Monkey Island Estate Bray

England Europe
Monkey Island Estate Bray, Berkshire - England
Monkey Island Estate Bray, Berkshire - England
Monkey Island Estate Bray, Berkshire - England
Monkey Island Estate Bray, Berkshire - England
Monkey Island Estate Bray, Berkshire - England
Monkey Island Estate Bray, Berkshire - England
Monkey Island Estate Bray, Berkshire - England
Monkey Island Estate Bray, Berkshire - England
Monkey Island Estate Bray, Berkshire - England
Monkey Island Estate Bray, Berkshire - England
Monkey Island Estate Bray, Berkshire - England
Monkey Island Estate Bray, Berkshire - England
28 August 2022

Monkey Island Estate lies on a picturesque island in the River Thames in the historic village of Bray, Berkshire. The island has a rich history centuries old, and has been the haunt of monarchs, aristocrats and artists, along with writers, famous performers and Berkshire locals and now is home to one of the finest hotels in Bray.

The two grade I listed heritage pavilions which form the property were originally commissioned as a fishing retreat in 1723 by the third Duke of Marlborough. These have been completely restored and renovated, with beautifully landscaped gardens and picturesque views of the River Thames.

Set across seven acres, Monkey Island Estate features 40 exquisite guest rooms, and the Grade 1 listed Wedgewood Suite, designed by the award-winning New York-based Champalimaud Design.

The furnishings juxtapose timeless glamour and traditional features with a modern, countryside style, creating a unique blend of past and present. It’s the perfect base from which to explore the area or just immerse yourself in history against the backdrop of the delightful village of Bray.

Beautifully situated on a private island in the River Thames at Bray, visitors will again have their very own private countryside escape to enjoy, surrounded by picturesque views and beautifully manicured gardens.

Following YTL Hotels’ superb renovation, its luxury accommodation and acclaimed dining are the perfect addition to Bray, a village beloved of international gourmands for its four Michelin-starred restaurants. This is the latest stage in the amazing history of a small Thames island.

Monkey Island enjoys a remarkable and intriguing history. Its exotic moniker is a source of debate, which some historians link to the Church’s early ownership. In 1197, monks attached to Merton Priory settled nearby, building fishponds close to the island christened Monks Eyot (island) – the possible root of the modern name.

It took 300 years for the clergy to finally release its ageing grip, selling it onto the Englefield family. Change was in the air, hastened by the 1666 Great Fire of London when barges dumped rubble from the capital’s reconstruction onto the island, raising it above flood level and creating a suitable site for building.

Cue the 3rd Duke of Marlborough. He bought the land in 1723 to create an angling retreat like no other. He commissioned two buildings from Palladian architect Robert Morris: a two-storey Fishing Temple and octagonal Fishing Pavilion for sleeping and entertaining.

The ceiling of the Pavilion’s ground-floor Monkey Room, completed by 1738, was slathered in singerie: depictions of monkeys punting, fishing and hunting by French specialist, Andie de Clermont. 100 yards away The Temple’s interior was decorated with shells, mermaids, dolphins and Neptune in high relief plasterwork;
the work of Thomas Roberts of Oxford.

The Duke escaped to his fishing idyll for two decades before dying in 1758, leaving a more obvious reason for the island’s unique name. Rumours, completely unsubstantiated, added to the myth, claiming insane George 111 was banished here with a pet monkey.

Instead it was the common man who was increasingly enjoying the local river. By 1840 the Pavilion had become a riverside inn, where, 30 years later, Mrs Plummer the landlady served drinks through the bar window next to the Monkey Room.

It was the start of a golden era. Visitors included monarchs – a 1905 photograph shows Edward V11 enjoying afternoon tea under the walnut trees – and showbiz royalty such as famous singers Clara Butt and Dame Nellie Melba.

Sir Edward Elgar worked on his First Symphony Violin Concerto in The Hut, a house on the adjacent bank. Famous literary visitors included WW1 poet Siegfried Sassoon, and H.G Wells and lover Rebecca West, whose 1918 novel The Return of the Soldier centred on a past affair on Monkey Island.

The Duke’s old idyll was finally linked to the shore by a 1956 footbridge – the precursor to a joyous era when a banqueting room was cantilevered over the river, accommodation extended and live music, dinner dances and parties attracted a cosmopolitan crowd.

Its social peak was the 1964 Oxfam Ball, reported extensively in glossy social bible Tatler, where 1,400 guests descended for dancing, fundraising and cabaret with leading stars.

After earning multiple dining awards in the 1980s the island was sold, and the Grade 1 listed properties spiralled into decline. Thankfully that is now in the past. Following YTL Hotels’ expert renovation the new luxury hotel has reopened its doors. Were he alive today the Georgian Duke would surely be delighted.

Beautifully appointed guest rooms and suites have been created by New York-based, award-winning Champalimaud Design. Reflecting a contemporary, English country house feel, each room is custom furnished and features breathtaking views of the River Thames or the stunning grounds.

A stay at Monkey Island Estate is so much more than a room with a view. Guests can enjoy the use of a number of elegant and relaxing spaces, including the famous The Monkey Room, The Monkey Bar, The Whisky Snug, picturesque terrace and thoughtfully designed grounds.

Beautifully appointed guest rooms have been created by New York-based, award-winning Champalimaud Design. The Barn Rooms are located off the island, situated adjacent to our private residences.

Rooms reflect a contemporary, English country house feel, with each custom furnished, featuring views of the country estate and grounds. The Barn Double rooms feature a marble en-suite bathroom with walk-in shower.

Reflecting a contemporary, English country house feel, each room is custom furnished and features breathtaking views of the River Thames or the stunning grounds. The Temple Classic Double Rooms feature a marble en-suite bathroom with walk-in shower.

In addition to the elegant interior and luxury amenities, the Temple Terrace rooms benefit from either a terrace or balcony with seating, directly facing the River Thames, allowing you to fully immerse yourself in the tranquil island surroundings.

This Grade One listed suite provides picturesque views of the estate and the River Thames. Comprising of the master bedroom with separate seating area, dressing room and en-suite bathroom.

Encompassing the warmth of a period home with a stunning twist, these luxurious and exclusive private residences have an authentic charm, oozing a perfect blend of classic style and contemporary comfort.

The accommodation of the private residences, sweetly named to reflect their individual nature, are endearingly furnished with an attention to detail and keeping true to their classic character against the backdrop of the delightful village of Bray.

What was once the stable block to the Manor House of Bray in the 1780s, the residence has undergone transitions from a cobbler’s shop, an antique centre and a family home through the centuries.

Since the acquisition by MUSE, Bray House is now a little bijou gem – a self-catering private residence that has been dramatically re-designed and sympathetically restored to maintain the original character and historical features and within which, a unique Art Deco heart beats.

Situated steps away from the picturesque country lane by the church and just yards from the beautiful Lych Gate dating back to 1488 and the age of Charles II, this is the ideal base for a break from the madding crowds of the city.

A quaint and pretty 500-year-old private residence at the heart of Bray, Dormer Cottage has seen a loving restoration following the formal acquisition by MUSE.

Enchanting features include a spacious living area with exposed wooden beams that add to the charm with a welcoming open log fireplace that crackles with merriment.

Slate flooring, Stephani rugs, the dramatic burnt orange silk clad wall, gorgeous curtains and subtle lighting add a perfect blend of sumptuous and contemporary elegance. The self-catering private residence is kitted out with a Bang & Olufsen television and music system to ensure the best in entertainment needs.

This wonderful 19th century home is located next-door to Long White Cloud. Quaint yet specious, Sundial Cottage houses 3 large, gorgeous bedroom suites along with a high-spec kitchen-diner and cosy living room for unwinding in the evenings.

Guests can also make use of the beautifully kept, secluded garden. Sundial Cottage was also the home of the famed Sylvia Anderson, the creator of Thunderbirds.

Dining at Monkey Island Estate is always a delight; the surroundings are refined yet intimate and informal, and steeped in history. The cuisine is a delectable modern take on British classics, with produce freshly sourced from the gardens and surrounding countryside.

Choose to dine in the elegant main dining room or on the terrace with views of the River Thames. Afternoon Tea may be enjoyed here or in an entrancing setting with a famous Renaissance ceiling. Cocktails and drinks are served in front of the welcoming fireplace in the stylish bar.

With its vaulted ceilings, impressive wine wall and striking open-kitchen, The Monkey Island Brasserie in Bray is the perfect setting for a long lunch, quintessentially English Afternoon Tea or an exquisite dinner.

Classic French doors lead out to the picturesque terrace where guests can enjoy outdoor dining whilst admiring the idyllic views of the River Thames.

With its beautiful garden terrace, The Monkey Bar is elegant, contemporary and relaxed. Enjoy delicious light bites from the all-day bar menu and choose from a selection of bespoke cocktails, fine Champagnes and wines from the cellar.

Marvel at the monkey inspired, 17th Century frescos which adorn the ceilings of the Grade I listed Monkey Room. Relax and absorb the decades of history that surround you.

A well-kept secret staircase leads to an intimate Whisky Snug nestled above The Monkey Room, which provides a perfect finale to a grand evening on Monkey Island Estate.

Invite close friends and family members for an intimate private dinner at Monkey Island Estate or make it a late night by dancing the night away in our River Room or Marlborough Ballroom.

Whichever your choice, our dedicated events team will work closely with you to ensure every element of your event is delivered to perfection. Monkey Island Estates team of expert chefs have created delectable seasonal menus, showcasing only the best produce from our handpicked local suppliers.

Make the most of summer with a barbecue on the lawns at Monkey Island Estate. Relax and unwind on our tranquil lawn where our chefs will prepare your meal on the Barbecue in front of guests.

Our Barbecue service is an all-inclusive package, with offerings starting from £55 per person, which includes venue hire, BBQ meal consisting of three mains from the grill, two salads and two desserts finishing off the evening with Marshmallow skewers by the firepit.

Moored on the banks of the fish-tail shaped Monkey Island in Bray, a refuge of Georgian elegance, forest and seclusion in the middle of the River Thames, this luxury spa near London is the first of its kind.

Taking inspiration from its riverine surrounds, past inhabitants in the form of royalty, liturgy and literary stars, as well as elegant architecture, it is both a celebration of the power of water and the finest of boating retreats.

At Monkey Island Estate we believe your wedding day should be exactly as you have always dreamed it should be. A centuries-old retreat hidden in the River Thames, Monkey Island Estate offers the perfect setting for any event or celebration.

Accessed only by footbridge, boat or helicopter and surrounded by elegant gardens, Monkey Island Estate is reminiscent of a secluded paradise, yet is only 10 minutes from Windsor and less than an hour’s drive from Central London. Picturesque and private, this remarkable venue will create unforgettable and precious memories of your special event.

Whether you are looking to hold a dream countryside wedding with a marquee on our lawns, an intimate ceremony and dinner party in our graceful River Room or Spencer Suite or an elegant wedding in the stately Marlborough Ballroom, Monkey Island Estate has event space for every occasion. We can host up to 130 guests within the Pavilion or up to 300 guests in a marquee on our lawns.

A centuries-old retreat hidden in the River Thames, Monkey Island Estate offers the perfect setting for any event or celebration.

Accessed only by footbridge, boat or helicopter and surrounded by elegant gardens, Monkey Island Estate is reminiscent of a secluded paradise, yet is only 10 minutes from Windsor and less than an hour’s drive from Central London.

Picturesque and private, this remarkable venue will create unforgettable and precious memories of your special event. Featuring the stately and spacious Ballroom, the graceful River Room and our more intimate Spencer Suite and Boardroom, Monkey Island Estate has event spaces for every occasion.

Whether you are looking to hold a board meeting, a memorable corporate retreat, an important business conference or private dining event near London, we can accommodate all your needs.

Monkey Island Estate is perfect for a weekend break near London, ideally positioned to explore the quintessentially English village of Bray and the surrounding areas.

Set in the gorgeous Berkshire countryside, Bray sits on the banks of the River Thames and is just five miles from Windsor, home of the famous Windsor Castle – one of the official residences of the British Royal Family.

A quintessentially English village on the River Thames, Bray has become a must-visit destination for all foodies and is best known for boasting two of the four 3-Michelin-starred restaurants in the United Kingdom – Heston Blumenthal’s world-renowned Fat Duck and the Roux brother’s Waterside Inn.

Five miles from Bray, Windsor – with its strong Royal connections – boasts the world’s largest inhabited Royal castle. Attractions aplenty, restaurants and cafes on every street, charming English pubs and elegant wine bars, draw locals and visitors to this destination in their thousands.

Very few places manage to encompass such enchanting and quintessentially British characteristics, which is why Windsor is a main-stay on many must-visit lists.

Just two miles from Bray, Maidenhead has something to offer everyone, with more than a few hidden gems to explore. The accent is on art, music, drama and dance festivals. Other highlights include an array of excellent shopping, restaurants and leisure activities.

The village of Eton is rightly described by many as one of the most beautiful villages in England. Famous for housing the most exclusive public school in the country, take a trip to the village to absorb its charm.

A beautiful market town set in the stunning Oxfordshire Chiltern Hills and home of the Henley Regatta and Henley Festival.

Ascot is just over nine miles from Bray. Home to the most famous racecourse in the country, Ascot has a bustling high street with many independent shops, restaurants and cafes. During June, thousands flock to Royal Ascot, not only for the world-renowned race, but also for the accompanying display of fashion.

Marlow is without a doubt one of the most picturesque locations on the River Thames, set amongst the rich meadows of the river valley and alongside the woodlands of the Chiltern Hills.

The vibrant Georgian market town is made up of historic streets and an abundance of boutique shops, restaurants, cafes and bistros, all adding to the town’s unique charm. It is only seven miles from Bray.

Just over 10 miles from Bray, the thriving market town of Wokingham has retained much of its original character over the years. The town centre offers a range of high street retailers, independent shops, restaurants and easy access to a wide range of leisure and sports facilities.

One of the things that make Wokingham so desirable is the vast amount of things to see and do in the area. From long country walks at Dinton Pastures Country Park to buying fresh fruits and vegetables from the weekly town market, Wokingham has something for everyone.

The village of Dorney – two miles from Bray and on the north bank of the Thames – is home to the Eton College Rowing Lake, the venue for rowing events at the 2012 Olympic Games.

Dorney also includes the Dorney Court, well known from TV and film. Both the exterior and interior of the beautiful Tudor manor house are used for a variety of productions requiring an atmospheric location, such as Midsomer Murders.

The capital city of England is a city like no other. 30 miles from Bray, London offers world-class attractions such as Buckingham Palace, the London Eye,
Hyde Park and so much more.

Windsor Castle
Windsor Castle is the oldest and largest occupied castle in the world and offers an extraordinarily rich and varied day out. The Queen spends most of her private weekends at the Castle, which is also used regularly for ceremonial and State occasions.

Theatre Royal Windsor
This beautiful theatre nestles in the shadow of Windsor Castle and has gained a reputation for the quality of its productions and is currently one of Britain’s leading theatres.

Its repertoire is wide, ranging from the classics and traditional pantomime to first productions of new work some of which subsequently transfer to the West End.

Windsor Great Park
Explore 4800 acres of sweeping parkland, award-winning gardens, ancient woodland and forest trails. There is something for everyone within Windsor Great Park, at any time of year.

Highclere Castle
Designed by Sir Charles Barry, architect of the Houses of Parliament, this is considered to be one of the finest Jacobethan homes still in existence. Interest in Highclere Castle has soared in recent years, after it was used as the main filming location for the award-winning period drama Downton Abbey.

Ascot Racecourse
Ascot Racecourse is synonymous with quality, excellence and a truly memorable day out. The highlight of the year is Royal Ascot in June with five days of tradition, pageantry and style. Outside of Royal Ascot, spectacular racing takes place throughout the year with each raceday offering a unique theme and atmosphere.

Dorney Court
Dorney Court is one of England’s finest stately homes. It is a Grade 1 listed building, renowned for its architectural importance and historical significance, and any visit is a fascinating and unique experience.

The Savill Garden
The Savill Garden is one of Britain’s greatest ornamental gardens. It never fails to charm visitors who come to explore its 35 acres of contemporary and classically designed gardens and exotic woodland.

Relax in the splendour of Cliveden’s stunning gardens and explore the peaceful woodlands and Thames riverbank. Discover the delightfully colourful gardens with miles of walks and breathtaking views as well as a giant maze that will entertain all ages.

Hambledon Vineyard
Enjoy the delightful village of Hambledon with a tour of the oldest English vineyard established in 1952 or a scenic drive to explore charming English villages nearby such as Henley-on-Thames and Cookham.

Basildon Park
Basildon Park is an impressive Georgian mansion, surrounded by glorious parkland and furnished elegantly with 18th century architectural fixtures and fittings.
It is a National Trust property.

Largely due to its heathland, Berkshire is a favourite county for thousands of golfers. In total, there are 44 golf courses in the Royal County, and the Berkshire Golf Club is one of only three clubs that can boast two heathland courses positioned in Britain & Ireland’s Top 100.

Alexandra Gardens
Boasting not only an expanse of open, green space, Alexandra Gardens also includes an 18-hole mini golf course as well as an ice rink during the winter months.

Bray Lake
Take part in a variety of water sports at Bray Lake. Enjoy Stand Up Paddle Boarding, Windsurfing, Kayaking, Dinghy Sailing and Open Water Swimming. The Centre is open seven days a week and offers equipment hire, holiday courses and private tuition.

Private Boat Hire
Make the most of our beautiful riverside location and enjoy a private boat trip along the Thames. You will be met on the Estate’s private jetty and in two hours be taken downriver past the Marinas, Islands, Hotels and beautiful scenery through Boveney Lock, around Windsor Racecourse to see Windsor Castle and back to the Estate.

Alternatively, you can be taken through Bray Lock to see The Waterside Inn, a mile of beautiful riverside houses to Bray and Maidenhead and then back to the Estate.

Windsor Canoe and Kayak Tours
With the magical backdrop of the Royal Town of Windsor and Windsor Castle, enjoy guided or independent canoe and kayak tours on the River Thames.

Horse-Drawn Carriage Tours
Explore Windsor and the Great Park in style with a horse-drawn carriage tour – a truly memorable experience.

Royal Windsor Horse Show
May. Royal Windsor Horse Show is the UK’s largest outdoor premier show and takes place in the stunning grounds of Windsor Castle. The show hosts
5* International Show Jumping along with 4* International Dressage and 4* International Carriage Driving.

Art on the Street
June. Art on the Street sees over 100 artists selling fine art, prints and photography against a backdrop of fantastic entertainment – music, performances,
delicious street food, free workshops and activities.

Royal Ascot
June. Royal Ascot attracts the finest race horses in the world. From the traditional dress code to the event’s rich history, the experience is one not to miss.

Henley Royal Regatta
July. Like Royal Ascot, Henley is a feast for lovers of rowing and stands as the best known regatta in the world. Over its five days there are more than 200 races of an international standard, ranging from famous Olympians to crews making their debut at the event.

Best of British Festival
July. Including live music from Tony Hadley, DJ Vernon Kay and Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club. Set within the stunning and world-famous Royal Windsor racecourse.

Royal Windsor Summer Show
July. The Royal Windsor Summer Show takes place in July with over 100 competitive classes for all ages and abilities in horticulture, cooking, baking, flower arranging and crafts along with a full day of entertainment, demonstrations and activities for all ages.

Royal Swan Upping
July. The traditional ceremony of Swan Upping takes place in the third week of July and is carried out to allow the Queen to exercise her right to ownership of all unmarked swans.

A team of boatmen dressed in royal scarlet coats, have the job of corralling, catching and marking the swans on the water between Eton in Berkshire and Abingdon in Oxfordshire.

Windsor Festival
September. Each year we invite the world’s finest musicians, writers, artists, and local performers to entertain and delight festival audiences, to celebrate Windsor’s special place as a Royal town, and to inspire the next generation of artistic talent and creativity.

Windsor Contemporary Art Fair
November. Often referred to as ‘the friendliest, most relaxed and welcoming Art Fair’, The Windsor Contemporary Art Fair is a prime opportunity for art lovers – and anyone who wants to learn more about art – to come to see and buy works by some of the UK and Europe’s leading contemporary artists and galleries.

Rooms: 40
Price: from 196 EUR per night


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