350 years of history that includes poets, movie stars, prime ministers and every monarch since Charles II, Cliveden country house and hotel has to be the perfect setting for a literary festival. This September the itinerary is packed to the brim with influential men and women from politicians to writers and actors. So put on your thinking caps and open your minds to the one and only Cliveden Literary Festival…
Cliveden is a magnificent English country house famed for its unique and extraordinary history of politics, aristocracy, espionage and scandal. Ever since 1666 Cliveden has inspired writers from Alexander Pope and George Bernard Shaw, Jonathan Swift and Lord Tennyson to Sir Winston Churchill. The Cliveden Literary Festival evokes the spirit of these great writers and potentates who stayed here and continue the tradition of the house as a sanctuary for lovers of literature.
The centre of British political, royal and literary life since it was built, from the scheming Elizabeth Villiers to the glittering society hostess, Harriet, Duchess of Sutherland, who provoked a constitutional crisis during the reign of Queen Victoria; from the beautiful courtesan Anna Maria, Countess of Shrewsbury and the muse to Alexander Pope, to Britain’s first female MP and arch-appeaser Nancy Astor, who hosted famous guests from Asquith to Gandhi. Most recently, in 2018, Cliveden was at the centre of international interest when Meghan Markle – now Duchess of Sussex – stayed here on the night before her wedding to Prince Harry.
This September will be the third year of the already renowned and much loved festival in the iconic setting of Cliveden. Panel topics and sessions for this year’s festival include global power, conflict & conspiracy, the art of the novel, Victoria’s legacy, the secrets of the universe and the secrets of the mind.
The two day event is jam packed full of must do talks. The long list of speakers at the event include (but certainly are not limited to) Professor Brian Cox, Helen Fielding (best known for writing Bridget Jones, stage musicals and TV dramas in both the UK and LA), famous DJ Chris Evans, BAFTA nominated actor Alex Macqueen, senior editor of the Economist Anne McElvoy, MP Jacob Rees-Mogg and Sir Richard Dearlove who served as chief of the British Secret Intelligence served (known as SIS and MI6) and was spy master for an astonishing 38 years. This inspirational group of men and women are but a few of the long list of speakers worth seeing, the full list can be seen here.
To keep your brain in gear over the course of the two days, sustenance and a place to stay are both essential. For rooms at Cliveden House itself you can take a look at the rooms here or for other places to stay nearby, click here.
During the festival good food is never far away. For something special, Cliveden’s innovative restaurant in the main house will be serving a two-course set lunch on Saturday and Sunday, from 12.30-2pm, at £38 per person. Please Note: Space in the restaurant is limited so we recommend making a reservation in advance. There’s also the Astor Grill, a casual dining space open throughout the Saturday and Sunday with tea coffee and pastries available 9am-11:30am and set lunches from 12:30pm-2pm.
For quick eats so you don’t miss any of the action there’s the Peardrop Deli. Serving lunchtime and teatime snacks out of a vintage horsebox in the forecourt. Rolling Dough Pizza, who make wood fired pizza. Bey Roots, a Lebanese street food including chargrilled chicken, halloumi and falafel etc, then last but not least is the Horsebox coffee co. Here you can find sustainably sourced coffee, tea and homemade cakes from their horsebox – naturally!
Tickets for the full weekend are £175 and can be purchased here – so book your tickets now (before they all sell out!)
Images: Andre Garratt, Cliveden