great fosters

Photos courtesy of Great Fosters








This enormous Tudor brickwork mansion was built around 1550 on a site that dates back another 1000 years to the Anglo-Saxons. You can still see sections of the original moat. The manor was the property of the Chertsey Priory until the dissolution of the monasteries, when it probably joined in tenancy with the Crown.

Windsor Forest, the royal hunting grounds of the Tudors and Stuarts reached all the way to Great Fosters. Hunting lodges were situated throughout the forest for the use of royalty, and records indicate that Great Fosters was one of their favorites. The regular tenants who occupied the property were probably courtiers.

King James I gave the estate over to his favorite judge, Dodderidge, better known as the “Sleeping Judge” because he always listened to his cases with his eyes shut.

The house passed eventually to a Sir Robert Foster, in whose family it remained until the 19th century, when it was bought by the husband of Queen Alexandra’s lady-in-waiting, Baroness Halkett. Later owners included the earl of Dudley and the Honorable Gerald Montague.

Pamela’s Perspective

If you don’t mind being outside of London a bit, Great Fosters makes a great alternative to the city’s costly hotels—especially if you have a car.

As in most castle and palace hotels, the most atmospheric rooms are inside the main building. This holds true at Great Fosters, as well. Rooms in the Cloisters might be a little quieter, and rooms in the Coach house are the most affordable. Of course, if you want to splurge, opt for the Historic Bedrooms inside the main house.

Great Fosters hosts wedding receptions on the weekends, which can make the hotel a busy place. Inquire at the time of booking if this is a concern.


Great Fosters

A 16th-century Elizabethan manor


Stroude Road, Egham,
Surrey TW20 9UR
Tel: ++44 (0)1784 433822
Fax: ++44 (0)1784 472455
Hotel website
Reserve with

Fast facts

43, including 11 period rooms and 20 in a separate conference center

Main House:
Double rooms: £235–315
Historic bedrooms: from £550–600

The Cloisters:
Double rooms: £235
Suites: £325

Coach House
Double rooms: £180–235
Suites: £325
Rates include VAT, Wi-Fi, and parking
Last-minutes specials available

Open: all year

Getting there

Egham is 7 miles southwest of Heathrow Airport outside of London. By train, it takes 35 minutes from Waterloo Station. In Egham, signposts lead to the hotel.

What to do

On site: seasonal swimming pool; tennis
Nearby: golf; horseback riding; boating; polo; Runnymede; Windsor; Hampton Court Palace


Yes. Civil ceremonies and receptions. Inquire hotel for details.


Much historic atmosphere is maintained in this wonderful Elizabethan manor house. As you enter the main doorway, look up to see the arms and initials of Queen Elizabeth I, dated 1598. The inner door has a wicket through which only one person at a time can enter.

Stepping into the front hall, with its 17th-century pilastered paneling, you feel you’ve entered into another era. To one side, a Jacobean carved wooden chimney piece dates from 1620. A large mullioned window looks out onto formal gardens.

Guest rooms are decorated in character with the house. Several special ones are lavishly furnished with antiques and tapestries:

The Tapestry Suite features a fine chimney and a stone mantelpiece carved with the story of Adam and Eve.

In the Nursery Suite the remains of a secret staircase can be seen through a trapdoor in a cupboard. A story relates that Charlie Chaplin made use of it to watch his children at night. The Panel II and Queen Anne suites contain four-poster beds and both walnut doors and window boards made from an ancient tree that once stood in front of the house. The Italian Suite has ornate quattrocento doors, gilt furniture, and walls covered in damask.

Across the grounds, the “Cloisters” holds a number of contemporary suites and double rooms. The “Coach House” offers simple double and single rooms.

Fine dining may be found in the Oak Room, so named because of its exposed oak beams. Cuisine is modern English.

Something special

curlicueClassified as a Grade I Historic Monument

curlicueThe Tithe Barn (now used for private functions) is older than the house itself. It once held the produce collected from the parish as a tax to support the church.