Press information - Cliveden key facts
Kensington palace has announced that Ms. Meghan Markle will stay at Cliveden House Hotel, on the National Trust’s Cliveden Estate, on the eve of her wedding to Prince Harry.
The National Trust was gifted the Cliveden estate in 1942 by William Waldorf Astor and the Trust is the longest owner of the estate in its history.
The estate now comprises 376 acres, with almost 100 acres which are formal grounds, looked after by around 100 staff and over 300 volunteers.
The Grade 1 listed house, now leased as a luxury hotel, is the centrepiece of the estate which includes numerous other buildings of national significance.
The estate is one the most visited National Trust properties, enjoyed by over 500,000 visitors each year. Set high above the Thames with far-reaching views, Cliveden’s impressive gardens and majestic woodlands capture the grandeur of a bygone age and tales of passion, pleasure and politics.
Throughout the year, visitors can explore a series of gardens, each with their own special charm. From the formality of the Parterre with its vibrant floral displays to the quirky statuary and topiary in the Long Garden, the gardens will delight in every season.
The formal gardens give way to secluded glades, tree-lined avenues and picturesque Thames riverside with miles of woodland walks to discover.
The house is now a luxury hotel but you can take a peek inside by joining a short guided tour on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday afternoons from March to end of October (timed ticket required).
With a history of grand connections and political intrigue Cliveden has many stories to share.
Enjoying a commanding position on a chalk cliff, the name Cliff-dene was given to the estate in the 1660s when the first house was built by the 2nd Duke of Buckingham.
An Italianate palace
Successive owners sculpted the gardens and landscape, sparing no expense to create a magnificent summer retreat. The current house owes its elegant architecture to Sir Charles Barry, famous for designing the Palace of Westminster. His decadent masterpiece, created for the Duke and Duchess of Sutherland in the 1850s, is the third house here, the other two having burned down.
The Astors' parties
Cliveden has always been at the centre of political and social life. However, it was while Nancy and Waldorf Astor lived here during the first half of the twentieth century that Cliveden became famous for its lavish hospitality and glamorous guests. The Astors entertained a diverse mix of people from Lloyd George and Winston Churchill to George Bernard Shaw, Ghandi and Henry Ford.
Cliveden has long had connections to royalty. It was for a while in the 18th century the home of Prince Frederick of Wales and it was later visited by Queen Victoria. And in the 20th century King George V was a guest of the Astors.
As a conservation charity, the National Trust has undertaken a number of conservation and repair projects at Cliveden and invests around £2 million a year in conservation projects. In recent years these have included the £5 million restoration of the Grade 1 listed South Terrace, thought to be the oldest surviving building at Cliveden. The project also included the restoration and repair of the historic 17th century ‘Sounding Chamber’.
Women and Power: Misrepresented?
Cliveden is a property with a history of powerful and inspirational females. Throughout 2018, in the women’s suffrage centenary, Cliveden is looking at four women who lived there and comparing different accounts of them from their contemporaries, the press, and the history books. How did people of their time view them? What legacy have they left behind and how do we see them now with the benefit of hindsight?
Cliveden’s women: an exhibition
Within the historic walls of Blenheim Pavilion is a display of local women’s portraits. Filled with the real-life stories of inspiring women, all of whom have a connection to Cliveden, their stories are brought to life by digital art photographer, Ray Higginbottom.
Contemporary art at Cliveden
Exhibiting sculpture outdoors has been a significant feature of the designed landscape at Cliveden since the 18th century, from large figurative works such as The Fountain of Love on the main drive, to bold architectural structures like Borghese Balustrade on the Parterre. This year, 15 pieces by eminent British sculptor Lynn Chadwick have been installed for exhibition, a partnership between the National Trust and Blain|Southern. The artist’s iconic bronze and steel sculptures are sited over twelve locations throughout Cliveden’s gardens, inviting visitors to reconsider the landscape and vistas.
For more about the history and people of Cliveden, further information about events and opening times, visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/cliveden
Cliveden, Taplow, Maidenhead, Buckinghamshire, SL1 8NS
About the National Trust
The National Trust is a conservation charity founded in 1895 by three people who saw the importance of our nation’s heritage and open spaces, and wanted to preserve them for everyone to enjoy. More than 120 years later, these values are still at the heart of everything the charity does.
Entirely independent of Government, the National Trust looks after more than 250,000 hectares of countryside, 778 miles of coastline and hundreds of special places across England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
More than 24 million people visit every year, and together with 5 million members and over 65,000 volunteers, they help to support the charity in its work to care for special places for ever, for everyone.
For more information and ideas for great seasonal days out go to: www.nationaltrust.org.uk
For a media image library of Cliveden please use the main link below. B roll footage of Cliveden House and Gardens is available from Dropbox: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/zllhbi0zgk1cl9j/AAAfZ3Y8_Rfn1cLP1sUlcykIa?dl=0