A summer of adventure at Cliveden

Children building woodland dens

If you’re looking to get the whole family outside this summer, look no further. Cliveden has something to offer everyone, whether young in body or young at heart.

Summer trail

The summer gardens at Cliveden are in full bloom and waiting to be explored by young adventurers. Come along for Cliveden's fun Come Out and Play summer adventure where families can explore nature and get active around the grounds. 

Boating

Cliveden Reach is renowned as one of the prettiest stretches of the Thames and has long been the backdrop for summer fun and adventure.  Why not book your own river trip with our boating partners, Boating at Cliveden.  Boating at Cliveden offer a boating service for our visitors, running daily between April to October, subject to river and weather conditions. To reduce pollution, the fleet is fully electric with skippered cruises and self-hire vessels including; electric motor boats, Canadian canoes, rowing boats and a pedal boat.  

Electric Boat Hire on River Thames at Cliveden
Electric launch hire at CLiveden
Electric Boat Hire on River Thames at Cliveden

The Rose Garden

Reinstated in 2014, Cliveden's Rose Garden is based on an original 1950s design by renowned garden designer Sir Geoffrey Jellicoe. Over 900 roses create a colourful summer-long display.

The Rose Garden's planting design is based on Lord Astor's original aspirations to create a garden that absorbs its visitors, through the introduction of tall roses in the outer beds and shorter roses on the inside. The repeat flowering roses gently phase from pale yellows in the east through vibrant oranges to deep velvety reds in the west, creating the illusion of a sunset.

The Rose Garden blooms from mid-June until late September. If you’re inspired to add some rose to your own garden, we have a selection of the David Austin varieties planted here for sale in our shop during the summer months.

Rose Garden, Summer 2020
Rose Garden Summer 2020
Rose Garden, Summer 2020

Woodland Walking

If you are enchanted by our woodlands and want to see more then why not try our Blue Walking Trail? You can start from the play trail and follow the blue arrows to take a short circular route.

Just beyond the woodland car park you can discover our striking elephant, bear and tiger wood carvings as well as the famous Cliveden snails ornately crafted by local woodcarver Nick Garnett. These wooden snails, carved using a chainsaw, represent the tiny snails that were 'imported' from Rome in 1896 in the Borghese Balustrade.

Don’t forget to also keep a close eye out for the variety of birds, bats and bugs that live here, and if you're feeling adventurous, why not do a spot of bug hunting?

Cliveden’s Woodland Play Trail

Created using the lay-out of the woodland this all-natural play trail is a great opportunity to explore the woods and let imaginations run free.

Why not while away an hour or two on our log stepping stones, balancing beams, rope swings and more? There are also opportunities to strengthen your climbing and den building skills along the way.

Situated in the heart of our woodlands just beyond our entry kiosk, off Green Drive, the play trail is a great way to get active outdoors and all in the name of fun. Designed with children aged 6+ in mind.

Just next to the play trail you will also find Clive's Den, our extra special natural den for make-believe of all kinds. Clive's Den is big enough for the whole family hide in plus there's wooden musical chimes to play and it's a great secluded spot to pop your feet up at our tree trunk picnic tables.

Cliveden's Giant Maze

Can you find your way to the centre of Cliveden’s Giant Maze?  Our current maze is based on one that was built for the 1st Viscount Astor in 1894 and has over 500 metres of paths winding amongst two-metre high hedges. The maze covers approximately one third of an acre, making the maze the same size as the world-famous Hampton Court maze.

We started work recreating the giant puzzle in 2009 and it was officially opened on Friday 8 April 2011 by renowned gardener, broadcaster and writer Alan Titchmarsh. The maze’s beautiful hand-forged wrought iron gates were created by Chris Collman from Burnham who is known locally as The Wrought Iron Man. The gates have a strong Victorian influence and commemorate both Lord Astor’s original maze and our recreation.

Cliveden Maze
The maze at Cliveden in Buckinghamshire
Cliveden Maze

Picnicking

The beautiful setting is provided, all you’ll need to do is pack a picnic and a blanket to have all the ingredients for a perfect summer meal al fresco. Whether dining in the idylic Illex Grove or the Japanese inspired Water Garden, there's always a cosy spot for you to lounge in Cliveden's historic gardens.

Whilst you're here...

  1. 50 things to do before you're 11 ¾ - Pick up a booklet from the Information Centre and have fun completeing the National Trust's 50 suggestions to get children close to nature.
  2. The Doll's House Café - Enclosed in the 'Storybook Play Den', this little pit-stop is the perfect place to pick up a quick coffee and a snack.  
  3. The Woodlands offers you and the children a chance to really stretch your legs. Within the acres of foliage you'll find the Natural Play Trail, where little one's can challenege themselves by building, balancing and climbing.