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Cliveden House embodies the elegance and drama of a bygone age. Situated 40 metres above the River Thames, the house is now a luxury five-star hotel that goes by the name Cliveden House Hotel. The estate, which includes several magnificent gardens, a maze, woodlands, and boating opportunities, is now managed by The National Trust. Both house and estate are situated on the outskirts of the Chiltern Hills in Buckinghamshire and are the perfect destination for a family day out.
Cliveden House has a grand history, meaning that your family can follow in the footsteps of dukes, earls, and even royalty. Originally known as Cliff-dene, thanks to its commanding position on a chalk cliff, it was built in the 1660s by the Second Duke of Buckingham. Since then, it has been a glittering hub for society and scandal and has been owned by families including the Astors, all of whom developed the grounds, gardens, and building with their own unique style.
The results are secluded glades, tree-lined avenues, miles of woodland walks and picturesque riversides for your family to enjoy. Book a pedal or rowing boat to make the most of the boating experience on Cliveden Reach, a part of the River Thames rumoured to have inspired Kenneth Grahame to write The Wind in the Willows, so keep an eye out for Ratty and Mole. There are wonderful walks to enjoy through Cliveden House’s woodlands, and a flint grotto nestled in the trees. Dogs are allowed but follow the traffic light system, where green zones allow dogs off leads, amber zones require dogs on leads, and red zones are restricted to assistance dogs only.
There are also gardens for all the seasons. The Water Garden was built by Lord Astor at the turn of the twentieth century, and is a particular highlight for families en route to the play area, thanks to the wildlife that enjoy the surroundings. Watch for herons, ducks, geese, and the koi carp that swim in the ponds. The Water Garden is also particularly beautiful in spring, when the blossoms are out, or in autumn thanks to burning gold colours on the trees. Don’t forget to figure out the Cliveden Maze, either. Your kids can check out the lettuce and plums being grown in the Walled Garden, admire the roses in the Rose Garden (where over 900 roses flower), count the sculptures on the Fountain of Love, and marvel at the 19th Century grandeur of the Parterre.
Please follow the latest government guidelines if travelling by public transport.Government Guidelines
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The National Trust for Places of Historic Interest is a renowned charity and membership organisation in England, Northern Ireland and Wales that offers natural preservation for the most beloved heritage locations in the UK, including houses, buildings, coastlines, gardens and parks. With over 500 sites and attractions under their conservation and an ever-increasing 5.6 million members, the Trust is one of the largest wilderness and heritage protectors in the world and is now celebrating its 125th anniversary year since being founded in 1895.
With a National Trust membership, easily joinable via their website with family and lifetime options, you can enjoy free entry to all of their gardens, parklands and National Trust properties including the Giant’s Causeway in Antrim, Cliveden House in Buckinghamshire, Knole in Kent and hundreds more. Partly owned by H.R.H the Prince of Wales, the National Trust aims to protect, preserve and develop the most treasured locations and outstanding areas of nature in the UK so that they can be enjoyed by visitors from across the world.
Image © National Trust Facebook.