Following on from my post about annual passes, I’ve signed the family up to become members of the National trust. I’m determined for us to become at least a little bit wholesome at some point in our lives. I see pictures of families that look happy, and they’re always outdoors, skipping through woodlands and the such like, so figured we’d give it a go.
We started off our National Trust journey at one of our closest sites, Cliveden House in Taplow, Berkshire. This is kind of like coming home for me because, interesting fact, I (and I think most other people from the area and of my generation) was actually born in the grounds of Cliveden House in the Canadian Red Cross Hospital. Closed in 1985 and long since demolished, it also haunted my childhood with tales of devil worshippers and all sorts of wrongdoings taking place in the abandoned building. I’m sure our parents made these stories up just to keep us out of what was essentially a dangerous, crumbling structure 😂
Cliveden house itself, once the home of the Astor family, and heavily featured in the Profumo scandal, is now a hotel and spa, and is where Megan Markle stayed the night before her wedding. Due to this, visits are mainly confined to the grounds and gardens, although I think on certain days you can take guided tours of parts of the house.
The day that we visited, the car park seemed to be the location of the local Ferrari owners club meet. Well, there was a large gathering of paunchy, balding, middle aged men with female companions that were considerably younger and more attractive than them, all standing around staring at their Ferrari’s, so I’m guessing that’s what it was.
Throughout the school Easter holidays, Cadbury’s are running Easter Egg hunts across the estate. For an additional £3 per child you get a little sheet to follow, which brings you on a circular route through the estate, ending with a chocolate reward. A chocolate reward that the kraken was so excited to get, she ran, tripped, and landed on it. It took all my powers of persuasion to tell her that smashed chocolate eggs are much better than whole ones to prevent the ensuing tantrum. They’re not, smashed chocolate eggs are shit. I’ll tell her that one day.
We stopped for refreshments at the outside kiosk by the shop. It wasn’t overly busy, but we still waited nearly 20 minutes for 4 hot drinks. Mainly because behind us were a super demanding, super posh, super entitled family, that ordered 15 drinks, with at least 10 of them not being standard menu items, and completely flustering the young girl that worked there. I personally would have told them to piss off, but she was far too nice for that. I guess that’s why I don’t work with the public…
A quick visit to the shop for a fridge magnet (the boy collects them) and a jar of marmalade (the mister aka Paddington bear loves it) followed by a visit to the second hand book shop. This place is a treasure trove. Filled with all kinds of donated books, and an honesty box on the wall that recommends you pay £1 for a paper back, and a little more for a hardback, I let the kids go wild and choose whatever they wanted. The boys choice was great, David Attenborough’s autobiography. The kraken, not so much. However, she was delighted with her choice of book, Sneeze and be Slain…weirdo
Before we headed home, I tried to lose them all in the maze, but sadly they reached the centre in record time, and we’re back out again before I knew it. I’ll try again another day.
So that was our day at Cliveden House. I highly recommend it, we had great fun and felt all wholesome and healthy. The kids had rosy cheeks, and for a few seconds we actually looked like one of those families that does this sort of thing all the time, and pretend to like each other for photos. The bluebells will be out soon too, so it will look even prettier. We’ll definitely be back.