This Spring, Cliveden National Trust gardens are bursting with colour and we were invited to enjoy a day out at Cliveden to see the floral displays for ourselves. Throughout March and April 2019, Spring bulbs will be blooming against the back-drop of Cliveden House and views of the River Thames that take your breath away – particularly if, like us, you visit on a very blustery day.
Cliveden is a vast estate and there’s woodland, gardens, the maze and the Storybook Play Den to explore… you can visit again and again and enjoy something different throughout the seasons. We picked up a leaflet for the Cliveden’s Gilded Gardens self-guided walk, which takes you in a circular route to see the best displays of daffodils in the gardens surrounding Cliveden House. The Gilded Gardens is a celebration of spring flowers inspired by conservation work, recently completed on the golden gates on Cliveden’s South Terrace.
The Gilded Gardens walk then took us down the stairs to the South Terrace (there’s also a route with a ramp for buggies and wheelchairs). It’s on the South Terrace that you can see the golden gates that have recently been restored to their 23¾ carat gold leaf glory.
When the sun emerged from behind the clouds the gates appeared luminescent. Apparently the glimmering golden gates can now be seen for miles. The central golden gates lead to the Sounding Chamber, a domed space constructed in the 17th century, which was thought to once be used for musical performances.
Having admired the golden gates our walk took us away from Cliveden House to banks of thousands of daffodils, dancing and bowing their heads in the wind. The bright yellow carpet of daffodils with Cliveden House in the background, is an impressive sight and I felt as though Spring had arrived.
We were very lucky as the sun came out over the Cliveden National Trust gardens just as we were walking along a path lined with daffodils and and the bright yellow flowers radiated in the sunshine. Amongst the daffodils were dotted delicate primroses.
At this point the walk returned to Cliveden House and we all agreed that it was time to visit the Conservatory Café for a warm drink and a bite to eat. I was tempted by the hearty casserole and soups on offer but opted for a deliciously fresh cheese and pickle sandwich and a slice of lemon drizzle cake, accompanied by a pot of tea.
Then it was on through a wooded path to the Blenheim Pavilion Lawn at Cliveden Gardens. In a week or two the daffodils should be in full bloom and the glow of yellow and gold is going to be spectacular. The cold and windy weather meant that only a few of the flowers were in bloom on our visit – which is an excellent excuse to have to go again.
From the Blenheim Pavilion the walk took us through the more formal Long Garden where there were some quirky topiary sculptures and the long flower beds were filled with orange, yellow and gold flowers.
The self-guided walk through the Cliveden National Trust gardens took us about an hour and a half, including our stop in the Conservatory Café. All the pathways were on hard-standing, so they’re suitable for buggies and wheelchairs, if a little bumpy in places.
We certainly felt like we had a good dose of fresh air and before we headed home we explored the Water Gardens on our way to the Storybook Play Area. If you want a cup of coffee or a quick snack, then it’s useful to know that the Doll’s House Café, next to the children’s play area, is open at weekends and school holidays 11am-3.30pm. There’s even a maze to explore, but we were windswept and ready for home, so we had to leave that adventure for another time.
The Gilded Gardens self-guided walk leaflet will be available at Cliveden National Trust until 30th April 2019. Enjoy the Spring blooms, sweeping views and acres of space to explore.
Cliveden is on Cliveden Road, Taplow, Maidenhead, Buckinghamshire, SL1 8NS.
I received complimentary entry to National Trust Cliveden so that I could write about my experience. The images, words and opinions are all my own.