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Home > > CLIVEDEN HOUSE, near Taplow, Berkshire

CLIVEDEN HOUSE, near Taplow, Berkshire

At-a-Glance Guide

5* Relais & Chateaux
39 bedrooms inc 16 suites
3 restaurants (1 is AA 3 Rosette), private dining
Great Hall, lounge, library
spa, indoor pool, steam, sauna, treatments, gym, snooker rm, squash courts
376 acres parkland, heated outdoor pool, tennis courts
civil weddings, functions, meetings
valet parking
B&B from £252 per dble; DB&B from £444 per dble plus National Trust charge £9pp per stay (exc members)

CLIVEDEN  HOUSE, near Taplow, Berkshire


The first house at Cliveden – placed on a specially engineered platform, and positioned to enjoy the spectacular view - was built in 1666 for the 2nd Duke of Buckingham. A notorious rake, schemer and wit, he created Cliveden as a hunting lodge, where he could entertain his friends and mistress. Of it, only the great arcaded terrace on the south side, above the parterre, now remains. The four-storey house was destroyed by fire in 1795 – and Cliveden was left derelict until 1824, when it was bought by Sir George Warrender.

Sir George had the house rebuilt, and restored to splendour. His brother John inherited the house when he died, in 1849, and immediately sold it to the Duke of Sutherland. That same year, Cliveden suffered another catastrophic fire. In 1850, Charles Barry, who had designed the Houses of Parliament, was commissioned to rebuild it. At the same time, the Duchess of Sutherland – a close friend of Queen Victoria, who frequently visited Cliveden from Windsor, redesigned the famous parterre, which exists today.

The next owner was the Duke of Westminster: he and the Duchess spent their honeymoon at Cliveden in 1852. At the time of his death, in 1899, the Duke was the wealthiest man in the country. In 1893, he sold Cliveden to America’s richest citizen, William Waldorf Astor.

Astor wanted nothing less than the best that money could buy for the house. He bought a balustrade from the Villa Borghese in Rome, and purchased an entire gilded and mirrored dining room, which had belonged to Madame de Pompadour, from the Chateau d’Asnieres outside Paris. He gave the house to his son and daughter-in-law in 1906 as a wedding present. Up until the First World War, they employed 50 gardeners, 12 stablemen, six housemaids and six laundry maids.

Cliveden became the hub of a hectic social whirl: guest included where guests included Winston Churchill, President Roosevelt, Charlie Chaplin and to George Bernard Shaw. Harold Macmillan, another frequent guest, when told that the house was eventually to become a hotel, remarked, “My dear boy, it always has been.”

Stephen Ward and Christine Keeler were staying in Spring Cottage when they triggered the infamous ‘Profumo scandal’ - so, even the cottage is not without its share of colourful Cliveden history. Following that notorious affair, the house was leased by Stanford University of California, for use as an overseas campus from 1969 until 1983.

In 1942, the Astors – now Lord and Lady - gave Cliveden to the National Trust, but continued to live there until their deaths: his in 1952, hers 12 years later. Still owned by the National Trust, the house is leased as a five-star hotel, which opened in 1995.


At this staggeringly opulent, money-no-object, palatial, Italianate property, the tradition of impeccable hospitality and extravagant entertainment continues.


A stay at Cliveden House will be the experience of a lifetime!

The hotel is licensed to perform civil wedding ceremonies.


With their grand fireplaces, luxuriuous furnishings and priceless artworks, the Great Hall, the library and the Tote Room are impressive and indisputably comfortable.

There are three very different restaurants from which to choose. (There is a National Trust charge of £5.00pp per person for lunch and £1.00pp for dinner.)

The Terrace Dining Room, with its six sets of French windows, looks out over the parterre, the gardens and the River Thames. It serves lunch and dinner.

The more intimate, AA 3 Rosette restaurant, Waldo’s* - named after Thomas Waldo Story, sculptor of the Fountain of Love in Cliveden’s driveway - is open for dinner only, and offers fine-dining at its very best. A seven-course ‘taster menu’ is available.

The Cliveden Club Restaurant was formerly the Duke of Westminster’s personal stables. Once badly run down, they’ve been imaginatively restored and are open to house-guests for dinner. The atmosphere is informal and relaxed; food is cooked to order and prepared in a gastro-pub style.

The 39 spacious bedrooms - each named after a prominent guest or figure from Cliveden’s past - are individually styled to reflect aspects of the history of the house, and filled with exquisite furnishings and priceless antiques.

The four club bedrooms have luxurious, hand-made, queen-size beds. Each of the six classic doubles has a comfortable seating area. Deluxe doubles, of which there are 12, have king-sized or twin beds, their own fireplaces, and comfortable seating areas.
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The seven Junior suites have high ceilings, king-size beds, and lounge areas - most have a separate, spacious sitting area. There are also seven very individual Deluxe suites - luxurious and generously proportioned, with high ceilings, king-size beds, very spacious lounge areas, and spectacular views of the estate. Some have separate dressing areas.
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The two very grand Parterre Deluxe Suites overlook the iconic 19th-Crentury parterre. They are generously proportioned suites with high ceilings, decorated with antiques and original works of art, and have very spacious lounge areas, separate dressing areas and luxuriously appointed period bathrooms.
One of these two suites was formerly Lady Astor’s bedroom, and is little-changed from her time. It has a white scheme, is panelled in American oak, and features an exuberantly ornamented overmantel, a large bathroom with separate make-up area, and an enormous private terrace, with a table and chairs for six, benches and sun loungers. John Singer Sargent’s famous portrait of Nancy Astor hang on her bedroom wall.
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Picturesque Spring Cottage on the banks of the Thames, was built in 1813 as a summer-house for the Duchess of Sutherland. It sleeps up to six, and is ideal for a romantic couple or those travelling with friends or family. It offers privacy and escapism, and comes with its own private butler, a fridge well-stocked with provisions, and a car always available to drive guests to the main house.
Please use the BOOK NOW button or the MAKE AN ENQUIRY button below for a price quote for your stay.

The Pavilion Spa is situated within the secluded, sun-trap, walled garden that encloses the heated outdoor pool. It features whirlpool spas, steam rooms, saunas, Canadian hot tubs and an indoor pool. A wide range of beauty and holistic treatments is available. There’s a Conservatory restaurant for informal light lunches, or waiter service by the pool.

Standing upon chalk cliffs, Cliveden commands panoramic views over the Berkshire countryside and the river Thames, and is set amid 376 acres of magnificent, formal gardens and parklands. Owned and managed by the National Trust, the gardens include the famous, formal parterre, Chinese water gardens, a ‘secret garden’ and a wealth of statuary and topiary. There are also woodland and riverside walks.

There are tennis courts and, in the Cliveden Boathouse, is a lovingly restored flotilla of vintage launches is available, at a charge, for cruising the Thames.

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