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Inside the world’s most luxurious clubhouse and country retreat – where dogs have their own bedroom


Finding yourself in the doghouse is not normally where you want to be. However, when the canine quarters in question have been dubbed the most luxurious in the world, exceptions must be made.

Set in the heart of the 11,000-acre Goodwood estate amid the West Sussex downlands, the golden brick and flint Kennels building was commissioned by the third Duke of Richmond in 1787 to house his beloved hounds. 

The Duke enlisted neoclassical architect James Wyatt – the most fashionable designer of the era – for the job.

The building comprises a central house, originally home to the huntsman, and long, low wings on each side where the hounds were kept. Attached were small open-air courtyards, where 30 couples (hounds are matched and counted in pairs) could enjoy the sun on their backs.

A portrait of Tapster, the third Duke’s favourite hound, immortalised in 1733 by John Wootton, takes pride of place in the Kennels entrance hall

A portrait of Tapster, the third Duke’s favourite hound, immortalised in 1733 by John Wootton, takes pride of place in the Kennels entrance hall

At the time, the kennels were cutting edge and famed for their central-heating system – lodges were lined on one side with large iron plates, heated from behind by fires, to keep the hounds warm. 

It was more than a century before central heating was installed in the estate’s main house.

The Kennels building is now the clubhouse for Goodwood’s members

The Kennels building is now the clubhouse for Goodwood’s members

While the Kennels and the later Hound Lodge are no longer home to hounds, they remain dog-friendly spaces. The current custodian of the Goodwood estate – Charles Henry Gordon-Lennox, 11th Duke of Richmond and Gordon – invited interior designer Cindy Leveson (levesondesign.com) to upgrade the Kennels, now a clubhouse, and transform Hound Lodge into a ten-bedroom country retreat.

Dogs have their very own bedroom in the garden of Hound Lodge

Dogs have their very own bedroom in the garden of Hound Lodge

‘Goodwood is a place that brings people together to enjoy and share their passions, sporting or otherwise,’ explains the Duke. ‘For us, a huge part of that story is dogs, which have remained a steadfast part of Goodwood, spanning back over three centuries to the first Duke’s arrival on the estate. 

The impressive Georgian dining table at Hound Lodge seats 20. The reproduction Georgian carver chairs were bought from a hotel sale. ‘They were a terrifying red colour – fake mahogany,’ says interior designer Cindy Leveson. ‘I had them painted black with a little gilding, rubbed back to look old.’ The oak-leaf chandelier is from Richard Taylor Designs

The impressive Georgian dining table at Hound Lodge seats 20. The reproduction Georgian carver chairs were bought from a hotel sale. ‘They were a terrifying red colour – fake mahogany,’ says interior designer Cindy Leveson. ‘I had them painted black with a little gilding, rubbed back to look old.’ The oak-leaf chandelier is from Richard Taylor Designs

With the beautiful Kennels and Hound Lodge we can continue the legacy of celebrating dogs in the style our visitors have grown accustomed to. Dogs often accompany our guests on stays.’

Leveson worked with Ptolemy Dean Architects to add two new wings to Hound Lodge and to create a large drawing room and a dining room. The former kennels have been converted into bedrooms, with newly restored dog enclosures. 

Brick outbuildings, once used for puppy births, have been furnished, complete with mattresses, to offer canine guests their own bedrooms.

Leveson’s eye for detail is revealed in each room. Hound Lodge is packed with collections relevant to country life and to the Goodwood estate. Books reference the family history, hunting or dogs. 

Beds come with eiderdowns, cashmere-covered hot water bottles, crisp sheets and soft blankets, while the mattresses are stuffed with wool from Goodwood estate sheep. The result is a unique space that encapsulates Goodwood’s spirit.

Lily the labrador finds a soft spot to sit in the Kennels. The sofa is upholstered in a Linwood fabric and cushions are from Oka

Lily the labrador finds a soft spot to sit in the Kennels. The sofa is upholstered in a Linwood fabric and cushions are from Oka

The current Duke has further showcased the family’s love for man’s best friend with Goodwoof, an annual two-day celebration of all things canine, hosted at the Kennels each May.

‘Dogs are more than just companions and it was only right to devise an event to honour them and the joy they bring to our families,’ he says. ‘Goodwoof does exactly that and is the latest iteration of how Goodwood celebrates dogs. 

This year’s event will be an extraordinary day out for the entire family, but most of all, for your dog.’



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