What’s so great about this swimming pool?
Okay, so during the Cold War, this was the infamous swimming pool in which Christine Keeler (the rumoured mistress of a Russian) first set eyes on John Profumo (who was then the Secretary of State for War). The two began an affair which rocked the English establishment and resulted in a film on the subject in the 1980s called Scandal, starring John Hurt, Joanne Whalley and Bridget Fonda. But forgetting the pool’s sordid past, today this is a pool that’s understated, incredibly peaceful and wonderfully private – spend an afternoon here and there will be moments when you could almost fancy that the National Trust house before you and its pool are yours, all yours! It truly feels like a privilege to lie here by a pool that’s been used by those in the highest echelons of society, with famous guests including Charlie, Winston Churchill, Nancy Astor (the first ever woman in Parliament), the Queen Mum, Joyce Grenfell and George Bernard Shaw.
It’s the detail that counts…
- The outdoor swimming pool at Cliveden House is situated in the most charming walled garden with a view of the house itself.>
- The pool is big enough to exercise in and small enough to cosset you – it’s about 17m long.
- The temperature of the pool is just right – warm, yet refreshing at a steady 26 degrees – and it is open all year round.
- There are two hot tubs by the outdoor swimming pool – and they make a fantastic water diversion from the main pool.
- You can spend all day here – oh, the opulence – as there is a spa conservatory selling fabulous fresh food which will be brought directly to your sun lounger.
- Behind the pool is the Cliveden Spa where you can retreat to the indoor pool which is a few metres longer than the outdoor pool) or to try some of the opulent treatments. There is also a jacuzzi inside, a gym and a separate ladies and men’s saunas.
- And if you wanted a little time away from this fabulous swimming pool and spa, you could take a walk around the National Trust gardens (there are great walking and jogging trails to follow) or play a few games of tennis on the indoor and outdoor courts.
So the swimming pool’s fab, now what’s the hotel like?
Cliveden is a simply amazing hotel. If you want to truly feel like a queen (or at least part of the aristocracy) get a room which overlooks the grand entrance and looks out on a driveway which is not too dissimilar to The Mall leading up to Buckingham Palace. Dining will be in an elegant, hushed restaurant with the a view of the incredible grounds. The rooms are delightfully antiquated and spacious. Forget electronic card entry systems and think brass handles that might need a little jiggle to open but are so worth the teeny effort. The grand piano in the lobby is topped with photos of many of the famous guests. And the wood panelling is warming and makes this fantastically grand hotel seem wonderfully cosy.
What else is there to do near Cliveden?
There is so much to do at and around Cliveden. The grounds themselves give you 376 acres of National Trust gardens to walk in, including some delightful walks along the River Thames, a fitness trail to try and a children’s play area. There are also boat rides in beautiful vintage launches. Off-site Cliveden is happy to help you arrange time nearby playing golf, horse riding, fishing, shooting, archery and polo nearby. Windsor Castle is only 15 minutes from Cliveden by car and Bicester Village is under an hour away (its 130 boutiques off designer shopping at around 60% off). Cliveden is also a fifteen minute drive from Bray, the village which houses some of celebrity chef Heston Blumenthal’s original restaurants, including The Fat Duck.