Midhurst’s Capron House is another Cowdray choice for meetings and conferencesLaunched for private hire in 2015, Cowdray House’s attractiveness for events planners continues to gather pace this month as four new bedrooms are added. Unveiled with 11 last year, Cowdray House will now feature a total of 15 guest bedrooms.
Among these new additions, the Tourmeline suite is also ideal for a discreet and very private breakout meeting of up to four people. Tucked away at the top of the House, the suite offers a well-appointed sitting room that’s close to, but quite separate from, the double bedroom overlooking the lawn.
Indeed privacy in a palatial setting with a great mix of complementary facilities to suit varying sizes of conferences, incentives, product launches and corporate hospitality events - running across half a day, a whole day or including an overnight stay - is what exclusive-hire of Cowdray House is all about.
At the heart of West Sussex’s historic 16,500-acre Cowdray Estate and set within its own 110-acre private parkland as the South Downs National Park stretches out in the distance, the former family home of the 4th Viscount and Viscountess Cowdray is wonderfully poised for upscale country house corporate hospitality.
Ascending to a double height with a vaulted wood-panelled ceiling and terracotta-hued wallls, the central Buck Hall also features Cowdray family portraits along the lower level and arched minstrels’ galleries dotted around three sides of the floor above. Flowing out from this central space are the other main reception rooms: the Dining Room, Drawing Room, split-level Morning Room and Library.
Buck Hall’s majestic space can accommodate sit-down lunches and dinners for up to 150, other styles of reception for up to 300 guests and theatre-style conferences up to 150. In turn, the Dining Room provides a plush setting for theatre-style meetings up to 80, a boardroom configuration for a maximum 30 and seated lunches and dinners up to 60 guests. The Library comes into its own for meetings up to 10 people and lunches and dinners for six.
The House’s terrace presents a picturesque spot for pre-punch and dinner drinks in the warmer weather while, stepping down from here, the lawn is where a marquee would be erected when seated lunches and dinners are planned for up to 350 guests.
With a helicopter landing pad, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, a billiard room, croquet lawn, bowling alley and stick-and-ball polo field all on offer, events at Cowdray House can draw upon a real diversity of supplements. Additionally, polo spectating and lessons, golf, fly fishing, clay pigeon shooting and wildlife outings are among the Estate’s nearby pursuits that can also be factored into the equation.
“Thanks to its variable scale, variety of aspects and niche within the wider Estate, Cowdray House’s versatility inspires the planning of many diverse events and occasions,” emphasises Gary Ockwell, General Manager, Cowdray House and Events. “For instance, we have recently staged a fund-raising Clay Pigeon Shoot Day with the Brainwave charity, a Wellbeing Weekend with Ruby Wax amongst the guest speaker line-up and a concert of electronica-opera that drew wonderfully on Buck Hall’s spirit and dimensions. We also welcomed a small group of Canadian businessmen who flew in from London by helicopter, held a morning meeting ahead of lunch and then enjoyed an afternoon polo lesson.
“Cowdray House blends formality with ease and business with leisure, drawing upon its grandeur and relaxing it too. It may be majestic in scale and decor but with a mellow low-key vibe. There are no roped-off areas nor antique chairs with signs saying not to sit on them. “
“For those seeking a smaller scale event in a more urban setting however, Capron House in Midhurst town centre is a further compelling Cowdray choice,” adds Gary.
Leading engineer and businessman, Sir Weetman Dickinson Pearson (who became the 1st Viscount Cowdray in 1917) purchased the Cowdray Estate in 1909. Capron House was the spacious Victorian home in which the Pearson family lived while Cowdray House underwent an extensive renovation.
For a period, Capron House then became Midhurst Grammar School - with HG Wells among the pupils! Characterised by its impressive front porch, grand entrance hall with a carved staircase and a huge walled garden at the rear, Capron House features three function rooms - Cowdray, Pearson and the Garden Room (French doors leading outside) - and welcomes theatre-style meetings for numbers ranging between 50-115, boardroom meetings for 24-42 and seated lunches and dinners up to 30-108 while a marquee in the walled garden allows for guest numbers to rise to 150.
Approximately an hour from London and its airports, and well positioned too for Southampton airport, Cowdray is within easy reach of the A3, A272 and the M27 as well as Petersfield and Haslemere rail stations.