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 throughout it’s history.


The Patteson family

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

Raising funds

A number of organisations and individuals helped raise the initial required funds and awareness for the work to start. Most importantly, our thanks to:

  • Department of Education and Skills
  • The Guide Association
  • Local Authorities
  • Units, Districts, Divisions, Local Associations and Trefoil Guilds all over Anglia

Subsequently, without the imaginative and very energetic fundraising, Hautbois Activity Centre would not be possible. These funds were used to extend the facilities of the house, providing first-class residential accommodation for roughly 30 people.


  • 1988 – Hautbois Activity Centre opened.
  • 1991 – Hautbois Shop 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 took place. 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 opened.
  • 2005 – Hautbois Activity Centre was left a sum of money by Princess Margaret when she passed away. 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 was 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, therefore helping Hautbois to be more environmentally friendly and energy-efficient.
  • 2010 – Hautbois Activity Centre participated in the Girlguiding UK Centenary and was host to 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 new climbing tower was built.
  • 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.  The Centre also adopted an exciting new logo with features representing key activities, climbing and canoeing.  On a more mundane note, the house was re-roofed which should now keep everyone dry for many years to come!
  • 2018 – Hautbois turned 30! The milestone was celebrated at our annual fun day with a new badge designed by a local guide, birthday trail and photos showing Hautbois’ history
  • 2019 – The Reedcutters’ Village welcome two additional cabins which increased capacity to 50. Stand Up Paddleboarding was also added to the many activities provided at Hautbois Activity Centre.

Our thanks

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

As a result, the main training room has been renamed Patteson Room, in the sisters’ honour. The family’s height chart, located behind the door in the old library (Hertfordshire Room), has been encased in plastic, preserving it’s history for posterity. Certainly, the Patteson sisters’ legacy will never be forgotten; and Girlguiding Anglia will always be proud to be the guardian for such a venue.

Friends of Hautbois

The Friends of Hautbois continue the Patteson legacy by supporting the centre. Please click here to find out more.