Described by Queen Victoria as a "bijou of taste," Cliveden is a magnificent country mansion that has for more than 300 years lived up to its Georgian heritage as a bastion of aesthetic delights. The house, set in 376 acres of gardens and parkland above the River Thames, was rebuilt for the duke of Sutherland by Sir Charles Barry in 1851; the Astors, who purchased it in 1893, made it famous. In the 1920s and 1930s the Cliveden Set met here at the strongly conservative
(not to say fascist) salon presided over by Nancy Astor, an American who nevertheless was the first woman to sit in Parliament. The public can visit the spectacular gardens and woodland that run down to bluffs overlooking the Thames, as well as the Octagon Temple and ground floor rooms in the house. Book your timed ticket for the house beforehand or early on the day. Boat hire and trips are available daily in July and August.
Cliveden Rd., Taplow, SL6 0JA, England
01628-605069; 01494-755562-recorded information