at Oatlands, before pulling down large parts of the existing building and making many alterations. In 1829 the estate was put up for auction to cover debts. It was leased to politician and poet Lord Francis Egerton who lived there until the 1850s when the arrival of the London & South Western Railway turned the land into a much sought-after area for development.
1856 to 1903
In 1856 the house and land were remodelled into the South Western Hotel. Famous guests who stayed included popular actress Fanny Kemble, writer Emile Zola, politician Charles Dilke, novelist Anthony Trollope and artist Edward Lear.
1916 to 1930
During World War One, the hotel was requisitioned as a casualty hospital for the New Zealand Forces serving in France. Shortly after the war, the property was purchased by the North Hotels and further developed. By the thirties a restaurant, ballroom and a new wing were added.
1929 – 2021
Barclays Associate Hotels owned the property for some years until the mid-1980s, before Oatlands Investments Ltd acquired the hotel in 1986, restoring and refurbishing it to a standard that takes Oatlands Park Hotel into an exciting new era.Book your stay
Make your own history and plan your dream wedding. Our Surrey wedding venue has a range of impressive spaces from intimate ceremonies to larger celebrations.Tie the knot
Eat & Drink
Dine like Kings and Queen in the glorious Mulberry Restaurant. Enjoy the best of British menus, overlooking the beautiful hotel gardens,Dine with us