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Things to see in Cliveden's house and chapel

View of the interior of Octagon Temple at Cliveden, Buckinghamshire
View of the interior of Octagon Temple at Cliveden | © National Trust Images/John Bethell

Step inside Cliveden house, a place of intrigue and glamour for the elite since it was built in 1666 by the 2nd Duke of Buckingham as a gift to his mistress. Enriched with antique furniture and period features, it has stayed true to its roots while providing a luxurious setting to rest, meet and play.

Visiting Cliveden House

Cliveden House is currently leased as a luxury country hotel and generally not open to National Trust Visitors. However, from 6th March to 26th October 2023, on a Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, National Trust visitors can enjoy a 30-minute guided visit, every 10 minutes from 11am-12:30pm. Please ensure you have collected a ticket from the Information Centre on arrival, as these are first come, first served. Tickets cannot be pre-bookable in advance. Members are free and non-members £2 per visit.

There are certain dates when there will be no house visits available, these dates currently are:

Monday 20th March
Tuesday 21st March
Monday 10th April
Monday 1st May
Monday 8th May
Thursday 18th May
Thursday 25th May
Monday 29th May
Thursday 6th July
Monday 28th August
Monday 25 September
Tuesday 26 September
Thursday 28th September
Monday 2 October
Tuesday 3 October
Thursday 5th October
Monday 9th October

The visit

Our volunteer guides will take you on a journey along the ground floor bringing to life the indulgent history of the house that we see today. They will share with you the glamorous stories of the famous Astor dynasty and you will see where in the 1920, 30s and 40s guests such as Winston Churchill, George Bernard Shaw, Amy Johnson and a host of other famous figures were entertained.

The visit will also be an opportunity to see and hear how the National Trust is looking after this Grade 1 listed building and the conservation work it has and will be undertaking to keep Cliveden House forever for everyone.

House visits tickets

· Tickets available Monday, Tuesday and Thursday from 6th March to 26th October 2023 excluding bank holidays and when the house is unavailable.

· Entry to the house is by ticket only which are obtained on the day, only from the National Trust Information Centre in the main centre car parking area. We recommend you collect your ticket as soon as you arrive to ensure a place on a guided house visit.

· Visits run every 10 minutes from 11 am to 12:30 pm, dependant on guide availability.

· Tickets are free to National Trust members and £2 per person for non -members.

House visit meeting point

· Please make your way to the house, heading to the lawn on the left-hand side of the house where our guides will be waiting to welcome you.

· To access the most from the visit we ask that you arrive 10 minutes prior to the time on your ticket.


· The house is a working hotel and therefore the nature of a visit is more suited to an adult audience.

· Unfortunately, Cliveden house is not wheelchair or pushchair accessible, Visitors with frames/sticks/cane seats can access the house at their own discretion.

· Only assistance dogs are permitted on house visits.

The imposing large red facade of the house at Cliveden with neatly clipped terraced parterre in the foreground
The parterre and house at Cliveden | © National Trust Images/Hugh Mothersole
A view of the exterior of the chapel at Cliveden in winter
The Chapel in winter at Cliveden, Buckinghamshire | © National Trust Images/ Hugh Mothersole

The chapel

Head to the western side of the Parterre for a surprise; the unassuming domed building overlooking the river houses a wonderfully ornate chapel, also known as the Octagon Temple. The Chapel is open in the afternoons from 27th March to 28th October on a Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday from 1:30pm to 3:30pm, subject to volunteer availabilty and weather conditions.

From tea-room to chapel

Dating from 1735, the building was conceived for Lord Orkney by architect Giacomo Leoni. Guests would enjoy wandering along the cliff top paths before taking tea and enjoying the view from the ‘Prospect Room’.
In 1897 William Waldorf Astor proposed the idea of converting the tea-room into a splendid private chapel. The work involved major structural alterations to change the former two-storey building into a double height space. It boasts an inlaid polished stone floor, stained-glass windows and vibrant glass mosaics covering the walls.

Take a peek inside

The chapel is free of charge to National Trust visitors. Unlike the house visits, there's no need to pick up a timed ticket, simply pop in and our friendly, knowledgeable volunteer stewards will be on hand to chat and share the history of the building. There may be times when the Chapel has to remain closed due to conservation weather conditions or unavailability of volunteer stewards. Please check if the chapel is open by calling in to the National Trust Visitors Information Centre on your arrival.

As the chapel is a family mausoleum, photography is not permitted inside.

Far-reaching views

Visiting the chapel means you'll also be rewarded with breathtaking views over the Berkshire countryside and to the River Thames, 200ft below. If you're feeling energetic, why not follow the 172 steps down to the riverside and enjoy a peaceful stroll along the riverbank?

Download the chapel guidebook

Please note. The opening of the Chapel relies on the support of our volunteers. There may be occasions when the Chapel has to remain closed. To avoid disappointment please ask at the visitor’s information centre on arrival or phone in advance to check the chapel is open. For conservation reasons, we are also unable to open the Chapel is the temperature is below 10 degrees.


Please note no internal photography of the house or chapel is permitted at any time.

Chapel closures

The opening of the Chapel relies on the support of our volunteers. There may be occasions when the Chapel has to remain closed. To avoid disappointment please ask at the visitor’s information centre on arrival or phone in advance to check the chapel is open. For conservation reasons, we are also unable to open the Chapel is the temperature is below 10 degrees. 

Aerial view of Cliveden, Buckinghamshire

Discover more at Cliveden

Find out when Cliveden is open, how to get here, the things to see and do and more.

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