Historic Sussex hotel that inspired Cluedo boardgame goes on the market for £1million


A historic home that inspired Cluedo (known as Clue in the United States) and once hosted Hollywood icons including Cary Grant, Bette Davis and Errol Flynn has gone up for sale.

Nestled in the quintessentially English village of Rottingdean, Sussex lies a once exclusive hotel that regularly welcomed movie stars during the golden age of cinema.  

The first edition of the iconic board game was even named Murder at Tudor Close after the former hotel, before becoming a hit sensational selling millions of copies around the world.

The Grade-II building in Dean Court Road, Rottingdean became the inspiration for the murder mystery classic after a 1937 refurbishment introduced a billiards room, ball room, ladies bar and restaurant.

Nestled in the quintessentially English village of Rottingdean, Sussex lies a once exclusive hotel that regularly welcomed movie stars during the golden age of cinema and inspired the classic murder mystery board game Cluedo

The private setting enjoys the grounds, church and mature trees which reveal the Rottingdean Mill in Beacon Hill Nature Reserve

The private setting enjoys the grounds, church and mature trees which reveal the Rottingdean Mill in Beacon Hill Nature Reserve

The Grade-II listed building, which was once an exclusive hotel used by Hollywood stars, has gone on the market for 'offers above £1million'. Pictured: The entrance to the famed property with a leaded shield of the Sussex Martlets

The Grade-II listed building, which was once an exclusive hotel used by Hollywood stars, has gone on the market for ‘offers above £1million’. Pictured: The entrance to the famed property with a leaded shield of the Sussex Martlets

And it has now gone on the market for ‘offers above £1m’ with the current owners saying they have continued the tradition and hosted popular Cluedo themed parties over the years there. 

Originally built in the late 1920s in a ‘Tudorbethan’ style, the premises was converted from cottages to a hotel in the 1930s.

The hotel’s developer, Charles William Neville, once quipped the venue was more popular in Hollywood than in England. 

And a young British actress and singer Julie Andrews is rumoured to have kickstarted her singing career here as her parents worked at the hotel.

In two decades as the Tudor Close Hotel, it was frequented by stars including Cary Grant, Bette Davis, Errol Flynn and a young Julie Andrews. Above: The inner hallway remains as it was when the property was a popular hotel

In two decades as the Tudor Close Hotel, it was frequented by stars including Cary Grant, Bette Davis, Errol Flynn and a young Julie Andrews. Above: The inner hallway remains as it was when the property was a popular hotel

Inside, the home boasts traditional oak doors, exposed beam ceilings and stone fireplaces within its stunning reception room (above)

The two luxury bathrooms retain a certain 20th century charm, as sympathetic improvements have been made to acknowledge the house's architectural importance

The two luxury bathrooms retain a certain 20th century charm, as sympathetic improvements have been made to acknowledge the house’s architectural importance

The spacious dining room, situated on the ground floor of the cottage, offers scope for plenty of entertaining parties

The spacious dining room, situated on the ground floor of the cottage, offers scope for plenty of entertaining parties

The gallery landing on the first floor makes the most of its L-shaped staircase and boasts historic features and high ceilings

The gallery landing on the first floor makes the most of its L-shaped staircase and boasts historic features and high ceilings

The wonderfully rustic kitchen is packed with high-spec appliances and is custom-made to offer subtle improvements

The wonderfully rustic kitchen is packed with high-spec appliances and is custom-made to offer subtle improvements

Other noteworthy features, include the hotel telephone booth in the entrance hall and a secret side passage leading from the kitchen to the bar (pictured)

Other noteworthy features, include the hotel telephone booth in the entrance hall and a secret side passage leading from the kitchen to the bar (pictured)

The origins of Cluedo

The board game Cluedo was first patented by Birmingham solicitor’s clerk Anthony E Pratt back in 1944 and was originally called ‘Murder!’ and designed to provide entertainment in shelters during lengthy air raids.

But the game wasn’t released until 1949 after it was picked up by Waddingtons who renamed it Cluedo – a play on the word ‘clue’ and ‘ludo’ which is Latin for ‘I play’. 

Unlike the version that board game fans came to know and love, Pratt’s original concept featured 10 characters, including names such as Mr Gold and Mr Brown, one of whom would be designated as the murder victim by random drawing at the beginning of each game.

It also featured a range of nine weapons, with murders committed using an axe, bomb, poison or even a fireplace poker.

Anthony E Pratt, inventor of the board game Cluedo

Anthony E Pratt, inventor of the board game Cluedo

In two decades as the Tudor Close Hotel, until it was restored to a private home in the 1950s, it was frequented by stars including Cary Grant, Bette Davis, Errol Flynn and a young Julie Andrews.

Visitors both then and now would have been immediately struck by the quarry tiles, vaulted ceilings and distinctive timber framed telephone booth that would have welcomed the guests. 

The iconic premises in East Sussex, was also the backdrop for the 1949 film The Adventures Of Jane.

Although it looks authentically Tudor with ornate chimneys, carved cables and leaded windows, the development was originally a small 1920s plot of cottages designed to keep skilled craftsmen at work during the Great Depression. 

At the time, workmen used reclaimed materials to construct the propery, so it is rumoured that many of the be that many of the impressive old beams are ship timbers and stone fireplaces are authentic. 

In the listing, agents Brand Vaughan, said: ‘Follow in the footsteps of Cary Grant and Bette Davies in this unique arts and crafts 4/5 bedroom house with a sunny terrace and a garage which once formed the main entrance, guest foyer and lounge of the famous 1930’s Tudor Close Hotel.

‘This was frequented by Hollywood stars and reputed to have invented the party game of Cluedo, with first editions called Murder at Tudor Close.’

The home now has traditional oak doors, exposed beam ceilings and stone fireplaces and a stunning reception room, which was formerly the lounge of the old hotel.

The L-shaped room, which features the original bar, is rumoured to have hosted Julie Andrews for song nights as her parents worked at the hotel.

Other noteworthy features, include the hotel telephone booth in the entrance hall and a secret side passage leading from the kitchen to the bar.

The agents added: ‘Grade-II listed to acknowledge its architectural importance, sympathetic improvements have created a sociable home with four or five quiet double bedrooms, two luxury bathrooms, stylish kitchen diner and an abundance of interesting features throughout.

‘These include the hotel telephone booth in the entrance hall, huge oak beams beautiful carvings and an open fireplace in one of the reception rooms.’

‘Historic and spacious homes of this type do not appear on the market often and sell fast.’

The gardens, enclosed on three sides by the sprawling property and bordered on the other by medieval St Margaret’s Church, offer privacy, allowing high-profile guests to let their hair down away from prying eyes. 

Roses cling to the front of the property and a paved terrace and a leaded shield of the Sussex Martlets can be enjoyed from outside

Roses cling to the front of the property and a paved terrace and a leaded shield of the Sussex Martlets can be enjoyed from outside

High points of the property include the hotel telephone booth in the entrance hall, huge oak beams beautiful carvings and an open fireplace in one of the luxury reception rooms (above)

High points of the property include the hotel telephone booth in the entrance hall, huge oak beams beautiful carvings and an open fireplace in one of the luxury reception rooms (above)

The property's four bedrooms are also full of character, and can help transport you back to early 20th century luxury

The property’s four bedrooms are also full of character, and can help transport you back to early 20th century luxury

Open fireplaces, comfy nooks and crannies, and carved beams meet modern luxuries, such as a custom-made kitchen packed with high-spec appliances, and three newly refitted bathrooms.

Upstairs, the three double bedrooms also come with modern luxuries, including a breathtaking fireplace in the master bedroom and a large en suite bathroom. 

The current owners of the property described Tudor Close as a ‘quiet, secure oasis in the heart of an historic village’.

They said: ‘The house is ideal for entertaining – friends have loved coming for our Cluedo parties – and everything we need – schools, shops, stations, stables and cinema are all within easy reach.’



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