5 Things to Know About Stoke Park, the Iconic UK Hotel Bought by Reliance

5 Things to Know About Stoke Park, the Iconic UK Hotel Bought by Reliance
The Golf Course at Stoke Park featured in several movies including Goldfinger Photo Credit: Stoke Park Facebook

The iconic British property, Stoke Park has almost a thousand years of colourful history behind its name, first as a private residence and then as Britain’s first country club. It was bought by Reliance recently

OT Staff
October 17 , 2021
06 Min Read

Most people know of the British estate Stoke Park, now owned by billionaire Indian industrialist Mukesh Ambani, as the captivating background in the famous Bond movie Goldfinger.

Sitting on a 300 acre parkland, the estate located in Buckinghamshire county in south eastern London, served as a private residence until 1908, when it got converted to a country club. Much of what exists today was built during the ownership of John Penn (1760-1834), a soldier, scholar and poet. The mansion as well as the monuments were designed by James Wyatt (architect to George III) in 1788 while the landscape was redesigned by Humphrey Repton (one of the last three famous designers of the 18th -19th century English Landscape Movement). In its present avatar, Stoke Park consists of a 5-star hotel, a 27-hole golf course, 13 tennis courts, and a restaurant.

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For some time, the estate was owned by the British Crown during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1. Between 1603 and 1644, Stoke Park was owned by Sir Edward, a politician who held many posts and went on become the first Lord Chief Justice of England. Apart from its famous owners and visitors, Stoke Part has many interesting credits to its name.  

In the cinemas
Not heard of Stoke Park? Remember the famous scenes woven around the game of golf in the 1964 James Bond movie Goldfinger? Between 007 (Sean Connery) and Goldfinger (Gert Frobe)? The scenes were shot in the Stoke Park Golf Club.

In fact, Stoke Park has featured in a number of movies. The first movie to be shot on the grounds was probably the 1945 Dead of Night. The ballroom of the property was converted to Bond’s (played by Pierce Brosnan) hotel bedroom in the 1997 movie Tomorrow Never Dies. In the 2001 movie Bridget Jones’s Diary, when Daniel Cleaver (Hugh Grant) takes Bridget Jones (Renée Zellweger) on a romantic mini break -- viewers are treated to the sight of the undulating grounds, the lake and the grand Pennsylvania Suite.

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While two scenes of Guy Ritchie’s RocknRolla movie were shot in the tennis court and the golf course, the Layer Cake directed by Matthew Vaughn not only shot extensively here but also used the original name and logo in one of the scenes.

Oldest country club
It was Nicholas Lane Jackson (also known as "Pa" Jackson) who gave Britain its first country club in 1908 by creating the Stoke Park Club after leasing a part of the property from the widowed Mrs Wilberforce Bryant, the then owner, according to the estate’s website.

A sporty spirit
Pa Jackson (owned the estate between 1908 and 1928) who was an able sport administrator and wore many hats, including establishing the Corinthians Football Club, was also instrumental in creating the 27-hole golf course. Harry Shapland Colt, a famous golf course architect, credited with the creation of many world famous golf courses, created and designed the course at Stoke Park.

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The tennis courts (13 in all, including Wimbledon specification grass courts) are also quite reputed, especially the annual event called Boodles – often considered as a warm up to the Wimbledon – where some of the top ranking tennis players, such as Novak Djokovic, are known to have participated.

A temporary gaol
Stuart King Charles 1 (1600-1649) was held briefly as a prisoner in the Manor House at Stoke Park. It is said that the Coat of Arms painted on one of the walls of a room in the existing wing of the Manor House was apparently done by the king at that time, according to the official website.

The creative life
The sprawling grounds of Stoke Park and their wild denizens have been a source for many creative people. One of the famous visitors to the estate was the English poet Thomas Gray, who used to live in the village. Lady Cobham (widow of Sir Richard), who owned the estate, impressed by the poet’s composition “Elegy in a Country Churchyard”, wished to meet him. The visit led to Gray penning “The Long Story” describing the Manor House and its previous owners.

Sir Edwin Landseer, who started as a child prodigy (with the Victoria and Albert Museum exhibiting his drawings made at the age of 5), has immortalized the deer herd on the estate through many of his drawings, including “Monarch of the Glen” and “Running Deer. He was a frequent visitor when the estate was owned by Lord Taunton’s (Henry Labouchere; owned from 1848 to 1863 ) and Edward Coleman (owned from 1863-1883).

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