MIDDLE CLAYDON, BUCKINGHAMSHIRE
In the 1750s at his family seat in Buckinghamshire, Ralph Verney set out to create a country house of extraordinary grandeur that would dazzle his wealthy neighbours and outdo his political rivals. Thirty years on, he was facing financial ruin. Today the interiors that remain are among the most ambitious and lavish ever created in the 18th century. Ceilings, cornices, walls and overmantels are adorned with delicately carved fruits, birds, beasts and flowers by Luke Lightfoot. The Chinese room is particularly splendid. There is also a spectacular parquetry staircase. Claydon has been occupied by the Verney family for more than 550 years; the place is a testament to their fascinating fluctuating fortunes, from their close involvement in the English Civil War to the family connection with Florence Nightingale, who was a regular visitor to the house. Photo credits: Florence Nightingales' room & Chinese Room - Andreas von Einsiedel; Saloon - J Whitaker.
Facilities – at a glance
Suitable for all child ages
- Parking onsite
- Ground floor accessible, virtual tour of upper floor
- Facilities: Upstairs tour video
- Accessible toilets
- Opening Times: House open 11 Mar-6 Nov, Sat-Wed 11-5 (last admission 4.30)
Also in the area
About the area
Buckinghamshire is a land of glorious beech trees, wide views and imposing country houses. Victorian Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli savoured the peace and tranquillity of Hughenden Manor, while generations of statesmen have entertained world leaders at Chequers, the Prime Minister’s rural retreat. Stowe and Waddesdon Manor are fine examples of even grander houses, set amid sumptuous gardens and dignified parkland.
The Vale of Aylesbury is a vast playground for leisure seekers with around 1,000 miles (1,609km) of paths and tracks to explore. Rising above it are the Chiltern Hills, a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty covering 308sq miles (798sq km). They are best appreciated in autumn, when the leaves turn from dark green to deep brown. In the southeast corner of the Chilterns lie the woodland rides of Burnham Beeches, another haven for ramblers and wildlife lovers. Although the county’s history is long and eventful, it’s also associated with events within living memory. At Bletchley Park, more than 10,000 people worked in complete secrecy to try and bring a swift conclusion to World War II. Further south, an otherwise unremarkable stretch of railway line was made infamous by the Great Train Robbery in the summer of 1963.
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