About Ashdown House
Ashdown House is an unusual Dutch-style house on the Berkshire Downs built in the early 1660s for William, 1st Earl of Craven. Legend purports that Ashdown was built during an outbreak of plague in London as a refuge for Elizabeth of Bohemia, to whom Craven was devoted. It is more likely, however, that it was planned by Craven as a hunting lodge.
Ashdown is a great place full of history with so much to discover – it makes for a fun family day out. Access to the house is via guided tour only, and there are guided staircase tours that run on Saturday and Wednesday afternoons from April to October where you can discover the House’s past which is one of love, war, royalty and loss.
Ashdown woods surround the avenue of trees that lead to the house with many native species of trees, from beech and oak to sycamore, hazel and ash. The woodland is open all year, and it’s a great place for a stroll or to run around in. Go quietly, and you may spot the herds of deer as they forage for food.
Good to know
- Ashdown House is in the civil parish of Ashbury in Oxfordshire, but until 1974 the house was in the neighbouring county of Berkshire.
- There is free parking 200 metres from the house.
- The house operates timed tickets for tours and these are handed out at the entrance gate.
- The toilet is available only when the house is open to the public.
- The house is tenanted so access is limited to the entrance hall, staircase (100 steps) and the roof.
- Dogs are welcome on leads in woodland.
- Parts of the wood nearer to the house are closed off to visiting public to enable the trees to establish and provide a tranquil refuge for the wildlife.
- There is mobility parking next to the house which can be booked in advance.
- The toilet is adapted.
- There is an induction loop in the reception and a portable one for guided tours.
- The grounds are accessible via tarmac, loose gravel and flat grassy paths.
- The house is not accessible to all as there are 9 steps up to the entrance and 100 steps on the guided staircase tour.