From welcoming regal guests in centuries past, to Hollywood film stars in more recent years, Hedsor House has always enjoyed an illustrious history since 1166.
A right Royal history
Hedsor House was originally designed by Sir William Chambers, the architect of Somerset House, with the help of King George III and Queen Charlotte. They were captivated by Hedsor’s picturesque position high above the River Thames and its proximity to London.
The house was once famously the home of Dowager Princess of Wales, mother of George III and the founder of Kew Gardens. Fascinating diary entries describe how the house regularly welcomed Kings, Queens and royal children from nearby Windsor Castle.
The building was badly damaged by a fire in 1795. The current house was completed in 1868. Unusually modelled on the Italian villa style, it then featured an all-new domed hall rather than the traditional open courtyard. This stunning Centre Hall with its domed ceiling is the focal point of Hedsor to this day, and is where many of our events and functions take place. Indeed, this is the same hall that Queen Victoria frequently visited for tea when staying at Windsor Castle.
Hedsor's modern history
In 1925 the house was sold to the head of Fiat Cars who undertook very extensive alterations to the house adding pine and oak panelling, installing several very attractive marble, mosaic and onyx bathrooms and on the second floor removing the Victorian ornate domes.
In 1932 the house was acquired by Philip Edward Shephard, as a wedding gift for his son Philip and daughter in law Florence. The house came with 15 staff and 4 gardeners so this was a rather generous wedding gift indeed!
Following World War II, in 1952 reality dawned for the Shephard family and the family moved out of the house and Hedsor was leased to the United States Air Force as a secret communications centre, securely fenced and with guard’s trip wires in the woods. The USAF left in 1964 with many GIs very upset that they were not aware nor invited to the partying going on next door at Cliveden with Christine Keeler and Mandy Rice Davis!
In 1968 the house was leased once again for 35 years to ICL International Computers, the company was later acquired by Fujitsu.
Opening Hedsor’s front doors to the world
Following its fascinating 800 year history and decades as the seat of the Shephard Family, the beautiful Georgian house underwent an extensive renovation and restoration project in the mid to late 2000s. In 2007, for the first time in 800 years, Hedsor opened her doors to the world by starring as Nicole Kidman’s home in the box office hit, The Golden Compass.
In 2008, the house was reborn as a private events venue. From reinstating the magnificent 150 year old panelling in the Ballroom, to the installation of WiFi and luxurious new decoration and furnishings, the house is maintained in immaculate condition as a venue for weddings, events and celebrations.
Since launching as a venue, the estate has welcomed over 75,000 guests and hosted over 500 spectacular private events, hundreds of exquisite wedding celebrations and been used as a location for a host of notable film productions.
Privately owned and family run
The house and estate remain completely private and managed by the fourth generation of the Shephard Family. This ensures the utmost privacy and exclusivity.