The building, which dates back to 1851, is cocooned in beautiful surroundings a world away from, but conveniently close to, the busy A26 road just outside Uckfield.
This was a family home fit for entertaining the Queen, and the suite created for her – and another for her husband the Duke of Edinburgh – can still be seen, and occupied by guests, in the hotel. Ask for the Windsor Suite or the Edinburgh Room.
The furnishings and décor are constantly renewed but always in the style the royal couple would recognise from 50 years ago and the building has escaped modern extensions.
The Queen and Prince Philip stayed as guests of Lord and Lady Rupert Nevill and an outside reminder of those days is The Queen’s Walk.
This was built in the grounds to take the Queen on a quiet route to church on Sundays, away from the main road which would get jammed with motorists hoping to catch a glimpse of her en route.
The path is still used by Horsted guests on frosty Christmas Eves as they make their way to attend midnight services.
An additional royal touch in Horsted Place is a secret door built in the library by Lord Snowdon, once husband of the Queen’s sister Princess Margaret.
He designed the door as a birthday present for Lady Rupert Nevill allowing her to slip quietly out of the room without disturbing her guests. It also enables a short cut from the kitchens.
Horsted Place was built originally for a London businessman, Francis Barchard. His initials and heraldic eagles can be seen on, and within, a spectacular staircase which was designed by Augustus Pugin, one of the Victorian age’s most prolific architects and a leading exponent of the Gothic revivalist movement.
Part of the staircase was exhibited in The Great Exhibition of 1851 and that section was brought straight to Horsted Place from the exhibition, via Lewes Station. The original address label can still be seen at the hotel.
The Nevills bought the house in 1965 and it was in 1984 that Lady Rupert Nevill decided to sell following her husband’s death.
It stood empty for nearly 18 months before being bought and being transformed into an hotel. The company that owns Horsted Place also owns the East Sussex National Hotel and Golf Club.
Thirty years on, the pearl anniversary is to be celebrated in style with an afternoon tea party which will be held in the former orangery where French doors open onto a croquet lawn. Most of the tickets for this event have now been sold.
Hotel manager Elizabeth Brown remembers the hotel from its early days. She worked there when it opened, left briefly and then returned in 2002. She has always enjoyed its sense of history and is pleased to know stories of its past.
While bluebells currently carpet the grounds beside the winding drive, and daffodils are still looking lovely, rhododendrons and azaleas should be in full bloom for the tea party at the end of May.
Horsted Place Hotel prides itself on offering guests and visitors “affordable elegance” and it has accolades as an AA Inspectors’ Choice hotel while the restaurant has two rosettes from the AA Restaurant Guide.
Non-residents are welcome to dine there, parties can be accommodated, and the hotel’s afternoon teas prove popular.
Weddings of all sizes are catered for and the whole hotel can be booked for the use of families and friends for these special occasions.
There’s plenty of inspiration at Horsted Place for photographers because of the light and airey surroundings with historic features inside, and then colourful back-drops in the gardens.
If you’ve never been to Horsted Place then make sure you call in because there’s much to enjoy in addition to the hospitality.
To start with you’ll find yourself in a magnificent 90 foot long gallery, with huge windows either end framing glorious views and right in the middle of the gallery you’ll spot the Pugin staircase with its heraldic eagles.
Having got your bearings take your time to look around – you’ll find it easy to let your imagination drift back in time while Horsted Place staff help make your visit a special one.