The Hautbois estate was bequeathed to Girlguiding Anglia in 1984 by the Patteson sisters, Philippa and Beth, who devoted their lives to guiding in Norfolk. This gift has benefited the hundreds of guests who visit each year and experience the delights of Hautbois.

Mrs. Patteson initiated the connection between Hautbois and guiding, starting the Coltishall Guide Company, partly as an interest for her daughters, so beginning their lifelong love of Girlguiding. This passion continued throughout their lives, and, as a lasting testimony to their commitment they generously left Hautbois and the estate to Girlguiding Anglia in 1984, with the earnest wish that the family home should be made into a Residential Training and Activity Centre.

Thanks to grants from the Department of Education and Skills, the Guide Association, Local Authorities and to the imaginative and very energetic fundraising by individuals, Units, Districts, Divisions, Local Associations and Trefoil Guilds all over Anglia, sufficient funds were provided for the work to start. These funds were used to extend the facilities of the house to provide first-class residential accommodation for roughly thirty people.


Hautbois Timeline

1988 – Hautbois Activity Centre opened

1991 – Hautbois Shop was opened

1994 – The first Climbing Wall was officially opened in March.

1998 – Hautbois celebrated their 10th birthday with the release of a new logo and the opening of the Climbing Boulder.

1999 – The first Annual Fun Day where visitors could come and enjoy adventurous activities, bouncy castle, go-carts, face painting and many games and raffles run by The Friends of Hautbois.

2000 – The first Aerial Runway and the Maze were opened

2005 – Hautbois Activity Centre was left a sum of money by Princess Margaret when she passed away and Hautbois invested in a wooden ship play area for all to enjoy which was named the “Margaret Rose” in her honour.

2007 – The new Hautbois shop was officially opened in April and was moved to within the house. Hautbois were re-branded to reflect the new structure and identity using a pink logo and the strapline ‘…where you can’. The lift was installed and opened and the new Eco dining room extension was unveiled, helping Hautbois to be more environmentally friendly and energy-efficient.

2010 – Hautbois Activity Centre participated in the Girlguiding UK Centenary hosting many events including: Guides Countdown 100, The Hautbois Princess Parties, Island Hop at Hautbois, Brownie Takeover and Girlguiding Anglia Centenary Garden Party to name a few.

2011 – The updated climbing tower was built which is on-site today

2013 – Hautbois celebrated 25 years with a Region camp on Oneida Meadow called ‘Anglia 13’

2014 – A new, improved Aerial Runway was built and the Discovery Zone was opened in January.

2016 – The new Reedcutters’ Village was opened.  Hautbois Activity Centre adopted an exciting new logo with features representing key activities, climbing and canoeing.  On a more mundane note, the house was reroofed which should now keep everyone dry for many years to come!


Our thanks:

Girlguiding Anglia in particular, and guiding in general, will forever be extremely grateful for this wonderful gift, and hope to fulfil the Patteson sisters’ wishes by ensuring that generations of future members will continue to visit and enjoy this fantastic facility.

The main training room has been renamed Patteson Room in their honour, and the family’s height chart, located behind the door in the old library (Hertfordshire Room), has been encased in plastic for posterity. Hautbois Activity Centre has welcomed thousands of guests from all over the world. The Patteson sisters’ legacy will never be forgotten, and Girlguiding Anglia will always be proud to be the guardian for such a venue.