Visiting Waddesdon Manor
I thought I knew all of the “easily accessible” castles and manors from London – especially those belonging to the National Trust or English Heritage. I’d traveled to quite a few of them over the years, either by car or train (or coach) and had tried to make the most of my dual memberships.
So when we were looking at places to visit in/around London this weekend gone by I was surprised that I’d not yet heard of Waddesdon Manor. Therefore I’m here to share the virtues and beauty that I found at Waddesdon, from the ornate details to the imaginative fountains.
To call Waddesdon a “manor” does it a tremendous disservice and plays down the incredible architecture and ornate details that makes this akin to a palace, rather than a mere “manor” (in my eyes). This Neo-Renaissance “country house” looks like it belongs in the French countryside and does take heavily from the French chateaux style. To a degree it reminded me of a “mini Versailles”.
Approaching the Manor
A shuttle bus can drive you up the hill to the top (where the manor sits), or you can take the walk up the hill and through the charming country side. Once at the top there’s a long stretch of fine gravel that leads to the entrance of the manor, which is framed by two large pieces of art.
The art is made from wine bottles and designed to be in the shape of candlesticks – and at night they light up.
Gilded Opulence inside the Manor
The interior of the manor was stunning with dozens of rooms to visit, each displaying an exquisite array of furniture and art work.
A Garden with a View
Any good English manor would be incomplete without a beautifully tiered garden complete with fountains and marble statues. Waddesdon Manor definitely had a beautifully displayed garden that was visible from many of the rooms throughout the manor. The fountain was a stunning display of artwork and there were glimpses of statues through the well trimmed hedges.
Logistics & How to Get There
We traveled to the Manor by car – there was plenty of parking and a shuttle bus that could carry you up the hill to the top. Otherwise there was a lovely field and then woodland walk to get there. There is a beautiful woodland play area for the children as well which was in good use.
The grounds were extensive and provided a beautiful walk for a longer visit, and the cafe in the stables had reasonably priced food (and amazingly delicious cakes). And plenty of space for a picnic if you wanted to bring your own lunch.
The National Trust have a great webpage with details on Waddesdon Manor, including directions, and instructions on how to reach the Manor by public transport (taking a train from London Marylebone to Aylesbury Vale Parkway, and a bus/taxi/bicycle to the Manor).