This week I dragged my boyfriend to Waddesdon Manor, a beautiful 1870s country house near to Aylesbury. To be honest, I say I dragged my boyfriend, but he was actually very happy to go!
The reason I wanted to go is because the manor (and it’s grounds) has so much on at Christmas and I visited years and years ago with my nan and parents, having an amazing time. I’d always wanted to go back – and we always tried to – but it just didn’t happen. So as part as my birthday present, my boyfriend agreed to take me on a day that the Christmas fair was on.
We also booked tickets to go inside the house and see the decorations as on my last visit, my family and I only visited the grounds.
After just an hours drive, we arrived near to the house where we were welcomed with two tall beautiful Christmas trees. We were actually nowhere near the house but already I felt festive! We drove down through the gates and to the car park, where we hopped onto a shuttle bus that took us down to the house.
Though the walk itself is only twenty minutes or so long, it was very chilly so we decided to take the lazy option! As soon as we stepped off the bus I was blown away to see the magnificent house in front of us. Pretty Christmas lights twinkled in the trees surrounding the house and down each side of the long lawn, pop up cabins/chalets hosted the Christmas market.
We got stuck in, admiring the decorations from each cabin and the delicate string lights criss-crossing from cabin to lampost, emitting a romantic glow as we walked beneath. The first cabin we visited was a foodie one and even had a vegan burger on offer – perfect! Vincent scoffed his in no time (it was too spicy for me!) and we began a slow walk to check out what was on offer. Though we saw lots of great things, we actually forgot to buy any gifts and just bought some chilli sauces for ourselves!
After a mooch around the market, we explored the grounds. The stables looked particularly festive – and the walk from the house to the stables was nice. It was a winding path through trees but lit up with small lantern lights. We spent half an hour in the playground too – there were some fun things to do as adults! – and generally just spent the rest of the time gazing at the festive decorations.
When it was almost time for our timed entry into the house, we walked up and realized there was an outdoor light show. With floodlights changing the colours of the trees and sound effects, we were treated to a short but sweet show held against the backdrop of the house. We saw colourful butterflies fly over the walls outside and even snow! It was really beautiful.
Inside the house was even more festive. Even though we only saw a handful of rooms, each had a different theme and the trees were out of this world. I got so many ideas for our tree (when we eventually get one!) and loved walking through the old walls and delving into the houses past.
My only qualm is that we didn’t get to see much of the house at all. Obviously not every room is decorated for Christmas, but as we spent £30 for the both of us to visit the house, I was quite surprised to find we were in and out within only twenty minutes. Still, I was glad we got to see inside and the trees really were beautiful!
We also had issues finding somewhere to eat, though this is through no fault of Waddesdon. There was lots of food on offer, but this was mostly pop-ups or cafes which of course served nothing vegan. We should have booked in advance to eat in the restaurant really but didn’t think that far ahead.
Saying that, I was pleasantly surprised to find even a vegan burger on offer at the market, it’s just a shame that it was too spicy for me! We found solace in the raclette cabin which offered cheesy chips and gravy – we ordered it without the cheese to make a delicious but light vegan snack.
All in all it was a really lovely and festive day. Waddesdon Manor is still one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever visited and there really is nothing like it come Christmas. From the Christmas market to Waddesdon Imaginarium (the light show projected onto the house), there really is so much to see and do this winter, proving that it’s worth risking the cold to make a visit.
Have you ever been to Waddesdon Manor? Let me know!
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