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High above the River Thames, behind hanging beech woods, is Cliveden, the country estate of the fabulously wealthy Nancy and Waldorf Astor. Here, between the wars, the Astors gathered around them the Cliveden Set including the German ambassador Von Ribbentrop, Charlie Chaplin, Lloyd George, Rudyard Kipling and Lawrence of Arabia. Our exciting new day tells the story of the Cliveden Set and their contemporaries in the beautiful Thames Chilterns.

Meet our expert local Blue Badge Guide in Beaconsfield at 10.30am for time to buy morning refreshments. We visit the Burnham Beeches, one of our finest tracts of ancient woodland and the go to forest for film makers with credits including Ivanhoe and Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves.

In the riverside settlement of Taplow (the name means Tappa's barrow) we see the Anglo-Saxon mound in which the greatest Anglo Saxon treasure until Sutton Hoo was discovered. Now in the British Museum it became a text book case on how NOT to do an archaeological excavation. There are brilliant views of Taplow Court, home to Lord Desborough who organised the 1908 Olympic Games and his beautiful wife Ettie a darling of Edwardian Society and rival to Nancy Astor at Cliveden.

We arrive at Cliveden to picnic or buy lunch in the large NT cafe.

The massive Italianate mansion, home to an Earl, three Countesses, two Dukes, a Prince of Wales and the Viscounts Astor is now on lease from the National Trust as the five star hotel where the Duchess of Sussex stayed on the eve of her wedding.

It is not open to the public (you can add a 30 minute ground floor tour on Mondays, Tuesdays or Thursdays).

We'll take you on a gentle trail through the gardens, which capture the grandeur of the time between the wars when it was the glittering hub of society. We'll choose the best of the gardens when you come: the famous parterre planted in spring and summer with 25,000 bulbs and bedding plants, the restored Rose Garden, the topiary and an outstanding sculpture collection. Along the way there are great stories of the Cliveden Set and, fifty years later, of the Profumo Scandal.

Time to buy tea before heading home at 4.45pm.

If you want to include the 30 minute house tour we will reverse the order of the day.

Adults & Seniors: £29

NT members £16.50

Available Monday to Saturday

March to October.

Come Monday, Tuesday or Thursday to include a 30 minute tour of the ground floor of the house (additional charge for non NT members) including the Great Hall and famous French Dining Room.

Price Valid to 31 March 2021

15 miles