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BlogTravel tipsEverything you need to know about Ashridge House, from its royal history to its Hollywood connections
Travel tips

Everything you need to know about Ashridge House, from its royal history to its Hollywood connections

Apr 24, 2024 by The Go Ahead Tours Team

When visiting historic European destinations, we’re eager to experience intriguing history, rich culture, and opulent architecture. That’s why we’re particularly excited about our brand-new Highlights of Southern England: London, Bath & Oxford tour. This itinerary features everything we love about tours of the UK with one added bonus: You’ll stay overnight on the grounds of Ashridge House, a storied property that has hosted royals and celebrities over the centuries. On top of being a fancy country house hotel in England, Ashridge House is also the site of many unforgettable moments in history. Read on to learn more about Ashridge House, its legacy, and how you can stay at one of the best country house hotels in the UK without planning a thing.

What is Ashridge House?

One of the things we love most about traveling to England is its collection of regal country estates brimming with grandeur and history, and Ashridge House is among these properties. In the heart of a 190-acre expanse, surrounded by beautifully manicured gardens, Ashridge House can be found in bucolic Hertfordshire just 30 minutes north of the hustle and bustle of London. It’s now owned by the National Trust and is a protected piece of historic architecture. Inside, you’ll find ornately decorated sitting rooms, dramatic staircases, secret passageways in hidden bookcases, and noble ballrooms that have no doubt seen their fair share of sumptuous parties and celebrations.

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What’s the history of Ashridge House?

Ashridge House’s lavish estate includes a business school and one of the top country house hotels in England. Its legacy, however, dates all the way back to the 13th century when it was first established as a monastery in 1283 by the Earl of Cornwall. Back then, it was called the College of Bonhommes and was used as an educational retreat by local priests. All of that changed with the Act of Supremacy in 1534, which declared Henry VIII the Supreme Head of the Church of England and led to the dissolution of monasteries all over the kingdom in 1539. For 11 years, King Henry VIII lived in Ashridge House, and this was the start of the property’s sprawling royal history. Queen Elizabeth I also lived in the house until her passing in 1603, and it was in Ashridge House in 1554 when her sister Mary famously accused her of treason.

Upon Queen Elizabeth I’s death, ownership of Ashridge House passed to the Earl of Bridgewater, who was the steward of the property for 200 years. In both World War I and World War II, it was used as a hospital; some 2,700 babies were born in the maternity ward. And since 1959, it has been home to Ashridge Executive Education, one of the best business schools in the world. In fact, the Ashridge House is where EF Gap Year hosts its two-day orientation! As you can see, castle hotels in England don’t get more historic than Ashridge House.

Experience the charm of Ashridge House

Ashridge House in pop culture

As if all the royal intrigue and historic designations weren’t enough, you may actually have already seen Ashridge House thanks to its appearance in a number of movies and music videos. Ashridge is one of the filming locations of The Crown. It was also a Harry Potter filming location, notably the estate’s 400-year-old Queen Beech was the Whomping Willow Tree, featured in The Prisoner of Azkaban. And for pop-music lovers, you may be thrilled to learn that singer Sam Smith’s 2023 music video for I'm Not Here To Make Friends was also filmed in Ashridge House.

How to stay on the grounds of Ashridge House

If all this talk of royalty has you excited about your own Ashridge House experience on your next trip to England, then check out our new Highlights of Southern England: London, Bath & Oxford tour. It’s chockful of delightful English adventures, starting with three nights in London. Seeing Trafalgar Square and Westminster Abbey, as well we witnessing the iconic changing of the guards ceremony, are just some of the bucket list experiences that await in the British capital. Then, you’ll explore the mysterious site of Stonehenge, drive along the UNESCO-listed Jurassic Coast (named for the many ancient fossils found here), walk through the Roman baths in the historic city of Bath, and marvel at the picturesque landscapes of the Cotswolds, truly one of the most beloved moments of our England tours.

Your exhilarating journey winds down in the English countryside at the Ashridge House estate, where you can spend the day touring the grounds, tucking into a delightful afternoon tea at the cafe, or simply soaking in the splendor of the lush gardens that make up this extraordinary 190-acre property. To cap off this special England tour, you’ll sleep in the on-property hotel to get the full Ashridge House experience. Imagine waking up and seeing all this royal majesty out your window. That’s what we call an epic English moment.

Want to spend the night on the Ashridge House grounds? Shop our England tours and start planning your Ashridge House sleepover now.

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About the author | The Go Ahead Tours Team
We’re a team of passionate travel experts, dedicated to helping people explore the world. From inspiring stories to tips for an amazing trip, the topics we cover are all about getting you out there and making discoveries.

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Everything you need to know about Ashridge House, from its royal history to its Hollywood connections