The Cliveden Set: Thursday 14th May. High above the River Thames, behind hanging beech woods, is Cliveden, the country estate of the fabulously wealthy Nancy and Waldorf Astor. Here, between the wars, the Astors gathered around them the Cliveden Set including the German ambassador Von Ribbentrop, Charlie Chaplin, Lloyd George, Rudyard Kipling and Lawrence of Arabia. Our exciting new day tells the story of the Cliveden Set and their contemporaries in the beautiful Thames Chilterns. Meet our expert local Blue Badge Guide in Beaconsfield for time to buy morning refreshments. We visit the Burnham Beeches, one of our finest tracts of ancient woodland and the go to forest for film makers with credits including Ivanhoe and Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves. In the riverside settlement of Taplow (the name means Tappa’s barrow) we see the Anglo-Saxon mound in which the greatest Anglo Saxon treasure until Sutton Hoo was discovered. There are brilliant views of Taplow Court, home to Lord Desborough who organised the 1908 Olympic Games and his beautiful wife Ettie a darling of Edwardian Society and rival to Nancy Astor at Cliveden. We arrive at Cliveden to picnic or buy lunch in the large NT cafe. The massive Italianate mansion is now on lease from the National Trust as the five star hotel. We’ll take you on a gentle trail through the gardens, which capture the grandeur of the time between the wars when it was the glittering hub of society. We’ll choose the best of the gardens when you come: the famous parterre planted in spring and summer with 25,000 bulbs and bedding plants, the restored Rose Garden, the topiary and an outstanding sculpture collection. Along the way there are great stories of the Cliveden Set and, fifty years later, of the Profumo Scandal. Time to buy tea before heading home at 4.45pm. Coach will depart Stevenage at 09.00. Price 52.00 per person (NT Members £36.00).