CLIVEDEN HOUSE is a favourite spot of mine and the girls; we’ve been four or five times now, and with each visit we discover something new and interesting.
This time it was an unassuming domed building we’d seen before, but had never really examined closely. We did a bit more exploring and discovered it was initially built in 1735 as a tearoom. Then, 158 years later, it was converted into the Octagon Temple – a tiny chapel filled with stained-glass windows that eventually became the final resting place for three generations of the famous Astor family.
We couldn’t see inside, as it’s only open a few days a week during the summer months, but apparently the interior walls and ceiling are covered with an intricate glass mosaic. From the outside you have a clear view down to the River Thames, and across the picturesque neighbouring countryside.
It’s just one of the myriad of fascinating features we found in Cliveden House, which really does have something to appeal to everyone. For the history fans, there is the home itself, first built in 1666 by the Duke of Buckingham, while nature lovers have acres of woodland, water gardens, and manicured lawns.
For children there are play trails, the Victorian hedge maze, and the delightful Storybook Play Den, complete with carved wooden models of favourite storybook characters, such as Peter Pan, and Old Brown from Beatrix Potter’s The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin.
There’s even an Orangery cafe for when you need to take a break, with a hot cuppa and a slice of cake. I’m already planning our next visit!