In a world where every venue promises character and location, Ditton Manor stands apart. From the moment you cross its tranquil moat, you will feel you’re in a different world – despite the fact that central London is only 20 minutes away. Nestling on the outskirts of the picturesque village of Datchet, this fine 200 acre estate is one of Royal Berkshire’s best kept secrets.
Once the playground of Henry VIII and his daughter Mary I, there has been an estate at Ditton Park since at least 1066. It was even owned by Anne Boleyn for a short while as part of her endowment to the monarch, although sadly there is no evidence of her ever having lived there. From the de Poges and de Molyns to the Winwoods, Montagus and Buccleuchs, and from earls and dukes to lords and ladies, Ditton Park’s owners read like a who’s who of British nobility. Destroyed by fire in April 1812 (George III apparently crossed the river from Windsor especially to watch the blaze), the Manor was rebuilt by 1817 by the architect William Atkinson.
The 5th Duke of Buccleuch gave Ditton Park to his son as a wedding present in 1867, in whose family it remained until it was compulsorily purchased by the Admiralty during the Great War. The most recent chapter in the estate’s history is no less fascinating (although perhaps less romantic): it is on this site that Sir Robert Watson-Watt invented radar in 1935.
Here’s an Indian wedding we’ve photographed at Ditton Manor.