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Cliveden - A Legendary Stately Home

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 Cliveden - A legendary stately home with a blue-blooded history and a frisson of political scandal

Think renowned hospitality, extraordinary extravagance and a glamorous past and you have Cliveden in a nutshell. Everyone who is anyone has stayed here, the most famous hostess of all being Nancy Astor.

The surroundings are so impressive you could be on the set of ‘Atonement’ or ‘Brideshead Revisted’. The long gravel drive leads you through 376 acres of parkland and magnificent formal gardens to the lavish grandeur of the house. Glimpses of the vast marble fountain and stunning thousand-yard parterre are a foretaste of the incredible curiosities that fill the beautiful gardens.

Every design detail of the splendid décor is so carefully thought through, that you feel like one of Nancy Astor’s house guests. The bedrooms, each named after a prominent figure from Cliveden’s past, are richly decorated and come equipped with four members of staff, so flawless service is guaranteed. The Nancy Astor suite, one of the grandest in the world, certainly lives up to the celebrated style of its namesake.
For over three centuries Cliveden has been a byword for fine dining, a tradition that continues in delightfully individual settings. Classic cuisine in the grand Terrace Dining Room; remarkable contemporary menus at Waldo’s; and the Duke of Westminster’s personal stables converted into an informal gastropub.
Staying at Cliveden is the pleasure of sheer luxury, it rivals one of my favourite places to stay, Babington House.
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A riverbank secret

Right on the edge of the tranquil River Thames and nestled in the woods is Spring Cottage. Originally built as a secluded summerhouse, this charming hideaway was much frequented by Queen Victoria who loved to take tea in the gardens. Now it is the most peaceful place to stay and it even comes with its own personal butler.

Have your own Profumo Affair in aristocratic luxury, and add your name to the guest list which has included Joseph Kennedy, George Bernard Shaw, Mahatma Gandi, and F.D. Roosevelt. Historically and architecturally spectacular.

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The Thames is irrestistable, and no better way to ply its waters than abroad one of the magnificent restored vessels at Cliveden. My favourite is the Liddesdale, an electric canoe commissioned by Lady Astor. Its silence contributes to the tranquillity and allow’s you to hear the lap of water as you sip Champagne. It floats my boat.


If you’ve ever fancied the idea of polo and would like a taster of the sport, it behoves you to contact Cool Hooves who will make the plans. In the prestigious environment of the Royal Country of Berkshire Polo Club you’ll learn to swing a mallet and ride a polo pony. Privately, in a small group, or en familie, it’s so much fun.


Do you love your pooch so much you just don’t want to leave them at home? Bring them to Cliveden, they love dogs. Their tails wil wag off when you tell them in a demented voice about 250 acres to bound through and rabbits to chase. Chef will cook up canine cuisine, and dog sitters will pat your pet while you dine quietly. Woof woof!

On the ball

Ladies and gents who love a round of golf must go to the lovely Burnham Beeches Golf Club for local prestige. An elegant clubhouse complements the championship course which measures 6,458 yards. A par 70 course, it’s one of the region’s best golfing challenges. Head back to Cliveden in time for tea off with cakes.

Jules is editor in chief of, a cool lifestyle magazine.

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