When it comes to family days out, it is often in the least expected places that the greatest memories are made. Beyond the realms of theme parks, zoos and cartoon ‘lands’ sit the likes of Cliveden - a quietly confident go-to for families located in Taplow in Berkshire. What this historic stately home and estate lacks in saccharine sweet branding, it makes up for with a doorway to one of nature’s finest playgrounds.
Cliveden is best know for having once been the home to early dukes, earls, and viscounts, and the hub of a byegone society. Little did I, and I’m sure many other parents, realise the potential for family fun and adventure beyond the distinctly formal frontage of this impressive country house hotel.
Not only are the grounds home to one of Berkshire's prettiest picnic areas, they also offer a unique opportunity for active and imaginative play. From the woodland paths to the infamous maze, children relish the element of freedom and discovery that only grounds of this size and specification could offer. With a Storybook Play Den comprising wooden carvings of some favourite storybook characters, Cliveden is certainly the perfect place to while away a winter's afternoon. In addition, as part of the National Trust's '50 things to do before you're 11 and 3/4's' campaign, they have collaborated The Great Big Tree Climbing Company to offer children the unique opportunity to explore Cliveden's historic woodland canopy.
In all, Cliveden has more to offer for little people than its grandiose outward impression would imply. For adults, the splendour of the building and grounds lends a rarely found grown-up feel to an otherwise child-friendly day out. And the icing on the cake for parents is, quite literally, just that! One would normally expect a typical 'play day' to incur certain sacrifices, not least of which is proper coffee, since how often are ball pits and baristas found under the same roof? In Cliveden’s case, there's certainly no forgoing frappuccinos for fun, since the Orangery Cafe prides itself on offering quality refreshments of the iced and caffeinated variety, not to mention an array of healthy snacks and sandwiches.
On the whole, a day out at Cliveden may not be among the cheapest options (unless you are a National Trust member) but its appeal across the age spectrum sets it apart as the ultimate catch-all destination for extended family outings, especially those including grandparents. I don't know about 'Profumo', so to speak, but for all its qualities and differences, Cliveden is the perfect setting for a 'family affair', whether it be of the celebratory, relaxing, leisurely or even the active kind!