The English lyricist William Wordsworth is famous for his poem I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud, which describes a beautiful display of daffodils in his native Lake District, as he and his sister walked through the countryside one day. The verse containing the words “A host of golden daffodils; Beside the lake, beneath the trees, Fluttering and dancing in the breeze…” in my mind really captures the elegance and majesty of arguably England’s most celebrated spring flower.
Daffodils are all around us at this time of year in the gardens and woodlands of the South East, confirmation that although winter may occasionally send its’ chill winds and rain from time-to-time, sunnier and warmer weather is finally here and we can start to get out and about.
A great place to see daffodils as well as appreciating the history and architecture of one of South East England’s most magnificent National Trust properties is Cliveden near Taplow in Buckinghamshire. Cliveden was built as an Italianate mansion in the mid-19th century (replacing an earlier building destroyed by fire) and its’ impressive Clock Tower and Terrace overlooking the River Thames has an extensive estate the size of 375 acres – or equivalent to no less than 1.5km. The parterre (a type of formal garden constructed on a level surface, all designed symmetrically) is considered to be one of the largest in Europe and has stunning views.
When I visited the gardens at Cliveden this month, there was a wonderful show of not only daffodils, but also primroses, snowdrops and other spring flowers. The dedicated and skilled team of gardeners were out in force planting and maintaining the many beds in this charming part of the Chilterns.
Of course, Cliveden is perfect for walking through its’ many acres of woodland (dogs are welcome here too), the gardens or simply enjoying a lazy lunch or a cup of coffee in the café. But there are plenty of others things to see and do at Cliveden, and if you’d like to visit the House – once the home of the Astor family and even royalty – then you can book a tour during April on either a Thursday or a Sunday afternoon. During the week the building serves as an exclusive, luxury country house hotel so if you’d like to find out more about the heritage, interior design and the colourful history of Cliveden, this is your ideal opportunity.
This being Easter, there are also lots of fun activities for all the family: and children love chocolate too… Between the 25 -28 March there is the annual Cadbury Easter Egg Hunt. The Easter Bunny has been hard at work, placing a trail of Easter eggs around the paths, gardens and walkways at Cliveden. The Cadbury Easter Egg Hunt will be on from 10am until 4pm (last hunt starts at 3.30pm) Friday to Monday over the Easter weekend and costs £3 per child plus normal admission charges.
There are many other family events at Cliveden over the spring and summer months, including Wild Wednesdays (where children can learn about planting, growing and eating their own food), Tree Climbing and much more. Have a look at this handy list of 50 Things to do before you’re 11 ¾ at Cliveden if you’re seeking further inspiration.
Wishing you all a Happy Easter.
Blog written by Simon Frost of Hibou Communication