Cowdray Park, West Sussex
The park lies in the South Downs National Park. The estate belongs to Viscount Cowdray, whose family have owned it since 1908. It has a golf course, and it offers clay pigeon shooting and corporate activity days, as well as the more traditional activities of agriculture, forestry and property lets.
Cowdray Park Polo Club
The estate is home to the Cowdray Park Polo Club, one of the leading polo clubs in the United Kingdom. The sport has been played here for over 100 years. Over 450 polo matches are held at the park each season and the highlight of the polo season is the annual British Open Polo Championship, for the Gold Cup, sponsored for many years by Veuve Clicquot, and from 2015 by Jaeger-LeCoultre.
The estate also features the Cowdray House - the former home of the Montague family, built in 1542 and largely destroyed by fire in 1793. In 2005 the Heritage Lottery Fund awarded a grant of £2.7m towards the cost of stabilising the ruins and they were opened to the public on 31 March 2007. The house is not open to the public.
In May 2009 it was announced that Lord Cowdray was seeking a business partner to turn the house into a country house hotel, but the project was abandoned when Cowdray failed to find a partner. It was also announced that Cowdray will be moving to another family property at Fernhurst. The following year, in September 2010, it was announced that Cowdray House was put on the market for £25 million. Michael Pearson, the fourth Viscount Cowdray, claimed that he did not want his son to inherit the burden of maintaining the house. However, as of September 2011, Lord Cowdray has not found a buyer for the house, which would not include the wider estate, including the Polo Club. The collection housed within Cowdray Park was auctioned in situ by Christie's over three days, between September 13 and 15 2011. Among the objects sold were furniture, silver, paintings, tapestries and porcelain, with a portrait previously identified as Queen Elizabeth I (but now considered more likely to be Catherine Howard, née Carey, Countess of Nottingham) achieving the highest auction price of £325,250. In total, the auction raised £7.9 million.
- Cowdray Ruins, accessed 25 July 2007
- Wardrop, Murray (9 September 2010). "Polo paradise: Cowdray Park House up for sale for £25m". London: The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 26 December 2011.
- Midhurst and Petworth Observer, May 21, 2009
- "Cowdray Park House goes on the market for £25m". BBC News. 15 September 2010. Retrieved 26 December 2011.
- "The Cowdray Sale: Works of art from Cowdray Park and Dunecht House". Christie's. Retrieved 26 December 2011.
- Lumley, Ruth. "Cowdray Park sale fetches £7.9 million". The Argus. Retrieved 26 December 2011.