Incredible new drone pictures show how a half built Uckfield mansion stands today, after being abandoned in the Sussex countryside.

The images include an aerial shot offering a fascinating glimpse into what the magnificent structure looks like inside.

Hamilton Palace was built for a notorious property owner, once dubbed Britain’s youngest millionaire.

Flydrone Photography said that due to the reputation that surrounds the property, a lot of drone users won’t fly the

If you want to stay in the know with all the latest news, reviews and features from SussexLive then you can sign up to our daily newsletter email.

Each day we’ll be sending you a selection of our top stories from across our county, as well as breaking news so you can be the first to know.

Signing up to the SussexLive newsletter means you’ll get the latest news direct to your inbox each day. It couldn’t be simpler and it takes seconds –  OR here, enter your email address and follow the instructions.

But the risk was worth it., as the stunning pictures capture the magnitude of the remarkable mansion – and the sorry state it remains in today.

The property is bigger than Buckingham Palace and was once said to be the most expensive private house built in Britain for a century.

But 35 years after work on the enormous £40 million mansion began in 1985, it remains no more than a huge shell and has been labelled the Ghost House of Sussex.

After work halted in 2001, the mansion lies mostly abandoned, unfinished and surrounded by acres of countryside.

An aerial shot of Hamilton Palace
An aerial shot of Hamilton Palace (Image: FlyDrone Photography)

Hamilton Palace was designed for British multi-millionaire Nicholas van Hoogstraten, one of the wealthiest people in Sussex —

It’s been the subject of immense investment despite the fact that no one has ever lived in it and there is little sign that anyone ever will.

But despite its scale, there is little to hint at its presence as you approach. It is hidden away off of an unassuming junction on the A22 south of Uckfield in East Sussex and the house, bigger than Buckingham Palace, is completely obscured by a thick wooded area.

Hamilton Palace is bigger than Buckingham Palace
Hamilton Palace is bigger than Buckingham Palace (Image: FlyDrone Photography)

The closest glimpse you can get on foot is of a gated entrance onto the estate that gives nothing away, aside from a bricked unit and a large, white container. But there is a definite sense of unease. Stuck on the gate is a sign ‘High Cross Estate, Private Property, Keep Out’ written in capital letters.

If that’s not enough, multiple other signs warn of “shooting in progress”, “dogs running free” and CCTV being in operation. It is a clear message: do not try and come in.

It appears not many have, with most recent photographs taken by drones and older photographs taken on site apparently when work was still ongoing.

Those photos show an an eerie building, shrouded in scaffolding and overgrowing foliage, with discarded containers, construction equipment and other items littered throughout the grounds.

It doesn’t look like anything has happened at the site for a long time.

Few have been inside, but one reporter who did, in 2000, when it was said to be two years off completion, described a grand central staircase and reception hall, with lift shafts already installed and expensive stone balustrades and pillars.

Low-level lighting had been installed on the roof, where there was to be a garden, and there was space for a fountain below. One entire floor was due to house van Hoogstraten’s art collection.

Nicholas van Hoogstraten, now Nicholas von Hessen in 1967 (L) and in 2020 (R)
Nicholas van Hoogstraten, now Nicholas von Hessen in 1967 (L) and in 2020 (R)

Today, the domed roof of the main building still rises over the top of the treeline and remains visible from a distance from the nearest set of houses in the hamlet of Palehouse Common.

Van Hoogstraten, a convicted criminal who is now 75 and goes by the name of Nicholas von Hessen, is a Sussex native born in Shoreham who owns dozens of properties in the area.

He is said to have started making money selling stamps as a teenager before moving into property and, by the age of 22, had 350 properties in Sussex alone. In the 1980s housing boom he acquired more than 2,000 properties and had sold 90% of them by the 1990s.

Over the past couple of decades, he has been involved in widely reported disputes with neighbours over the huge estate.

Hamilton Palace in 2000, when work was still ongoing (Image: Mirrorpix)

Locals have previously vented about the large area being left unused and there was a row over a public footpath that ran through it that van Hoogstraten did not want to be used.

In answer to those complaints, he is quoted as saying “even the most moronic of peasants would be able to see… that we have been busy landscaping the grounds of the palace so as to prepare for scheduled works”.

And he has also denied that the house is falling apart, saying: “Hamilton Palace is far from ‘crumbling’ and was built to last for at least 2,000 years. The scaffolding only remains as a part of ongoing routine maintenance such a property would require until completion.”

It is thought the estate is now owned by his children through the company Messina Investments.

Share this