Sunday, 16 September 2012

Cliveden House - a must visit!

 Once the pins were in ...

... we’re off to see how long it will take to walk up to Cliveden House ...

... a sneak view through a gap in the fence at one of the lodges ...

... Spring Cottage on the riverside
Cliveden Shop

The Concrete Tree in The Gas Yard is believed to have been commissioned by Waldorf Astor in 1893.  The Gas Yard produced gas for the house until 1907 when his wife Nancy had a generator built close to the house and electricity was installed.

The Forge ...

... with it’s 1961 calendar

Crocus on the lawn ... in September !!

Rest a-while on this fantastic seat made from a huge tree trunk by the Duke of Sutherland statue

The views from the top of the hill are absolutely stunning!

Early morning on Thursday ...

... through the galley hatch ...

... promises a great day!

Much as I love hubby George (and Molly of course) I do love occasionally to spend a day on my own exploring places that interest me ... so ...

I set off up the hill at 11:30 and came first to The Tortoise Fountain ...

... with its view of the River Thames far below!

A great start to my day out.

My first glimpse of the magnificent Cliveden House from The Ring ...

... with the statue of The Rape of Proserpina (original in the Victoria and Albert Museum)

The front of the house which faces south ...

The house appears to be built of stone but is actually built of red brick with a facade of concrete to give the stone appearance

Looking from the terrace at the Parterres and that statue in the distance

The Parterres is kept in immaculate condition by volunteers.

This appears to be a new addition - if it is then the stonemasons of today are at least as good as their predecessors...
... and the view from there down to the Thames

The Duke of Buckingham (1666-96) who built the first Cliveden House took the daughter of the Duke of Shrewsbury as his lover and moved her into Cliveden.  Buckingham’s wife told him that she didn’t think it appropriate that she should have to live in the same house as her husbands mistress and he agreed!  He told her that he’d arranged for her coach to be available that afternoon to carry her to back to her father's!  It was here in the garden in 1668 that Buckingham killed the Duke of Shrewsbury in a dual.

The ‘not so impressive’ hotel entrance (my opinion)

Marble Sarcophagus with Endymion - Roman AD c. 230 ...

... and with Theseus - AD c. 240-250

The magnificent water tower (finished in 1861) with its circular staircase

A very old Black Mulberry tree, complete with mulberries

Queen Ann’s Vase (early 18th century)
Notice the huge bundles of Mistletoe high in the trees.

The Fountain of Love seen from the Illex Grove

The Blenheim Pavillion (probably around 1727)

The Amphitheatre (1720) ...

... and another thrilling view!

Statues are scattered all around the garden - Joan of Arch on the right

Ancient granite baboon statues believed to be 2 -2,500 years old purchased in Rome in 1898 by William Waldorf Astor Cliveden’s wealthy American owner

The Renaissance Long Garden has some impressive topiary
(made me smile, as this centre walkway is ‘plastic grass’ to keep it looking immaculate I presume)

The Fountain of Love (from the rear)

... and the front

A ‘river’ of sedum leads the eye to ...

... The Wounded Amazon and ...

.. other statues in the Secret Garden

The gardeners have their work cut out to keep the hedges in tip-top condition

The Fountain in the Water Garden

The Octagon Temple c. 1735 is the final resting place of the Astor family
The gold and coloured mosaic inside is breathtaking ...

... as is the view and the stained glass windows

An unexpected view as I return to the visitor centre to meet George and Molly and return to Rock n Roll after a brilliant day.

I’ve walked at least twice as far as I needed to today, doubling back on myself once or twice (or more) after becoming 'lost’ to ensure that I’ve seen everything that there is to see and had a wonderful time - Cliveden House is a MUST visit if you’re on the Thames!


  1. Did one not partake of lunchon ?

    1. Hi Alf - no I didn’t - I enjoy eating alone and I’m sure it would have been too ‘rich’ for me in all the senses of that word!

  2. sorry to be pedantic but the correct spelling is Cliveden (I'm a volunteer there). So pleased you enjoyed your visit :-)

  3. Thanks for that - blog duly amended