Festive christmas visit to waddesdon manor - Bubbablue and me

A Waddesdon Manor Christmas festive visit

This year I’m really struggling to persuade N to come out with me. I guess most families go out all together, so if the OH came out then he’d be more willing. But this week the guys were turkey picking (ie plucking them) ready for Christmas orders. Usually N loves sitting in the box while the 3 or 4 of them pick the birds. But this time his dad said no because the box gets really dusty and full of feathers, so it wasn’t a good idea for N to be there while he was getting over his tonsillitis.

Festive christmas visit to waddesdon manor - Bubbablue and me

That didn’t go down well with N. There were nearly tears. Especially when he realised the outing with me was an all dayer. But he had no choice, tickets were booked (admittedly free, but going to Waddesdon Manor for Christmas wasn’t something I was planning to miss. Plus I knew he’d enjoyed it the previous year.

I’d heard horrors about car parking this season with everyone arriving early to try and get some of the last available tickets they put on sale each morning for walk ups. So my plan had been to get there for opening. It worked on the car parking with us only parked a few rows back. Being members who had already booked we were able to jump the queue for tickets, but still had to then wait for the buses to arrive because they don’t start until 11. Lots of people were walking, but there’s no way I fancied a 20 minute walk uphill with N. I know it would just make him grouchy for the rest of the day and we ended up on the second bus anyway.

5yo taking photos
Looking like a pro with my camera
walking to the playgroun at waddesdon

Our first aim was to head for the Stables via the playground, although we got waylaid by the new Wigwam café. This was really making the most of the current hygge trend for all things comfy and cosy. We had hot chocolate while sitting in on furry bench covers and listening to soft playing music. I’m not sure the food the café served for lunch was that family friendly – grilled meat with tabbouleh, sauces and salad in flatbreads. But it’s perfect for warming drinks on a cold day.

hygge in the wigwam cafe

The playground was a bit wet so N wasn’t keen on playing on much. He’s waiting for next month when he turns 6 so he can go down the big slide!

on the whirly playground equipment

Instead we headed straight down to the Stables where he wanted to write his letter to Father Christmas. Apart from an Elf hat (for the second year running), he was a little stuck but we managed to get a letter written and posted.

writing his letter to santa
posting letters to santa

One thing I really wanted to see was the Biscuiteers gingerbread house replica of Waddesdon. It’s an amazing piece of artwork (and food), and getting in early was a good idea to avoid the queues we saw later in the day. It’s really intricate, and given the struggles I’ve had with gingerbread consistency in the past I’m amazed at how they manage to work in such detail.

biscuiteers gingerbread house at waddesdon Manir

By noon, the queue for the Stables restaurant was already several people long and not moving, so we decided to buy from the kiosk and eat undercover outside. We had no problems getting a table, and N was very happy with his lunch box (his favourite part of National Trust visits). It’s great to be able to sit and watch everything going on, have a chat, take some silly photos, and enjoy the Christmassy lights.

We also enjoyed meeting some bearnese mountain dogs which were at Waddesdon for charity and demo-ing their wagon pulling.  I think N fell in love with this 9 month old pup.

Bearnese mountain dogs

We had a bit of time before our house ticket slot, and I wanted to have a look in the glow@Waddesdon shop. Super cool, and N loved it. Maybe he’s a secret raver! I couldn’t turn him down when he pointed out a foam glow stick and he’s been having fun with it ever since.

glow at waddesdon shop
Glowing face in Glow at waddesdon

By this stage N was moaning. It was getting a lot busier, and the playground was rammed with all ages, so that wasn’t really an option. So it was a quick wander around the Christmas market. I’d hoped to get some present ideas, but actually getting to the counters was hard with how busy it was. The food stalls were doing good trade, and we did manage to buy a few slabs of blueberry crumble squares and millionaires shortbread for pudding that evening.

waddesdon manor building
star decorations at waddesdon christmas market

To persuade N to come in the house with me, I had to agree that we’d rethink hanging around til dusk to see the house lit up and the Bruce Monroe field of lights. We did go over to the Aviary to see the lights set up and N’s favourite, throw some coins in the water fountain. I was a bit embarrassed when I turned round to spot him sitting on the floor fishing coins out of the water to throw back in!

enjoying the aviary
enjoying the water fountain at waddesdon
bruce monroe lights at waddesdon

We were a bit early for our house slot, but we were able to head in a bit early. As ever the decorations in each room were stunning, each room themed around a different type of material…paint, paper, wood, ceramics and more.

entrance hall christmas cards
pretty baubles
traditional xmas room at waddesdon
paint display at waddesdon
book tree at waddesdon
ali baba themed room at waddesdon
the lace corridor
tassles corridor at waddesdon
paper christmas tree
bathroom display

It was a bit crowded waiting to get round the final couple of rooms and to head back out, but I’ll definitely want to come back again next year to see the next creative designs. N enjoyed doing the gingerbread trail, where children could get stickers for spotting the themed gingerbread men in each room. But he was determined we were heading home straight afterwards.

Leaving before the light and music show on the outside of the house was a shame, but the bonus was that we didn’t have to queue for the bus back to the car park. On our return there were cars everywhere, parked all along the exits, and still more people arriving to see the light displays.

Excluding the moaning from N, we had a lovely day. It’s so nice to be out and about again after a few weekends of not doing much.

Have you been to any National Trust locations for festive celebrations and displays?

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  1. What a interesting place to visit, I love National Trust venues. We went to our local National Trust venue to do their xmas trial and it was stunning.

    1. They’re very special places aren’t they. I tried to get N to do the trail at Stowe, but he wouldn’t, so we just ambled round vaguely instead.

  2. We haven’t! Which is such a shame, since we are members and I love the National Trust properties during the Christmas season. So festive! Looks like N had so much fun. Hoping to visit one soon 🙂 #countrykids

    1. It’s so hard to fit them in though in sn’t it. We’ve got Upton 5 mins drive away, and I’ve not been for about a year – but there’s no playground, it’s not that kid friendly, and it’s all very samey year on year so isn’t somewhere we’d just drop into compared with some of the others where there’s more going on.. Have a lovely Christmas

  3. This is on my list for next year – I have seen quite a few posts about it. Was that a christmas tree of books? I couldn’t quite see (my eyes and my old age obviously haha). Hope there is a super speedy recovery from the remainder of the tonsillitis #CountryKids

    1. Yes a book tree. It’s the best one I think although quite hard to see it.
      N’s tonsillitis is all gone, just me to get rid of my silly cough.
      Have a lovely Christmas

  4. Looks like a lovely outing! Lots of Hygge and Christmas feel and looks like your boy had a lovely time even if he missed out on the plucking 😉 #countrykids

  5. Some of those Christmas displays are just beautiful, it’s wonderful that you managed to get around the house and explore them. The grounds around Waddesdon Manor are always so full of surprises it’s great that you managed to get N to explore them with you. It’s a shame he didn’t want to stay and see the lights and music show, maybe next year.

    Thanks for linking up with me on #CountryKids.

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