Near Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, HP18 OJH. Tel. (0)1296.653.211. www.waddesdon.org.uk.
Highlights of Waddesdon Manor:
- The House, modeled on Renaissance-style French chateaux in the Loire Valley, with 45 rooms on display
- The Dining Room, arranged as it was for a dinner in 1897
- The priceless collection of Sevres porcelain
- Marie-Antoinette’s Writing Desk
- The Bachelors’ Wing, with its Billiard Room and Armoury Corridor
- The Stables, which are enjoying a second life as a cafe and gift shop
- The Aviary, with its vast array of rare and critically endangered birds
- The Gardens and Parterres, which are an art form in themselves
Built for a baron but fit for a king, Waddesdon Manor was the home of Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild. It was built between 1874 and 1889 to display Rothschild’s outstanding collection of art treasures and to entertain the fashionable world.
Waddesdon is the last remaining complete example of the distinctive Rothschild style. The house is filled to the rafters with beautiful antiques, among which are high quality French furniture, a rare collection of Sevres porcelain dishes, magnificent English portraits, and Dutch Old Master paintings.
Besides the impressive house with 45 rooms on display, Waddesdon is also famous for its enchanting gardens, among the finest Victorian gardens in Britain, with parterres, seasonal displays, colorful shrubs, and grand old trees. At the center of the gardens is the Aviary, filled with a fascinating collection of rare and endangered birds. Set on a hilltop, Waddesdon commands breathtaking views of the surrounding Aylesbury Vale.
The National Trust acquired Waddesdon in 1957 but the property is managed by a family Charitable trust, The Alice Trust, chaired by Lord Rothschild. The property boasts 7 miles of quiet roads and lanes only used by estate and farm traffic and is popular in films.
Peak Season – The House opens: Wednesday, Thursday, Friday 12:00-4:00 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday 11:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. Closed Monday and Tuesday. (Opening times and prices change according to season. For most updated information, check the official Waddesdon Manor website before you go.)
A timed ticket system operates, and entry is every 15 minutes. Please note that tickets are limited, and they sell out on busy days.
Tip: Enter the house no later than 2:30 p.m. in order to have sufficient time to enjoy the collection – earlier if you are visiting the Bachelors’ Wing. Audio guide highly recommended.
Adult admission: House & Gardens: £15 weekdays, £17 weekends. Gardens Only: £6.50 weekdays; £8 weekends. Audio guides available (£2)
Waddesdon is 45 miles from London and 20 miles from Oxford. From Oxford, take the Arriva The Shires bus (numbers 16/17) to Aylesbury. From Aylesbury, take a taxi to Waddesdon Manor. The taxi driver may offer to come pick you up at a set time, for a slight deposit. Take the driver up on the offer, as it is difficult to locate a taxi at the Manor itself.
Take a Break
Stables Restaurant provides simple food and fresh ingredients and has a cold buffet, plats du jour, soup and sandwiches, pastries, and cakes, as well as hot and cold drinks and wonderful ice creams. Open from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Did You Know?
Queen Victoria came to Waddesdon once and was so pleased with the food she was served that she sent her personal chef to learn from the Rothschild family’s chef.
If Time Permits
Bachelor’s Wing. Open Wednesday, Thursday, Friday. 12:00-4:00 p.m. Closed Monday, Tuesday, Saturday and Sunday. Adult Admission: £3.60