By Emma Kisby, family and lifestyle blogger living in Berkshire, Mum of two, coffee addict and good at sleeping.
Cliveden House is a National Trust Victorian mansion set on 376 acres of woodlands and gardens. It’s situated on the border of Buckingham and Berkshire, in Taplow which is just outside Maidenhead. With gardens, play areas and cafes, it’s the perfect day out with the family. Plus if you have a National Trust annual pass you can make the most of what it has to offer as often as you like.
Plenty of Walks
The main entrance to Cliveden takes you to the walled garden car park (although there is plenty of overflow parking to cater for busy times) where there is a small gift shop, information centre and toilets. It’s very pretty and has a kiosk for light refreshments and a lovely little seating area. However, there is a separate entrance for the Woodlands if you don’t want to visit the whole estate. The woodland trail is over two miles long and great for dog walking too.
What is there to do at Cliveden?
Cliveden House is also a luxurious hotel and Spa. In fact Meghan Markle stayed there the night before her wedding to Prince Harry! But you can walk around the house and down to the River Thames. You can take the steps down to the river, but it’s not great for little legs – especially coming back up again! There are 172 steps in total. However, at the bottom there’s a great place to have a picnic and watch the boats go by. Ideal for a hot summer’s day.
In the grounds close to the shop there is a fun maze that kids love. It’s wide enough for buggies and wheelchairs to get around, so there is easy access. It’s a nice size, so you don’t spend hours getting lost in there.
Close to the maze is a stunning Japanese inspired water garden. You can usually go over the stepping stones to see the ducks and even the heron in the middle of the pond! Currently the stepping stones are cordoned off and the grass around it is being allowed to repair from the winter. But you can walk around the beautiful pond and admire the koi carp, oriental plants and pretty Chinese pagoda. Visitors can normally walk over to the pagoda using the stepping stones.
There is plenty of nature all around with trees, flowers and wildlife. It varies from season to season. In the Spring time you can do the Snowdrop walk, where the Snowdrops are protected from being trampled on!
The adventure playground at Cliveden is a safe place for the little ones to run around and have loads of fun. Also called the ‘Storybook Play Den’ there are story book characters carved out of wood. These include the animals of Wind in the Willows and also a giant Captain Hook. So much for the imagination.
Around the playground there are plenty of picnic benches. There is also a cute cafe called the ‘Doll’s House’ where you can grab a coffee.
School Holiday Activities
There is always something going on, especially during the half terms. In October there is a Halloween Trail where the children can dress in their Halloween costumes. At Easter there is usually an egg hunt, with riddles to solve and games to play as you go around.
Other trails have included the Tree Trail during the February half term where children follow points for clues. They learn about different types of trees and fun facts about them. Once they have completed the trail they have the option to do some tree inspired arts and crafts. Check out the Red Kite Days what’s on for kids guides each school holiday to find the latest family friendly events.
Places to Eat
If you don’t bring a picnic then there are places to grab a snack or enjoy lunch out. But be warned, when it’s busy you have to beat the queues! As well as the Doll’s House at the play park, there is a kiosk at the main car park, where you can get hot and cold drinks and cold snacks.
Or if you head over to the Conservatory Cafe you can sit in or out (depending on the weather!) and enjoy a hot meal or snack or a sweet treat. Again, this gets really busy in the holidays.
For an extra special day out, you could book the restaurant in Cliveden House or have High Tea.
Take the Bikes
There’s plenty of land at Cliveden to take the bikes or scooters. Just be aware of all the visitors walking around!
If you plan a visit then I recommend you head there before the opening time of 10am. If the weather is good or an event is going on (such as the Easter trail) the road can get really queued up.
At these busy times it’s a good idea to bring snacks and drinks with you, even if you’re not planning on a picnic. The food can be pricey and you could be waiting in the line for a while at the cafes or kiosks.
This give you more time to enjoy the surroundings and explore as much as you can.
Emma Kisby is a blogger living in Berkshire, Mum of two, coffee addict and good at sleeping. Check out her blog where she shares the things in her life from fashion and health to family and lifestyle. Follow on Instgram, Facebook and Twitter.