Bid to convert former Royal residence

THE former scene of legendary Royal revelry looks set to be transformed once more into one of the eastern region's most popular social settings.Charles II's former Suffolk home, Palace House in Newmarket, from where he conducted his scandalous affair with Nell Gwynn and where he and his retinue gambled and drank when visiting the races is about to undergo another transformation.

THE former scene of legendary Royal revelry looks set to be transformed once more into one of the eastern region's most popular social settings.

Charles II's former Suffolk home, Palace House in Newmarket, from where he conducted his scandalous affair with Nell Gwynn and where he and his retinue gambled and drank when visiting the races is about to undergo another transformation.

The 17th century Palace House currently serves as the town's Tourist Information Centre and holds a licence for weddings and has hosted functions, but has been deemed to small for larger functions.

However, as part of Forest Heath District Council's programme of change under the Home of Horseracing project, which aims to capitalise on the Newmarket's rich sporting heritage and turn the town into a tourist hot spot, expansion plans are underway.


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The council now plans to develop the adjacent mews buildings of the Palace House Complex, in order to accommodate bars and catering facilities and open the site up to more public and private events.

Robin Millar, a Newmarket town and district councillor, said: "Palace House is an important factor in the future of the town and the Home of Horseracing project and we have an opportunity to broaden its appeal for conferences and meetings, to bigger groups and a wider section of the community, which is something Forest Heath has always tried to encourage.

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"This will hopefully become a real centre of community events in the heart of the town as well as an addition to the conference facilities we already have at he racecourse and the British Racing School."

The council has already allocated £250,000 to the restoration of the mews buildings, to make them structurally sound, and councillors will be asked to approve the next phase of the work at a council meeting on Thursday.

This will mean a further £150,000 to compete internal alterations of the Grade II* Listed buildings.

The 17th Century buildings form part of the original palace complex, which contains the country's oldest racing stables, which fell out of use following a fire in the 1980s.

Ultimately the council aims to transform the stables and surrounding land into a living working racing museum and visitor centre, housing the British Horseracing Museum and a racing hall of fame.

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