DAY OUT: Claydon House (mid Bucks)
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It doesn’t have the big adventure playground of Waddesdon and Cliveden, and no-one can accuse the cafe of being trendy unless you find orange pine sexy. But the house is really interesting, particularly to any kids who are learning about Florence Nightingale, as this was her home for much of her life, and the gardens are open, relaxed, and very pretty.
There are really grand elements to the house – these inlaid banisters are so delicate that the spiral staircase is off limits now, but it’s a really stunning centrepiece to the house.
The house itself dates from the 1750s, owned by the Verney family who still live there, and was designed to display their extraordinary wealth, with lavish apartments like this Chinese room (below) and the downstairs salon. (Trivia fans: the ornate fireplace featured in the Sunday Times Style mag just last weekend!).
There’s plenty of Florence N memorabelia too, not least her own bedroom, where kids can, if not quite bounce on her bed, certainly sit or lie on it. That’s really unusual for a stately home, to allow kids to be so bums-on!
Outside is just lovely too. I took millions of photos but here are a couple to give you an idea.
You’ll probably muster a coffee and cake in the cafe – it’s actually really lovely if the weather is good enough to sit outside – but for a lunch out that way, you’re very close to Winslow (a pretty little town) and Adstock, which has The Old Thatched Inn. I haven’t been there so can’t vouch for it personally but have heard it’s good from a couple of other people I trust, so you could maybe give that a go too. Review it for me if you make it!
Middle Claydon, Bucks, MK18 2EX. claydonestate.co.uk