I was keen to explore the interior of the house, but guided tours are only available to National Trust members for a few hours a week. The 25 minute tour does provide you with the key historical details of the house, however you are led round to different paintings which provide a visual narrative of Cliveden’s past. The highlight of the tour for me was seeing three original sketches of Nancy Astor by John Singer Sargent. You can catch a glimpse of a full length oil portrait too, however up close and personal viewings are reserved for hotel guests only.
If you’re after a National Trust house that you can look round at your own pace, Cliveden probably isn’t for you. However, the final part of the tour takes you to a room whose interior once called a French hunting lodge home. The room is stunning and there are boars, deer and gold leaf aplenty. However, I would have like to have seen more than just paintings in corridors beforehand.
Where the house tour left me slightly disappointed, the gardens at Cliveden have far more to offer. They contain a mix of woodland, country style borders and a more formal parterre. The Long Garden was my favourite, and it was delightful to see so many bees, busy bumbling away over the echinacea and sea holly.
If you do decide to visit Cliveden, make sure that you pay the chapel a visit. It’s only tiny but is definitely the most impressive part of the estate! It’s perfect for a few moments calm to admire the beautiful stained glass windows and mosaics that cover the entire walls.
I may have had mixed views about my visit, but I’m certainly glad I went. It’s a National Trust property I can tick off my list. If you enjoyed reading this post, why not take a peek at what I thought about my trip to Basildon Park?