Downe House


In 2019, NLMS Music Summer School moved to a new venue – Downe House – a girls’ day and boarding school in Cold Ash, a village near Newbury, Berkshire.  The school is set in a beautiful 110 acre estate in Berkshire, overlooking woodland and the Berkshire Downs. 

Down House School
Downe House School grounds


There is a plentiful supply of modern, purpose-built living accommodation, with a mixture of mainly single, and a few double rooms, mostly in groups of four rooms.  Some of these are on the ground floor, and these will be allocated on the basis of need.  We will be based in two sixth-form houses and all rooms will have washbasins with toilet and shower facilities nearby.

Sample bedroom
Sample bedroom


Downe House has a thriving Music department, with a wealth of musical ensembles for girls at all levels, from beginners to diploma-standard instrumentalists and singers. Accordingly, NLMS participants will be able to benefit from the school’s very high quality musical accommodation, including:

  • a modern Performing Arts Centre which has a large auditorium with hydraulic floor, ideal for concerts
  • a state-of-the-art new Learning Centre with a large performance space
  • a traditional concert hall
  • a chapel
  • a music block with rehearsal and practice rooms
  • plentiful supply of large classrooms for sectional rehearsals.

All the musical accommodation is modern, with good lighting.  There are plenty of small practice rooms with pianos, and other classrooms which will be set up for sectionals etc.

Performing Arts Centre


The dining hall is spacious – a very pleasant space with round tables and comfortable chairs.  There are multiple service points, so we should find that we are served quickly.

Main dining hall

There will be a large lounge and kitchen space at our disposal for the use of non-residents. And of course there will be a lounge and bar space!

Willis House 6th form space


There is a very good space next to the car park which is probably where we will set up reception.  There will be the usual MD’s office, music library, and Course Office.  Site security and access is controlled through individual security passes, which we will all be issued with – no need to remember various key codes.


In addition to the school’s large and beautiful grounds, we will be able use the swimming pool for an hour each day, squash courts, tennis courts and (for controlled use only) a very well-equipped sports hall.  All the usual NLMS services as in previous years, with the possible exception of newspapers, will still be available, including those of your very own personal shopper for anything you need to get from local shops, and, of course, a bar!

Swimming pool


The school is about 4 miles by road from Junction 13 of the M4 (Chieveley/A34), almost equidistant between Oxford, Swindon and Reading. The nearest major railway station is Newbury (accessible from the West Country and from Reading) and the best way to get to Downe House from there is by taxi, which should take about 15 minutes.  There is plenty of car parking, close to the accommodation.


Have you already explored the courses available?

>> Symphony Orchestra

>> Sinfonietta

>> Choir

>> Brass Ensemble

>> String Group


NLMS Committee members have made frequent visits to Downe House, and on each occasion have been unfailingly impressed by the standard of the accommodation and by the friendliness and professionalism of the staff.  We are unanimous in our view that this is an ideal place for the Summer School. 

So we can get an idea of numbers, please send in your application if at all possible by 28 Febuary 2019.

>> Find out how to apply

Photographs courtesy and © copyright Downe House School and Steve Walker