Cliveden Estate

Cliveden Estate in Buckinghamshire is celebrating its 350th anniversary this year with the opening of an underground historic chamber and sound installation.

The chamber is located below the South Terrace and is now open for the first time in 30 years.

As part of the reopening of the chamber, contemporary sound artist Robin Rimbaud, alias Scanner, has been commissioned to create a musical installation called Ghosts that will encourage visitors to reflect on 350 years of Cliveden’s stories.

It is unclear what the chamber’s original purpose was; however, the acoustics of the domed space support the theory that the room was used for musical performances.

It’s suggested that the chamber acted as a giant amplifier, built so the sounds of a hidden orchestra could drift around guests at parties in the past.

The renovation of the space comes as part of a five year, £6 million restoration project, which began on the Grade 1 listed South Terrace in 2012 to ensure its future.

As part of the project, a team removed damaged and peeling rendering from the walls of the chamber, and discovered hidden funnels in the ceiling and intricate brickwork that has been adapted over time.

Groups visiting will be able to see these details until the autumn, when the chamber will be fully restored and its raw state covered up.

You can listen to Ghosts and see the chamber in the video below:

Cliveden’s scandalous history

The Cliveden Estate was home to the notorious Second Duke of Buckingham, who was exiled after the English Civil War.

He returned to Buckingham in 1657 before building the house for his mistress, who later fatally wounded her husband in a duel.

The estate also played host to the notorious Profumo affair in the 1960s in which the married Secretary of State for War, John Profumo, had a three-month affair with a 19-year-old would-be model – a scandal that ended his career and brought down the Macmillan Conservative Government.

Group visits

Guided house and garden tours are available for groups, as are discounted entry rates for parties of 15 or more.

For further information visit

(Photo credit: National Trust Images).