Nanoparticles of some of the metal oxides are known to have high UV protective efficiency. The UV filtering efficiency of nanoparticles invariably depends on their size and stability in the dispersion. In the present work, a stable dispersion of nanoparticles of three metal oxides, zinc oxide (ZnO), cerium oxide (CeO2) and titanium dioxide (TiO2), was prepared in propylene glycol (PG) using ultrasonication. The method is easy and useful as no additional surfactant or dispersant is needed. The particle size and its distribution was confirmed by Scanning Electron Microscopy and Dynamic Light Scattering. The stability of dispersion was assessed by UV–visible absorption spectroscopy. The UV stability of wood surfaces of Wrightia tinctoria coated with nanodispersions of ZnO, CeO2 and TiO2 was evaluated under laboratory conditions in an accelerated weathering tester. Changes in the colour and FTIR spectra of exposed specimens were measured periodically. Rapid colour darkening (yellowing) was observed in uncoated and PG coated specimens. In contrast, nanodispersion coated specimens prevented photo-yellowing considerably with significant reduction in colour changes examined by CIE L*, a*, b* and ΔE*. Increase in concentration of nanoparticles in the dispersion imparted higher resistance to UV induced degradation. However, increased concentration of nanoparticles reduced the transparency of the coating. FTIR analysis indicated rapid degradation of lignin in uncoated and PG coated specimens due to UV exposure. Coating of wood surfaces with nanodispersions restricted lignin degradation. The study also demonstrates the potential of propylene glycol as a dispersant for developing stable and efficient UV protective nanodispersions for wood coating.