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Waddesdon Wonder

Just back from the press launch of Christmas Carnival at Waddesdon Manor and I'm telling ya, it's a total winner. Check out the show!

Not a bad first sighting of Waddesdon Manor, is it?!

I went to the press opening of the Christmas Carnival last night and I’m bashing this out quickly as I think you’ll love it and I want to show you the fun! Waddesdon does Christmas really well anyway, but there’s definitely more glitz for your dollar this year.

For starters, the chalets selling food and gifts line have moved from the ‘back’ of the Manor to the North Front – as you walk towards the house 86 exhibitors line either side of the area.

Credit: Chris Lacey

Inside the house is decorated for Christmas and is now open to the public (though be warned – house tickets are already sold out until Christmas on weekends), and this year the theme is exotic, channelling 18th century Venice – check out the ‘mask’ wreath on the front door and the references on the interior spruce trees.

There’s no Bruce Munro light installation this year, but there is a fantastic tree lighting game in the adventure play area, where there are two huge TAP buttons. When your kids (or you – you know you’ll be elbowing them out the way!) touch the buttons, the trees all change colour. Check this out!

At this point you can either get all warm and cosy and pretend you’re actually in Norway in the twinkly furry tipi café. Or carry on down the Woodland Sound Trail (which I wasn’t that bothered about truth be told). This eventually segued into a Tunnel of Light which was much more my bag, as it was all a bit trippy and bright and ‘ooooh pretty lights!’-ish.

Once you’ve walked through the tunnel you reach The Stables area, with its Christmas shop – more baubles in more colours than you can shake a spruce at. Kids can sit and decorate one for £4, leaving you to mosey around for gifts.

But my favourite bit of my trip to Waddesdon was the biggest surprise. I’d been told of the light projection show which sounded a bit yawn, but OMG it’s amazzzzzing. Created by students at Guildhall School, the 3D projections are hard to describe – look at this instead. I sat down with my kids and we just oohed and ahhed.

The evening finished with giant churros and crepes and it may not surprise you to know that my kids are eager for a repeat visit. So am I for that matter.

So if you have some time free over the next month, spend some of it Waddeson Manor way – it’s Muddy tried, tested and approved!

Waddeson Manor, Aylesbury HP18 0JH.

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