The present house, which is now a hotel owned by the National Trust, was built in 1851 by the architect Charles Barry. However the modern house is on the site of a much older construction, that was built in 1666 as the home of George Villiers, 2nd Duke of Buckingham and was later the home of Frederick, Prince of Wales, among others. It was also the house at which the song Rule Britannia was first performed in 1740. After the death of the Prince of Wales the house fell into disrepair, and was eventually demolished.
The house was reconstructed in 1851 at the orders of the Duke of Sunderland, who needed a country house that was in close proximity to London. The rebuilding made it considerably grander and more luxurious than the previous house, and so when it came up for sale again it was much sought after. At the beginning of the 20th century it became the home of the Astor family, and in the 1930s it was the home of Nancy, Lady Astor.
While the home of Lady Astor, the house became a very fashionable place for prominent figures in both politics and the arts to go and meet each other: to hunt, to stroll in the magnificent gardens or for the lavish parties that were held there. This prominent group of individuals became known as the 'Cliveden Set' and were very influential over the affairs of state. In the mid 1930s the Cliveden Set were one of the most prominent groups to call for the appeasement of Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany.
The house became the centre of a scandal once more in 1961 when a chance meeting at a party there between the cabinet minister John Profumo and a showgirl Christine Keeler led to a brief romantic affair between the them. A year later the affair was made public, causing a scare as Keeler had also had an affair with an attache at the Soviet Embassy. The affair and the scandal that followed became known as the Profumo Affair.
Today the house is a five star hotel that is run in the style of an Edwardian country house. Its close proximity to London and to Heathrow Airport make it a very sought after place to stay and its grounds have been listed by the National Trust as one of the finest gardens in the country.