Bestwood Lodge Hotel, a Victorian-era mansion in Robin Hood country, is haunted by the ghost of a King’s mistress, and the curious scent of oranges, says RICK HALE
Bestwood Lodge Hotel
Bestwood Lodge Drive, Arnold
Nottingham NG5 8HT
Nottingham, a city in East Midlands, has been synonymous with the swashbuckling adventures of Robin Hood, an outlaw who lived by the credo of, rob from the rich and give to the poor.
Sharing the town with this outlaw with a heart of gold is the Bestwood Lodge Hotel.
It’s an imposing Victorian era lodge in nearby Arnold that is supposedly haunted by a scandalous 17th century actress and possibly others.
History Of Bestwood Lodge Hotel
Bestwood Lodge was built in 1364, after King Edward III, sent instructions to Robert Maule of Linby,custodian of Bestwood park to build a grand hunting lodge.
The King needed a place to stay whenever he visited, and the area did not have any accommodations suited for a king.
Throughout its almost seven hundred year history, several kings called Bestwood Lodge their home away from home when traveling in the region.
Bestwood Lodge received its first renovation in 1593, when Elizabeth I commissioned Thomas Markham, to chop down 86 trees for repair to the lodge.
In 1860, the original building was torn down and replaced by the Gothic style house we see today.
33 years later a devastating fire ripped through the house destroying several rooms and 25 priceless works of art owned by the family.
In the 20th century, Bestwood Lodge served a much different purpose when it was used as the headquarters of the Army during World War II.
The lodge remained the property of the MoD until the 1970s when it was converted into a hotel.
The Haunting Of Bestwood Lodge Hotel
As far back as the 1940s, there were rumours that the Lodge was haunted.
Even several servicemen who worked at and resided there had encounters with supernatural activity they could not understand.
It wasn’t until the 1970s, when the building was turned into a hotel, that the stories of the building being haunted became more than just rumours.
The Ghost Of Nell Gwynn
Elenor ‘Nell’ Gwynn, was a well known 17th century actress who was one of the first women to perform on stage.
Nell’s beauty and grace caught the attention of King Charles II and he took the actress as his mistress.
After carrying on their affair for several weeks, Charles moved Nell into Bestwood Lodge, and it’s believed she never left her beloved country home.
The ghost of Nell Gwynn has been witnessed walking along the corridors of the hotel. But, her spirit is said to manifest in an unusual manner.
Guests who have stayed in Nell’s room have reported the the pleasant scent of oranges wafting through the room.
When they inspect the room for oranges or oranges peels, none are found. Reportedly,oranges, were the favourite fruit of the famous thespian.
Down In The Cellar
The dark recesses of the hotel’s cellar is a place that hotel staff try to avoid going at all costs.
It’s believed that several bodies are buried down there, and if the stories are to be believed, their souls never left.
Upon entering the cellar, employees have reported hearing disembodied voices laughing and having conversations.
They have also caught glimpses of of shadows cast on the cellar walls when no one other than them is present.
A Hair-raising Experience
One staff member had a bone chilling experience in the cellar they will not soon forget.
He went down to the cellar to change out a barrell when the lights went out, bathing him in darkness.
While he stood there he heard a male voice say in his ear, “Can I help you, good sir?”
After running upstairs as fast as he could, he discovered to his fright, that no one was playing a prank.
He was the only person in the cellar. Well, the only living person I suppose.
What The Hotel Offers
The Bestwood Lodge Hotel is a charming Victorian era hotel, with 40 en-suite rooms that are individually and tastefully decorated.
There are two bars and a restaurant, both reflecting the hotel’s Victorian appeal.
The Bestwood is also a popular venue for weddings and offers a variety of wedding packages to suit your special day.
Out And About
The town of Nottingham is a mere three miles away, and has much to offer in the way of shops, pubs, restaurants and museums.
And if you’re the outdoorsy type, Sherwood Forest is only ten miles away. See the woods that hid Robin Hood and his band of outlaws from the devious Sheriff.
Bestwood Lodge Hotel offers comfortable rooms for you and the family. And plenty of ghosts for the paranormal enthusiast.
You can read about haunted Nottinghamshire here.