Set in the Berkshire countryside, with fantastic views overlooking the River Thames and beyond, the Cliveden Estate extends to 376 acres and includes Grade I listed formal gardens as well as woodlands and of course the Cliveden House Hotel and Spa.

Notable features include the Fountain of Love , the Long Garden, the Parterre, the Water Garden, the Rose Garden, the Forecourt Borders, the Maze and the Blenheim Pavilion.

The grounds are a popular year-round destination for families and dog walkers as well as visitors keen to explore the formal gardens. It’s well worth setting aside several hours to explore the estate to its fullest before enjoying a cup of tea and a slice of cake at the Dovecote Coffee Shop or the Doll’s House or maybe something more substantial at the Orangery Cafe.

Visit on a clear sunny day and the views really are spectacular with vantage points on the South Terrace, the far end of the Parterre and from various points along the Woodland Walks above the Thames.

One of my favourite gardens is the Long Garden with its topiary and statues and long herbaceous walled border. This summer the box hedging is infilled with Salvia splendens, whilst the long border includes such staples as Dahlias, Tithonia, Cleome, Mondara, Salvia, Rudbeckia and Eryngium.  The Water Garden and the adjacent Maze always seem to attract the most visitors making it difficult at times to get the photo you want. When we visited a Grey Heron was on the lookout for its next meal on the far shore of the lake, just behind the fountain with its spray lit up like a rainbow in the sun. The Forecourt Borders are another favourite although in common with many gardens this is perhaps not their best year.

Cliveden is worth visiting at any time of year, be it for a frosty winter walk in the woods or a lazy summer stroll  through the formal gardens.

Link: National Trust


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