Waddesdon Manor is a very grand National Trust property in South Bucks. It’s a treat to visit any time of year, but my favourite time to go is over the Christmas holidays. In December, the mansion is lit up like a Christmas tree, and the house is decked out to perfection.
We arrived at sunset, and enjoyed the gorgeous views over the rolling countryside. Pretty gorgeous, right?
Waddesdon Manor is a huge, splendid mansion, so it’s beautiful anyway. When it gets decorated for Christmas, it is simply magical.
Doing the Chrismas Trail at Waddesdon Manor
The only part of Christmas I don’t like is the 6th of January, when I am forced, kicking and screaming, to take down the Christmas tree. Well I pity the poor people at Waddesdon Manor, as they have a lot of work to do to take down their Christmas trees! They have loads, and they are huge too, not just a six footer like ours.To see the house, you’ll need a timed ticket, which you book ahead online. It’s great for kids as well as grown ups, as they do a lovely trail around the decorated rooms for them to follow. This year, there were cute little gingerbread men on each tree for them to find, and collect stickers.
There were so many incredible Christmas trees to admire, but my favourite has to be this one, made of paper! The hours this must have taken to make!
I got a close up of some of the flowers, they are real works of art.
Ava and Thea loved the corridor of lace and lights best.
Field of Light by Bruce Munro at Waddesdon Manor
After looking round the house, we went to explore the gardens. It was dark by then, so the lights by artist Bruce Munroe looked brilliant. I tried to take pictures but I only have an iPhone so they didn’t come out that well. It gives you an idea though. There must have been thousands of lights across the gardens, and they all changed colour slowly. It’s pretty magical.
The house itself was all lit up with colour changing lights and they were playing dramatic music too. All in all, it was a very festive trip and I’m already looking forward to going back next year!
How To Get The Best from Your Visit to Waddesdon Manor
Our slot to view the house was about 4.30, which I chose so that we could look at the lights afterwards, and then go home. Because we go quite regularly, we only went for a few hours. If you haven’t seen before, there is plenty to look at for a whole day.
Whatever time of year you visit, if you want to tour the house, I recommend you book in advance as it is very popular. (The house is closed until March for conservation.) If you want to go at a weekend or before Christmas, book WELL in advance. We didn’t get our act together this time so we went in the week between Christmas and New Year. It was still gorgeous but I think going before Christmas helps to ramp up the excitement!
There are several places to eat on the estate, including a cafe and a restaurant and stands for tea and coffee dotted about the grounds. It gets very busy though, so can be a bit stressful in my experience. They have high chairs and, as you’d expect from a National Trust property, the food is yummy but not cheap. There is a great kids playground and they have events for children too. The kids probably wouldn’t have been that interested in the house normally, but because they had the special trail with stickers, that kept them happy so we could look and not feel like we had to rush through!
You can leave bags at the start of the house, and they them to the exit so they are waiting for your on your way out. I recommend wrapping up warm and leaving your layers in a bag so you don’t get really hot looking around.
If you’re going to be walking around the lights you can get a hot chocolate to take with you. It gets very cold there are is is very exposed, so wrap up warm!
Do you have a favourite National Trust property? Or do you prefer English Heritage? I’d love to know your favourites, please leave me a comment below!