Reasons to go to Waddesdon Manor in August
Hmmm, you’ve reached an older feature - let’s get you up to date! Read our latest Design/Architecture features here.
It being my closest National Trust property, I’m often up at Waddesdon and popped up again yesterday with the little Muddys and their cousin.
This post is largely photos, because the Manor was looking so gorgeous I thought it might inspire you to go up yourself if you haven’t already tried it this summer.
Yesterday happened to coincide with a Rover car show – not quite Ferrari I grant you, but it was gratifyingly quirky and British, with all the owners perched on canvas chairs on the grass and all these Sixties cars in strange colours with their bonnets up. My dad had a lovely mid-brown Rover 500 when I was little so it was a fun bit of nostalgia.
I’m pretty late on seeing the art in Waddesdon this summer – not quite sure how that’s happened! – but I loved finally getting to see Le Carrosse by Xavier Veilhan in situ- it’s angular metal modernism screaming at the classic gardens around it.
Then we made it into the Bruce Munro light installation Cantus Arcticus down in the Stables which the kids loved. It’s only been up since, um, March, but you know, there’s a time and place for everything.
The only problem with staging art shows down at the Stables is that you come out directly opposite the gift shop, a space that is virtually made of sugar. There are sweets galore in here, along with a healthily price-hiked range of vintage toys, and it’s almost impossible to extract children without haemorrhaging money.
The pick and mix got the better of us but looking at the range of sweets in this shop (clever displays by the way), I guess we came out fairly lightly.
New bits of Waddesdon yesterday? Well, there’s now a natty outside canopy area to the coffee kiosk by the shop (below)…
… and on a less positive note, there seemed to be less bench seating around the place – only one in the little kids play area and one outside the Stables where you wait for the little bus to take you to the top again. I’m just lazy, so frankly I should just put up with it, but older folk might want to sit down for a bit by the end of the day. Not sure if anyone can explain that one – maybe they’ve been taken off to be mended or something.
If Waddesdon is a bit of a trek from you, I’d still definitely recommend it as a day trip (just check the weather first – like most NT properties, it’s best when it’s dry). You can easily spend a full day around the house, in the stunning gardens, admiring the art, seeing the exotic birds in the aviary and letting the kids loose in the adventure playground (both below).
Plus there are several good pubs in the area (The Long Dog in Waddesdon, The Black Boy in Oving, and the soon-to-open The Hundred in Ashendon – not tried and tested yet but the signs are good!) if you want to venture past the Rothschild gates.
FYI, coming up at Waddesdon in the next few weeks are Quantum Theatre’s The Tales of Beatrix Potter (10 Aug) and Opera Brava’s Madam Butterfly and The Barber of Seville (16-17 Aug). Plus don’t forget the children’s tour of the house on the 14th – my kids loved it and throughout August children go free.