Address: Waddesdon Manor, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, HP18 0JH
Price Band: £0-££
Waddesdon Manor is one of the biggest national trust sites in the South East. Baron Ferdinand built Waddesdon to house his elaborate collection of artwork, furniture and more. Other family members have added to the collections over the years and they are the envy of today’s museums.
One of the highlights of the collection is the Marvellous Mechanical Elephant. Made it 1774 it has a wind up mechanism which plays music and makes the elephant’s parts move. Its a stunning piece of work which has fascinated visitors for many years.
James de Rothchild decided to bequeath the Manor to the National Trust to preserve it. His widow was there to oversee the opening of the house to the public in 1959. The Rothschild Foundation continues to manage the property on behalf of the National Trust and provides the majority of its funding.
The property has now been made more family friendly with the addition of a woodland play park and children’s trails around the house.
The aviary is another highlight full of rare exotic birds. The grounds are full of wonderful statues to explore and there is a cafe and restaurant to grab a bite to eat.
At Christmas time there is an outdoor light trail not to be missed. The house is also beautifully decorated and well worth a visit. We enjoyed the advent calendar children’s trail during our tour.
It’s free for National Trust members to enjoy the grounds, however you will need to book in advance and pay a discounted entry fee to do the house tour. It gets really busy in the run up to Christmas so we chose to visit on New Years Day instead when it was a bit quieter.
The car park for Waddesdon is situated quite a distance from the house. There are constant buses though taking you from the car park, up to the manor and back again, with an extra stop at the Stables. There’s loads of parking including disabled and parent parking bays. You can also follow the path to walk up to the Manor if you prefer. We saw lots of children on scooters and balance bikes while we were there which seemed to be a good way of little ones getting around. There are plenty of toilets with baby change tables available as well.
For more great reasons to get a National Trust membership see our post here: http://mumof2point5.com/blog/10-reasons-you-need-a-national-trust-membership/