Please note: This house does not offer free entry to Historic House members.
For alternative options please see other opening options.

Other opening

Overview

Cowdray Heritage is one of England’s most important early Tudor houses and is known to have been visited by both King Henry VIII and Queen Elizabeth I.

In September 1793, whilst undergoing repairs and refurbishments for the impending marriage of the 8th Viscount Montague, a devastating fire took hold and most of the property was destroyed. The Kitchen Tower is the only part of the mansion to remain intact.

The magnificent ruins are set in the stunning landscape of Cowdray Park, in the heart of the South Downs National Park. Explore the Tudor Kitchen, Buck Hall, Chapel and Gatehouse.


Opening
Opening

The ruins are currently closed for conservation work. No date for re-opening has yet been set. Check the property's own website for the most up-to-date information.

Find Us
Find us

Cowdray is east of Midhurst, between the A212 and A272.

For those travelling by public transport, the nearest train stations are Haslemere or Chichester, which are 15 and 25 minutes away. The nearest bus stop is conveniently situated next to the North Street car park, and then a short walk down the Causeway leads to the Ruins.

 

Parking

Car park on site Free Parking for the first hour of your visit is available in North Street car park in Midhurst, by the bus station. There is a small hourly charge thereafter.

Admission
Admission

Historic Houses member visit for free.

Adults: £6.50

Concession: £5.50

Children (5-16): £3.75

Children under 5: free

More admission details

Group Visits
Group Visits

Groups of 20 or more are welcome to visit Cowdray Heritage throughout the year. Please contact us to check availability before making your plans.

Please check the website for further information, admission times and details for our special events

Visit website

Weddings

 

 


Opening
Opening

The ruins are currently closed for conservation work. No date for re-opening has yet been set. Check the property's own website for the most up-to-date information.

Find Us
Find us

Cowdray is east of Midhurst, between the A212 and A272.

For those travelling by public transport, the nearest train stations are Haslemere or Chichester, which are 15 and 25 minutes away. The nearest bus stop is conveniently situated next to the North Street car park, and then a short walk down the Causeway leads to the Ruins.

 

Parking

Car park on site Free Parking for the first hour of your visit is available in North Street car park in Midhurst, by the bus station. There is a small hourly charge thereafter.

Admission
Admission

Historic Houses member visit for free.

Adults: £6.50

Concession: £5.50

Children (5-16): £3.75

Children under 5: free

More admission details

Group Visits
Group Visits

Groups of 20 or more are welcome to visit Cowdray Heritage throughout the year. Please contact us to check availability before making your plans.

Other opening

Cowdray Golf

A true Sussex sporting institution. Golf has been played on the scenic course at Cowdray for well over a century.

Its combination of sandy soil with the latest in irrigation and sprinkler systems means superb conditions can be maintained.

Find out more

Fly Fishing

Cowdray has excellent Fly Fishing opportunities on the River Rother, from a day pass to season pass for individuals to small fishing groups including corporate fishing days.

Your fishing trip can be hosted by our ghillie who can provide tuition if required.

Find out more

Clay Pigeon Shooting

Clay Pigeon Shooting is available for groups and corporate events in addition to individual lessons at our shooting school, based north of Midhurst. The school caters from the complete novice through to the accomplished shot.

Find out more

Wildlife Tour

Cowdray offers guided wildlife tours over the Estate. You will have the chance to see wildlife in its natural habitat.

Our experienced Ranger is on hand to guide you to the best wildlife viewing spots and knows every inch of the terrain.

Find out more

Polo Academy

Coaches at the Cowdray Park Polo Academy have extensive polo backgrounds and offer private lessons, group lessons, corporate days and instructional chukkas. Lessons include all aspects of polo, including stick work, polo style riding and, stick and balling - guaranteed to enthuse non-riders and riders alike.

Find out more

Cowdray Park Polo Club

Polo has been played on the Estate for over 100 years. Today, approximately 400 matches are played on the world famous Lawns throughout the summer months.

The highlight is the Gold Cup for the British Open Championships which takes place from late June until mid-July. It attracts the best Polo teams from around the world, competing for this prestigious trophy. Spectators are welcome throughout the season.

Find out more


Cowdray Ruins's history and features

The priory was founded in 1230 by Sir Duncan MacDougall, of the family of the Lords of Lorn. The Monks were of the Valliscaulian order, the mother house being in the Val des Choux in Burgundy.

Today the ruins of the priory church, now in the care of Historic Scotland, can be seen by accessing them through the garden. A considerable collection of early stones are on display as well as those still in situ within the ruins.

The 13th century church comprised a small choir, with crossing north and south transepts, with chapels and a nave. The necessary domestic buildings were placed round a cloister. A much larger choir was added in the 15th century.

In 1558 John Campbell became Prior of Ardchattan, he was succeeded by his son Alexander in 1580, but during these troubled years of religious dissension the number of monks dwindled and the Priory become a private dwelling house.

In the 17th century the Campbells of Ardchattan and of Lochnell built private burial aisles for their families outside the south and north walls of the choir respectively.

During the civil war it is thought that Loyalists burnt and plundered the church, the following century a new church was built to the east using stone from Ardchattan which finally marked the end of worship at the Priory, although the parish used the ruined chapel as a burial ground until 1906.


Fun Facts

The Tower Room

Viscountess Cowdray, an artist and sculptress herself, has overseen the refurbishment of the Tower Room into a magnificent Renaissance Art Studio. It is an amazing ancient hexagonal space, secreted away near the top of a romantic tower. Viscountess Cowdray is keen for others to share her passion for art.

Lady Cowdray at the Midhurst Ruins