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Waddesdon Manor, nr Aylesbury

A French-style château near Aylesbury with beautiful Victorian gardens, extensive grounds, and great exhibitions.

Weekend Escapes

If you’re Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild and you want somewhere to host lavish weekend house parties, there’s only one obvious answer – build your own Loire style chateau in the Buckinghamshire countryside. Et voila! Up popped Waddesdon Manor in 1883, with a little help from French architect, Gabriel-Hippolyte Destailleur, who indulged his Gallic Renaissance fairy-tale dreams and created the ultimate turreted party pad.

It’s no run-of-the-mill English stately home, that’s for sure: the inside is all Versailles pizzazz, with mirrors and marble galore, and the wine cellars stock a whopping 15,000 bottles of vino (me and Baron Ferdinand would definitely have been mates). Visitors can (should) stop by for a taste or two, before stumbling on to check out the changing selection of knockout exhibitions.

Nationally-acclaimed exhibitions cover art, history, photography, from guest artists to deep-dives into the estate’s history. There’s also a perpetually jam-packed schedule of events and special days, from food markets to film screenings, hitting all the big dates of the year, so keep an eye out for what’s on.

And the grounds, Madame? Gems in their own right, they’re famous for the parterre gardens — a veritable botanical tapestry that’s re-planted every spring and summer. The wider grounds are also full of flowers, from snowdrop seas to daffodils dusted all around, and hold a proud place in our list of the eight best places to see spring blossom.

Peckish? Opt for a picnic (you can pick up a luxe box from the terrace), enjoy lunch or afternoon tea at the Manor Restaurant, or go for fine dining at The Five Arrows, an on-site, grade-II listed boutique hotel and restaurant.

Waddesdon, near Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, HP18 0JH
https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/WADDESDON

enquiries@waddesdon.org.uk

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