Cliveden & Cookham

Cliveden House from the Thames

On Saturday we had arranged to meet up with our family in Teddington and selected the National Trust property at Cliveden as it is both convenient for travelling and a good place for a family day out. All week the forecast for had shown Saturday to be the worst for weather and as the week progressed Met Office warnings were in place for heavy rain showers. On Saturday morning heavy rain was forecast for the South-East with lighter rain and showers in the afternoon with eventually some sunny periods for the afternoon.

The morning forecast was entirely accurate. Our journey down from Northamptonshire to Cliveden was miserable with the M40 particularly difficult with lots of standing water, spray and low visibility. However, just as we got to Marlow the clouds lightened and by the time we got into the gardens at Cliveden it was sunny.  There were very people around, because of the forecast, and even the very popular cafe was far from busy.

The grandchildren had a great time in the gardens, although the big attraction - the giant slide - was out of action because of the weather ("still wet" although it did dry out). They particularly enjoyed the maze.

The National Trust run boat trips along the Thames at Cliveden so this opportunity couldn't be missed, particularly since the reach below Cliveden is very pretty and there are spectacular views of the house which we have seen passing this way on Albert. Two trips were on offer. We chose the family trip which was in an electric launch. The 50 minute cruise was up to one of the Cookham Lock weirs via a bywater, then downstream to just above Boulters Lock and finally back to the jetty below the house. The weather was glorious and the river was fairly quiet, presumably because of the morning deluge. The last time we passed along the river here it was Spring but even with the trees in full summer leaf the views of Cliveden House above the river were wonderful (see above). There was still quite a stream on the river after the recent periods of rain and red & yellow boards.

Weir at Cookham

A National Trust launch

Spring Cottage which was famously let to Stephen Ward

Amelia watching the boat skipper at work

In the late afternoon, after the family had departed for home, Maggie and I drove into Cookham and walked along the Thames Path through the common land that fringes the river. There were a number of boats moored up, some with crews on deck enjoying the sunshine. We have moored here with Albert on more that one occasion - it is a great mooring.

Boats moored at Cookham Reach

Cookham Reach

The one aspect that has changed since we last visited here is the new flood gates on a number of properties, presumably a response to the devastating floods earlier in the year. They certainly look substantial.

Flood gate on a Thames-side property.

We managed to finish the day with a meal at The Ferry, which is alongside the Blue Bridge.

The Blue Bridge at Cookham