Mild weather prompts open weekend at Cliveden
WITH a warm start to winter signs of spring will already be blooming at Cliveden near Maidenhead, which is open for an extra weekend on February 6 and 7 so visitors can make the most of potential early flowering.
By February every corner of Cliveden estate will be coming to life, as drifts of snowdrops begin to give way to swathes of daffodils alongside unique formal planting.
This year sees the Long Garden filled to bursting with 20,000 strikingly-scented blue hyacinths, while the Parterre will be home to thousands of tulips in a high-Victorian style display. Come mid-February the pansies and polyanthus which form part of this display will be starting to bloom, while the tulips and hyacinths are expected to flourish later in the season.
It’s not only the gardens that are coming to life this spring – visitors now have the opportunity to walk in the footsteps of royalty and celebrity on the iconic South Terrace steps which lead down to Cliveden’s Parterre.
The steps have been closed for nearly two years as part of the South Terrace restoration. One of the largest conversation projects within the National Trust, it is budgeted to cost around £5million.
The terrace itself is thought to be the oldest surviving building at Cliveden, with some alteration and refurbishment over time, having survived two fires and drainage damage over four centuries.
The Terrace facade you see today is known to date from Charles Barry’s 1851 designs, which were drawn up for the Duke and Duchess of Sutherland after the second fire at Cliveden destroyed the majority of the house above.
Barry, famous for designing the Houses of Parliament, intended the sweeping design to make the gardens feel like an additional room in the great house, and for the owners and their guests a central part of the Cliveden experience, as the gardens are today.
The steps will be open until the summer when they will be closed temporarily once again so the flagstones on top of the Terrace can be repaired and the historic drainage system,system which caused some of the deterioration to the Terrace itself, can be improved.
Along with the conservation work to the stairs and Cockerill Pavilion over the past two years, the western side of the Terrace has been repaired and the work to the dome-shaped sounding chamber beneath the centre of the Terrace is ongoing. The gates to the Sounding Chamber are also currently being restored and gilded, and on their return will form a significant eye-catching centre-piece of the Terrace.
Mark Bradshaw,Bradshaw General Manager at Cliveden, said: “The South Terrace is an iconic part of the Cliveden experience and central to the property’s history and design.
“When it is complete, the restoration project will have been running for more than five years, but this is just a small part of the total life-span of the Terrace which we are looking after for generations to come.
“We look forward to welcoming visitors to enjoy using the steps this spring and to discover all they can about the South Terrace project as it takes place.”
Blooming marvellous: The daffodils and snowdrops are coming to life as are the South Terrace steps which visitors will be able to walk down to to the stunning landscaped gardens CLIVEDEN’S gardens, woodlands and cafés will be open for an extra weekend on February 6 and 7, then daily from February 13, 10am until 5.30pm.