Opulent, dramatic and extensive are just some of words you can use to describe Waddesdon Manor. The approach to the house is filmic and the interiors are bursting with curiosities. I imagine if you lived here you could quite easily get lost.
Waddesdon was built in the 19th century but in the style of a 16th century French Renaissance Chateau by Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild as an escape from London life. The Baron predominantly used the house in the summer to entertain family and friends. The Rothschild family already owned many houses in Aylesbury so it made sense for Rothschild to build this architectural marvel here.
De Rothschild purchased the bare agricultural land where Waddesdon now stands in 1874 and the manor was completed in 1883. The home has witnessed many parties, including a royal visit from Queen Victoria in 1890 who refused to ride the electric elevator specifically fitted for her arrival as she didn’t trust electricity.
Inside the interior is palatial in scale and decor. Panels have been hand carved with beautiful creatures that mimic Parisian houses from the 1700s. With each room boasting many things from Rothschild’s collection. But not all that’s on display is from earlier centuries. The sitting rooms, reading rooms and many other sections of the house mix both old and new which is to expected of an avid collector.
Being famous for its parties, the Rothschild collection holds an epic 400 piece porcelain dinner service which was regularly used by the family and their guests.
The outside is equally as majestic. Landscaped gardens to the front lead you from one colourful display to the next and bring you by the hand to a central water feature with playful sculptures. Entrances are shrouded with intriguing foliage and plants that you wouldn’t usually see in this climate. You would think that the front aspect is the main garden but you’re not even prepared for what is behind the manor.
I wish I had more time to explore Waddesdon. Purely to take in the large grounds to the rear of the manor. There is so much going on from the Aviary, to the gallery stables as well as the walks both to and from the estate.
If you do plan on visiting Waddesdon Manor, be sure to go early so you can take in EVERYTHING. I’ll be going back soon as have heard that Christmas time on the estate is magical, with festive markets, foods and changing exhibitions.
If you’re interested in looking around more National Trust gems, I also visited the Wimpole Estate in Cambridgeshire.