Scandalous history in opulent surroundings
rom the moment you check into Cliveden, you’ll be treated like a film star – or perhaps a writer or politician.
In its 300-year history, this beautiful country house has hosted them all – including Charlie Chaplin, George Bernard Shaw, Winston Churchill and the odd US President too.
It was also linked to the notorious ‘Profumo affair’ in 1963 – the infamous love triangle involving a British Secretary of State for War whose mistress was also believed to be seeing an alleged Russian spy. Phew.
But if you can tear yourself away from the opulent bedrooms, roaring fires and mouth-watering grub, it’s the boathouse that really makes the place special. Perched right on the Thames, you'll find a flotilla of beautifully restored vintage launches, which you can take out on the river for a picnic lunch, afternoon tea or champagne cruise – whatever suits sir or madam.
Float upstream to Henley, or downstream to Bray at your own leisurely pace, taking in the beautiful riverside scenery from the comfort of the ‘Suzy Ann’, the ‘Belmont’ or the ‘Liddesdale’ – once the personal motor of Cliveden chatelaine, Lady Astor. Messing about on the river never felt so decadent.