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Family-friendly things to do at Cliveden

Children playing in the maze at Cliveden, Buckinghamshire
Enjoy Cliveden with all the family this autumn | © National Trust Images/John MIller

If you’re looking to get the whole family outside, look no further. Cliveden has something to offer everyone, whether young in body or young at heart. From fun walking trails to boating on the Thames, this is your one-stop shop to help you get the most out of your family visit to Cliveden.

Planning your family visit

  • Baby-changing facilities in female and male Gas Yard toilets, Conservatory toilets and in both toilets at the Doll's House
  • Accessible paths map available from the Information Centre
  • The Maze and The Storybook Play Den close half an hour before closing time

Autumn adventures

From mid-September, there's a new way to explore the estate as it gradually transforms into its autumn finery of orange, red and gold. Pick up a free, self-led trail map and become a leaf detective, discover animals and birds fattening up for winter and help gather leaves for compost.

Half Term

Cliveden's Scarecrow festival is returning for its second year. Follow the scarecrow trail where each and every one has been lovingly created by local community groups. Look out for pop-up crafts to make your own mini-scarecrow.

A view taken sitting inside a boat that's cruising down the river Thames at Cliveden with the water of the river on either side and trees on either bank
Enjoy a trip down the river at Cliveden | © National Trust Images/Hugh Mothersole

Boating at Cliveden

Last chance to enjoy the golden days of early autumn on the prettiest stretch of the River Thames. There are skippered cruises, self-hire electric boats, rowing boats, Canadian canoes and even a double pedal boat. Until October.

Family-friendly things to do on the estate

Story book Play Den

Little ones love to play in the Storybook Play Den, complete with carved wooden figures and structures to run around, climb and play make-believe. Situated in a corner of the Water Garden, the playground is next to the Doll's House cafe which is open on weekends and busy days for that all-important parental coffee whilst the children play. There are picnic tables too.

Cliveden's Giant Maze

Can you find your way to the centre of Cliveden’s Giant Maze? The 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 it the same size as the world-famous Hampton Court Maze. Older children enjoy challenging themselves with this one.

A family of four are strolling through woodland at Rowallane Garden, County Down, where the leaves on the trees have turned yellow. The family is looking at something out of the shot.
A family walking through the woods at Rowallane Garden | © National Trust Images/Chris Lacey

Cliveden’s Woodland Play Trail

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

You can while away an hour or two on the 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 the woodlands just beyond the entry kiosk, off Green Drive, it is a great way to get active outdoors and all in the name of fun. Designed with children aged 6+ in mind.

Clive's Den

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

Woodland walking

Discover some great family walks and trails in Cliveden's historic woodlands. We've plenty of walks to choose to get the whole family spending time together in the great outdoors, whether exploring the grounds or making natural discoveries together.

If you are enchanted by the 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. Scroll down this page for more information about the Blue Walking Trail.

Spot the local wildlife

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?

Just beyond the woodland car park you can also 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.

‘50 things to do before you’re 11¾’

There are lots of '50 things to do before you're 11¾' activities to tick off during your visit. Here are a few recommendations:

  • No. 1 Get to know a tree: The woodland at Cliveden is home to many fascinating trees. As well as majestic trees, tranquil glades and far-reaching views there are some unusual features to look our for in our woodlands too. Nestled within this landscape of tree-lined rides you'll find curiosities including a flint grotto and a section of giant sequoia tree.

  • No. 6 Go welly wandering: A spot of rain doesn’t need to dampen your spirits. Pull on some wellies and explore the garden and woodland.

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.

You might also be interested in

Family visitors enjoying a woodland walk

Cliveden blue walking trail 

A family-friendly woodland walk with a natural den and picnic area, plus a play trail featuring a rope swing, stepping stones and balancing beams.

DistanceMiles: 1.6 (km: 2.56)
View of the interior of Octagon Temple at Cliveden, Buckinghamshire

Things to see in Cliveden's house and chapel 

Take a guided tour of Cliveden house – now a luxury hotel – and visit the chapel, final resting place of three generations of Astor family.

Parterre at Cliveden with bright red plants in the foreground and the hotel in the background

Things to see in the garden at Cliveden 

Follow in the footsteps of dukes, earls, kings and queens at Cliveden as you stroll through a series of areas in the impressive garden, each with its own special charm.

Woodland path in Spring at Cliveden, Buckinghamshire

Exploring the woodlands at Cliveden 

Discover majestic trees, tranquil glades and far-reaching views as well as some unusual features in Cliveden’s woodlands, including a flint grotto and part of a giant sequoia tree.

Coffee and cake at the Orangery restaurant Cliveden National Trust

Eating at Cliveden 

Choose from a range of refreshments at the cafes and kiosks at Cliveden fuel your visit around the estate.

A man and child explore the ruins of Fountains Abbey. The man is holding the little girl as they look up at the stone walls of the abbey.

Family-friendly places to visit 

There are lots of things to do when you visit one of our family-friendly places. Find inspiration for days out and discover a range of activities for everyone.

A mother helps a young child climb over a fallen log in the parkland, on a bright, wintry day.

‘50 things to do before you're 11¾’ 

Fancy running free in the fresh air, learning new skills and trying new things? Grab your gear and start your adventure.

view of boats moored on the River Thames in front of the Boat House at Cliveden

Boating at Cliveden 

Discover all about the popular pastime of boating, links to Wind in the Willows, and how to hire a boat to enjoy the River Thames at Cliveden.