Cliveden Talks Service

Our talks offer an introduction to the estate and we hope you’ll be inspired to plan a visit to see for yourself how each family that fell in love with Cliveden added their own extravagant touch.

Our talks

Over the centuries Cliveden has been home to dukes, duchesses, earls, viscounts and for a while a prince. Our trained volunteer speakers bring the story of this glittering hub of society to you as they share how the various owners, their parties, politics and scandals left their mark on this country estate. We are able to offer a choice of two talks which explore different aspects of the estate’s history:
 
Cliveden: Passion, Pleasure and Politics – 1 hour
 
This introductory talk will take you on a journey through Cliveden’s 350 year history.  Starting with the Duke of Buckingham who built the first house here in 1666 you’ll meet all the key owners who helped shape the house and its gardens including the Orkney, Sutherland and Astor families.  The talk will be accompanied by an illustrated presentation to bring to life these individuals and showing how their influence at Cliveden continues to this day. 
 
Cliveden and the Astors – 1 hour
 
This illustrated talk takes a closer look at one of Cliveden’s most famous families, the Astors.  You’ll discover what motivated William Waldorf Astor, America’s richest man, to purchase Cliveden in 1893 and how the estate became the centre of high society in the 1920s and 30s thanks to his son Waldorf and daughter-in-law Nancy Astor.  The Astor’s time at Cliveden came to an end in the 1960s after the estate became infamously associated with Profumo Affair but the house and garden continue to reflect their innovations and passions.
 
" She was absolutely superb... this is a formal thank you to Jennifer for such an interesting, informative and very well presented talk. We are in awe of her ability to commit so much knowledge to memory. We all learned so many new and fascinating facts not only about Cliveden but also the Astors. We are now looking at organising a group visit there next year. "
- Susan Spearman, Vice President of Little Marlow and Well End WI on our speaker Jennifer James presenting 'The Astors'

Good to know

Locations: Our speakers are typically able to travel up to 20 miles from Cliveden. In the event that your venue is outside of this radius please contact us and we will see if we can help or recommend an alternative National Trust property.  Please note that our speakers can only attend events held in public buildings; they will not be able to provide talks in private homes.
 
Speaker requirements: Our speakers will require car parking close to the venue in order unload their equipment.  They will need access to the venue at least 30 minutes before the talk is due to start in order to set up their presentations.
 
Equipment: Our speakers use a PowerPoint presentation to illustrate their talk using their own laptop. If you are able to provide a projector and screen this would be very helpful, but if necessary our speakers can bring these with them.  Please let us know what equipment you can supply on your enquiry form.
 
Costs: We ask for a donation of £50 per talk to help us cover the cost of providing the talk service, including travel expenses for our volunteer speakers. 
 

How to book

Please contact us to discuss your requirements.  We will then send you our talks service enquiry form which will help us to get an understanding of your group’s needs and enable us to check the availability of our speakers.
 
Please contact Alice Huxley at alice.huxley@nationaltrust.org.uk or on 01628 605 069 ext.112.