While driving back to London from Cornwall we decided to stop by Waddesdon Manor. It wasn’t exactly on our route but I’d wanted to visit for a long time so I figured it was worth taking a little detour.
Waddesdon Manor is located in the village of Waddesdon, near Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire, so it can easily be visited on a day trip from London if you have your own wheels.
The house was built in the 1870s in they style of a French chateau for Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild. He used the house primarily for grand entertaining and to display his extraordinary art collection. The house stayed in the Rothschild family until 1957 when it was bequeathed to the National Trust. It is now one of the National Trust’s most visited properties, and when you see the house it’s not hard to understand why!
There’s a large parking lot on site and parking is free of charge. It is quite a distance from the house though, so there is a regular shuttle bus service that operates to and from the car park.
You need a timed-entry ticket to visit the house. It is advised that you pre-book even if you are a National Trust member (NT members can still pre-book for free online). We didn’t pre-book because we weren’t sure what time we’d be arriving so we picked up our ticket on arrival and had to wait over an hour for the next available time slot. This was on a rainy weekday too so if you are visiting on a weekend I’d definitely recommend booking in advance.
Since we had some time to kill before we could enter the house we decided to seek refuge from the rain and get some lunch. We had wanted to visit the Manor Restaurant, which was once the Old Kitchen and Servants’ Hall, but all the tables were full and they wouldn’t have been able to seat us for an hour. Instead we went to the Stables Cafe which was also quite busy but we managed to grab a table outdoors but still under cover. I’d recommend bringing your own lunch if possible as the eateries don’t seem to cope well with the number of visitors at peak lunch hour. I was shocked by how busy it was on a weekday, I can’t imagine what it would be like on a weekend with lots more families visiting!
As soon as we finished lunch it was time for our entry to the house. They’re happy for you to take photos inside so I took full advantage of this!
While touring the house I can understand why entrance is only allowed with timed entry. Even with this system at place there were still a lot of people in the house so it can feel quite cramped at times.
- Waddesdon Manor is open Wednesday-Sunday and public holidays (except Christmas). Some parts of the house remain closed over winter so it’s best to check in advance to avoid disappointment.
- Entrance to the house is by timed ticket only, including National Trust members. Advance booking is recommended and this can be done online at www.waddesdon.org.uk. Telephone booking is also available for a fee. Tickets often sell out during busy periods including weekends, school holidays, Bank Holidays and in December.
- Free entry is available to National Trust members, otherwise an adult ticket to visit the whole property is £18.
Have you visited Waddesdon Manor? What did you think?