From Winston Churchill to Charlie Chaplin – history is full of famous faces powerless to resist the allure of Cliveden House in Berkshire. The Five Star country hotel stands majestically on chalk cliffs, and sprawling out beyond it lies 376 acres of beautiful Grade I listed formal gardens and woodlands. Just imagine walking up on Easter Sunday and enjoying a stroll in these National Trust gardens – before feasting on afternoon tea. What a treat!
As soon as you step foot inside the grounds of the estate can not help but be in awe of the majestic landscape. From the moment you drive past the Fountain of Love and then travel down the long driveway – with perfectly manicured lawns and flowers either side – you cannot fail to be impressed. The gardens are a feast for the eyes as you spot swathes of daffodils, and bluebells – every corner is brimming with life this spring. And this sets the scene for what awaits in the house. Through the double doors is the oak panelled Great Hall. Beyond this, is the sumptuous French Dining Room, where Winston Churchill, George Bernard Shaw, and a host of other celebrities enjoyed Nancy Astor’s hospitality during the 1920s, 30s and 40s. But we recommend you head to the Library, where afternoon tea is served.
Queen Victoria is said to have been a regular visitor to Cliveden – and the food is certainly fit for royalty. Afternoon tea comes with a selection of finger sandwiches which typical include ham, coronation chicken, roast beef, cucumber with creme fraiche, as well as poached and smoked salmon rillettes. But fillings can be amended according to dietary needs. The thick doorstop bread is lovely and soft and staff happily replenish the sandwiches when you have devoured them. The bite-sizes raisin and plain scones are served warm with a generous dollop of Devonshire clotted cream and homemade strawberry preserve. But the crowing moment for any afternoon tea is the quality of cakes – and Cliveden does not disappoint. Grown-ups will adore the caramelised lemon tart, spiced apple religieuse, and pear almondine with vanilla cream as well as the white chocolate mousse with kalamansi. While guests of all ages, but especially children, will no doubt reach for the chocolate roulade which is rich a delicious. These delights are washed down with a wide selection of teas, a glass of champagne, juices, and cocktails – there is truly something to appease everyone. Afternoon tea is served between 2.15pm to 5pm and must be booked in advance for Easter Sunday.
Set high above the Thames with far-reaching views, Cliveden’s impressive gardens and majestic woodlands capture the grandeur of a bygone age. But despite its old heritage, the stunning gardens are full of youth, delight and wonder – making it the perfect family destination for families with little ones who love nothing more than to run unbridled in the great outdoors. The gardens at Cliveden are what childhood dreams are made of. The Storybook Play Den encourages imaginations to run wild as kids play amongst wooden carvings of their favourite storybook characters whilst the 500 metres of winding paths in the Cliveden Maze make it a challenge for all ages to find the centre. Even the elegant ‘Parterre’ garden – with its vibrant floral displays, quirky statuary and topiary – is a child’s playground fantasy as the hedges are the right height for a group of toddlers to play hide and seek. Best of all, children are also very welcome inside Cliveden House too. Although the decor oozes glamour and sophistication – there is no stuffy atmosphere and both staff and fellow guests delight in seeing youngsters grace the ancient house.
The Easter Sunday afternoon tea package costs £57 per person and £25 per child between 5 to 12 years old.
- For more information on Cliveden House call 01628 668561 or log on to www.clivedenhouse.co.uk .