History & Heritageof The Old Ship Hotel

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Our Property

With parts of the hotel dating back as far as 1559, The Old Ship Hotel is steeped in history and royal connections. Starting off as a cottage on Ship Street, the distinctive property has come a long way to become the coastal retreat that it is today.

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Evolution of an iconic building

Acquired in 1671 by Captain Nicholas Tettersell and later by the Bacon family in 1852, the previous Tudor cottage has seen significant house-by-house extension towards the sea over hundreds of years. The first two houses, today containing bedrooms 157-153, were linked to The Old Ship Inn by a stone spiral staircase that still sits within the hotel. Some years later, in 1703, a great storm hit, sweeping away shops and cottages, leaving the Old Ship Hotel in the same idyllic location it boasts today.

Addition of unique spaces

The hotel which is now over 450 years old, boasts a number of unique spaces stemming from its rich history. In 1769, with the encouragement of George, Prince of Wales, a gracious function room, now known as the Gresham Suite, was purpose-built for royal visits. Much later, in 1995, a series of smugglers’ tunnels were discovered in the basement. Lined with French stone and English brick, these tunnels were reopened within the hotel as wine cellars - perfect for events & private dining.

A Royal Affair

Since its establishment as a prestigious seafront venue, The Old Ship Hotel has been graced with the presence of a number of famous faces. The first came in 1831 with the arrival of Italian violinist, Niccolò Paganini, from whom the Paganini Ballroom gets its name. Other celebrities closely followed, including Charles Dickens, who gave one of his readings in the same room in 1841, and five years later, W. M. Thackeray, who incorporated the hotel into his infamous literature, Vanity Fair.

A modern convenience

Located in the heart of the vibrant city of Brighton, The Old Ship is easily accessible from London by road and rail and is perfect for discovering Brighton’s fascinating Regency past, strolling on the promenade, or simply enjoying a day on the beach.

King's Road Brighton BN1 1NR
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