Cliveden House | Attraction Guides | History Hit

Cliveden House

South Bucks, England, United Kingdom

About Cliveden House

Cliveden House in Berkshire, UK, is a 19th century historic home which operated at the heart of the cultural and political elite of the country. Today the house operates as a luxury hotel while the beautiful gardens and grounds are operated by the National Trust.

The first construction to be built on the site of Cliveden House was a hunting lodge built by the Duke of Buckingham in 1666. This incarnation survived for over a hundred years before fire destroyed the site in 1795. Rebuilt in 1824, the second building saw the same fate as the first, being destroyed in 1849. Two years later a new house was commissioned and this is, for the most part, the Cliveden we see today. In the latter decades of the 18th century further significant changes and modifications were made to Cliveden by both the Duke of Westminster and later by American billionaire Lord Astor.

At the outbreak of the First World War Cliveden hosted a military hospital operated by the Canadian Red Cross and a small Canadian First World War Cemetery can be found near the edge of the estate.

Throughout its existence, Cliveden stood as a favourite destination for the political and cultural elite of the time. Popular with royalty, other notable visitors included President Franklin D Roosevelt, Prime Minister Winston Churchill, Charlie Chaplin, George Bernard Shaw and Mahatma Gandhi.

This association with high-society meant Cliveden saw its fair share of notoriety over the years. However, perhaps one of the most famous events to take place at Cliveden was a key part of the infamous Profumo Affair – which saw British Secretary of State for War John Profumo forced to resign due to his affair with model Christine Keeler, who was also intimately linked with a senior naval attaché at the Soviet Embassy. The two met at a Cliveden party in 1961. The ensuing scandal helped to bring down the British Government of the time.

Today Cliveden operates as both a luxury hotel and a National Trust-operated park and gardens. The house itself can be accessed by pre-booked tours and the vast parkland includes a host of beautiful gardens, scenery and even an impressive maze. As such it remains popular with tourists and locals alike, particularly families, and includes a number of activities for children.