This week saw the launch of a new summer pop-up Champagne Terrace bar at Cliveden House. The Italianate mansion is the former home of Nancy Astor, wife of the 2nd Viscount Astor. In the 1920s and 1930s Cliveden was the meeting place of the Cliveden Set. In the early 1960s, it became the setting for the events of the notorious Profumo Affair.
The English Grade I listed country house was built in 1851 and is now a 5-star hotel, under lease from the National Trust. The house was built by English architect Charles Berry also known for his part in the rebuilding of the Palace of Westminster (the Houses of Parliament). But that’s another story.
It was a rainy summer evening and so the launch was held in the French Room, which opens on to the terrace. The stunning panneling in this room is 18th century Rococo. It is from the Château d’Asnières near Paris, leased to Louis XV and Madame de Pompadour, his mistress. In 1897 the paneling came up for sale in Paris and the 1st Lord Astor snapped it up for Cliveden. It took a little adjustment to make it fit but the end result is exquisite.
The estate extends to 376 acres, with around 180 acres comprising the gardens, the rest being woodland and paddocks. The gardens are also listed Grade I on the Register of Historic Parks and Gardens. On the south side of the house, and viewed from 20-foot high terrace outside the French Room, is the formal parterre. It is one of the largest in Europe at 4 acres. It was raining, so forgive the quality of the photo as I popped my head out to take a quick snap.
Inside, the bright yellow Verve Clicquot ‘glasses’ and smiling faces made everything sunny. Open to non-residents the Champagne Terrace runs throughout the summer.
Cliveden House Hotel on the borders of Berkshire in the UK. www.clivedenhouse.co.uk