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Things to see in the garden at Cliveden

Water Garden stepping stones leading to pagoda
Water Garden in Spring | © National Trust/Rosie Stokes

Follow in the footsteps of dukes, earls, kings and queens as you stroll through a series of impressive spaces at Cliveden, each with its own special charm. Enjoy year-round interest and colour, from the bedding scheme of the Parterre and the hundreds of roses in the Rose Garden, to Lord Astor’s sculpture collection and the impressive Cliveden Maze.

Work in the Water Garden

There is ongoing conservation work in the Water Garden which you'll be able to see taking place. We are emptying the remaining ponds of silt, which needs to dry out before it becomes compost for the estate. For safety, the Pagoda is currently inaccessible to visitors.

Bike Policy

We'd love for you to cycle to Cliveden and you can lock bikes up in the spaces provided in the Walled Garden. 5 year olds and under are able to bring small scooters and balance bikes onto the estate. Mobility scooters can also be taken onto the estate but please leave bikes with pedals by the Information Centre.

The Parterre

At six acres, the Parterre is one of the garden’s most dramatic features. It comprises 16 triangular beds with box hedging and manicured yew topiary, as well as a sweeping semi-circular bed on the North end.

Twice a year the bedding scheme is painstakingly refreshed by a loyal team of gardeners and volunteers. This summer, the bedding reflected the coronation year with red, white and blue salvias. The Terrace offers a perfect vantage point to look down over the Parterre. But simply wandering among the beds is rewarding too, as you’ll see the detailed planting that creates the mass of colour.

View of the Parterre in Spring at Cliveden, Buckinghamshire
View of the Parterre in Spring at Cliveden, Buckinghamshire | © Hugh Mothersole

The Forecourt Borders

These visitor favourites feature one hot border filled with tones of red, yellow and orange while the cool border contains tones of blues, white and purple. The displays are so full that you can spot something new each time you visit.

The Water Garden

The Water Garden's specimen trees flame into breathtaking colour in autumn. The Water Garden today is a far cry from the duck pond that formed the starting point for William Waldorf Astor’s ‘Japanese Garden’. Today, the East Asian inspired garden has year-round interest with spring blossom and autumn colour providing particular highlights. There's also a six-sided Chinese pagoda which forms the centrepiece of the garden.

While early spring and autumn are popular times to visit, there’s a host of plants native to Asia such as bamboo, ginkgo and drifts of irises that mean there’s plenty to see throughout the seasons.

Water Garden pond repairs

We are working to repair the historic Water Garden ponds and water features. The ponds were built in the late 1890s and the concrete that lines them is now cracking and allowing water to escape. By mending the cracks, we will ensure that we are using water as efficiently as possible in the future.

The project involves removing the water plants, transferring the fish, draining the water completely and dredging the silt from the bottom of the ponds before carrying out the repairs.

We’re working on the ponds in turn, so that the fish can be transferred from one pond to another. The Water Garden may take some time to settle after the disruption, but the de-silted, cleaner ponds means that the waterlilies and fish will have more space to thrive.

View of the Water Garden Pagoda in Spring at Cliveden, Buckinghamshire.
View of the Water Garden Pagoda in Spring at Cliveden, Buckinghamshire. © National Trust Images Hugh Mothersole. | © Hugh Mothersole

The Walled Garden

Did you know the main visitor car park was originally a walled garden created to supply the estate with fruit and vegetables? We've been working to reinstate the kitchen garden’s character by planting fruit trees against the walls.

From spring to autumn the Walled Garden provides produce for the estate to use, from lettuce to plums. There is a walk around the perimeter of the main car park for you to get up close to see what we’re growing.

The War Memorial Garden

Cliveden provided the Canadian Red Cross with a hospital during the First World War. In 1918, the 1st Viscount Astor's sunken Italian garden was adapted to create a memorial garden for the deceased. It contains 42 war graves from the First World War, each marked with a stone set in the turf.

If you are planning to make a special trip solely to visit the war graves, please call us in advance on 01628 605069 to book a free viewing and a member of the team will be on hand to meet you. If you would like to incorporate a visit to the War Memorial Garden while exploring the wider estate, please note usual admission charges apply.

The Round Garden

The apple trees trained around the arched structures of the Round Garden are heavy with fruit in the autumn. It's worth a wander through the apple 'tunnels'. The restoration of the garden at Cliveden has revealed many secrets, including a long-lost fruit garden on the northern edge of the woodlands, just a short walk from Green Drive. The Round Garden was laid out in the mid-19th century and is possibly the only surviving example in the UK of a circular fruit orchard from this period.

Having been out of production since the 1950s, it has been brought back to life by the ranger team who are protecting heritage trees and planting many new ones. Wildlife flourished while it was out of action, making it a haven for rare insects and fungi, as well as bats and birds.

The Long Garden

In the Long Garden you'll find huge beds of seasonal flowers displayed among a collection of quirky topiary and sculptures. Every spring and summer there's a new floral scheme creating a mass of colour within the four box-edged central beds and along the brick-wall border.

This aptly named garden was created by William Waldorf Astor in 1896 to display some of his classical sculpture collection. Notable pieces include four 18th-century stone characters from the Commedia dell’ Arte in the centre of the garden, two ancient Egyptian baboons and the striking marble figures of Nautica and Marco Polo at the eastern end.

View of the Long Garden at Cliveden in the Winter season
Long Garden Winter, Cliveden | © Hugh Mothersole

The Rose Garden

The Rose Garden is a heavenly place to visit in summer. It's tucked away in a grove of mature trees and the contrast of the natural setting with the formality of the Rose garden and its riot of colour makes it feel like a magical secret garden. The scent wafts on the breeze as you wander the paths under climbing rose arches with every colour from palest lemon to velvety dark crimson.

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.

If you’re inspired to add some roses to your own garden, we have a selection of the David Austin varieties planted here for sale in the shop during the summer months.

Aerial view of Cliveden, Buckinghamshire

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