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Cliveden House
View looking north from the Ring in the Parterre showing Terrace Pavilion and Clock Tower to the left with Lower Terrace and Borghese Balustrade below
Hotel chain Iconic Luxury Hotels
General information
Coordinates 51°33′29″N 0°41′18″W / 51.558168°N 0.688258°W / 51.558168; -0.688258
Owner National Trust
Design and construction
Architect Charles Barry
Other information
Number of rooms 47 (including Spring Cottage)
Number of suites 15
Number of restaurants 2
Number of bars 1 (The Library Bar)
Facilities Spa, Tennis, Gym, 376 Acres of National Trust Managed Ground, Maze, Two Boats, Meeting Space

Cliveden is the name of a large house in Buckinghamshire near London, England. There have been three houses on this site. The first house was built in 1666 and burnt to the ground in a fire in 1795. A new house was built but this one also burnt down in a fire in 1849. The house which can be seen today was made in 1851 by Sir Charles Barry, an architect.

The house is now used as a hotel.

Cliveden House sits in a large garden and woodland, (375 acres). The garden contains many statues and fountains made from stone as well as areas of flowers. Cliveden is very close to the River Thames.

Cliveden means "valley among cliffs" and refers to the valley which cuts through part of the estate, east of the house.

Present house

Cliveden 02
The north front

The present house is a blend of the English Palladian style and the Roman Cinquecento. The Victorian three-storey mansion sits on a high brick terrace (visible only from the south side) which dates from the mid-17th century.

The exterior of the house is rendered in Roman cement, with terracotta additions. The roof of the mansion is meant for walking on, and there is a circular view, above the tree-line, of parts of Buckinghamshire and Berkshire including Windsor Castle to the south.

The nearby 100-foot (30m) clock tower was added in 1861. As a functioning water tower it still provides water for the house today. It is rendered in Roman cement like the rest of the house, and features four clock faces, and a half open staircase on its north side.

The original Cliveden maze, commissioned by Lord Astor in 1894, has undergone major restoration after having lain overgrown and inaccessible since the 1950s. It was replanted with 1,100 six-foot-tall yew trees covering an area of one-third of an acre (1.2 hectares) and opened to the public in 2011.

The Octagon Temple, situated 200 feet above the Thames, was originally designed as a gazebo and grotto but was later converted by the 1st Lord Astor to become the family chapel. The chapel was also adapted into the final resting place for the Astors. Its interior and dome are decorated with colorful mosaics representing religious scenes.

The pagoda in the water garden was made for the Paris Exposition Universelle of 1867 and was purchased by the 1st Lord Astor.

Many famous and important people have lived at Cliveden. Some of these are:

In popular culture

Film and television

Cliveden is the location or inspiration for scenes in the following film and TV productions.

  • Mr Selfridge (Season 4, 2016) Bedrooms and French Dining Room.
  • Cinderella (2015) Cliveden's clock tower and shell fountain are the inspiration for the ones in the film.
  • A Little Chaos (2014) Gardens and grounds.
  • Sherlock Holmes (yet:2009) The French Dining Room stands in for a Parisian hotel bedroom.
  • Made of Honour (2008) The Library stands in for a New York study.
  • Cards on the Table (2005) Interior and exterior of Spring Cottage.
  • Mrs. Henderson Presents (2005) Gardens and grounds.
  • Thunderbirds (2004) Cliveden is used as the model for Lady Penelope's house, "Creighton-Ward Mansion".
  • Antiques Roadshow (2000) Valuation day held in the grounds.
  • Carrington (1995) The river Thames from the grounds.
  • Chaplin (1995) The river Thames from the grounds.
  • Scandal (1989) The story of the Profumo Affair. Although not filmed at Cliveden, it is inspired by events which took place there.
  • Dead Man's Folly (1986) Gardens and interior of Spring Cottage and river Thames.
  • Nancy Astor (1982) House and grounds appear as themselves in this BBC TV series.
  • Death on the Nile (1978) The main gates.
  • Operation Daybreak (1975) House appears as a WWII Czech HQ.
  • Don't Lose Your Head (1966) House and grounds.
  • The Yellow Rolls-Royce (1965) Grounds.
  • Help! (1965) House stands in for Buckingham Palace.
  • The Card (1952) Horse and carriage scenes in courtyard and stables.

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