The THACS group visit to Cliveden made a lovely day out and everyone seemed to enjoy it. Everything went smoothly and even those elements beyond my control – like the weather and the traffic - turned out well.
The choice of this National Trust estate for our garden visit turned out to be very popular. I had booked a 49-seater coach and 36 places on the house tours, expecting that to be ample. However, all of the coach and tour places got booked quite quickly and I started keeping a waiting list. In the end, after various cancellations, we had 47 people in the group, with no one left on the waiting list.
The staff at Cliveden did a great job in looking after us. Their pre-visit organisation was good and, when we arrived, we were meet by the Duty Manager who was very efficient, helpful and re-assuring. He even managed to provide us with four more tickets for the tours of the house, enabling 40 people to experience the tour. The volunteer House Guides were excellent, with their account of the history of the house embellished with amusing and scandalous stories. Throughout its history, Cliveden has had its fair share of scandal but perhaps none more infamous than the Profumo Affair of the 1960s, which ultimately lead to the fall of the Conservative government of Prime Minister Harold Macmillan.
These house tours left us ample time to enjoy the refreshments provided by the Conservatory Café and to explore the formal part of the gardens near the hotel. The two herbaceous boarders in front of the hotel were stunning and the west-facing one was the highlight of the visit for me. The Rose Garden was still looking good whilst the vibrant floral displays in the Parterre and the Long Garden were certainly eye-catching!
Here are some photos taken by several members of our group. They will give you a glimpse of some of the highlights from our visit.
The formal gardens gave way to secluded glades, tree-lined avenues and picturesque riverside with miles of woodland walks. We did not have time to enjoy those, but maybe they will attract people back to discover them in their own time.
If you came on the visit, then thank you for coming. The time-keeping was excellent, so thanks to everyone in the group for helping to make the visit go so smoothly.
If you have not been to Cliveden, then I recommend it to you. There is something there for everyone, so go along as we did and have a great day out. Find out more at the web site https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/cliveden