Waddesdon Manor: Waddes not to love?!

I’m sorry I’m sorry! I know that is a terrible play on words but it came into my head when I first thought about this post about visiting Waddesdon Manor, and luckily, it more then lived up to all expectations! Plus, I am officially a Mum now, so I exercise my right to tell ‘crap mum jokes’ with abandon!

Proof that I am indeed a Mum and therefore fully allowed to make bad jokes!

The only downside, unsurprisingly being Britain, was the weather, the day before, I was merrily drinking wine and sunbathing in a friends’ garden, the day of our visit, well, not so much! It was cold, rainy and blowing a hooley. Did it matter though? Not a bit! Undeterred, we set off in our camper van Wilma, and had our first minor disaster about 25 mins in, the realisation we had no wellies!! Oops! Still undeterred, (but slightly annoyed with each other, the Mister totally thought I was blaming him and started listing all the things he had done, why do they do that?! We soon got over it though! ;)), we continued with me looking ruefully just a couple of times at my very un-sensible converse, to Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, where Waddesdon is.

Van crew! First trip in her 90% finished. Whoop!

On arrival, there is an enormous car park, (only one row of parent spaces that I saw though, so get there early!), with a ticket office, toilets and complimentary buses running up to the Manor.

We got maps with our tickets and headed onto the bus. The drive is soooo long, you can walk up and down but I don’t think my two monsters, (5 and 3), would have made it up without an awful lot of whinging and probably some carrying, uh, nope!! ๐Ÿ˜€ The buses are so frequent you don’t need to worry about that though.

Amazing views from the bus drop off! Even on a drizzly, wet, windy day.

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The first view of the house as you alight from the bus at the end of a long stretch of drive, perfectly manicured beds either side, is breathtaking. The honey coloured turrets stretch up to meet the sky and the building seems to go on forever. It was very easy to get carried away and imagine myself as the heroine in a historic novel. Albeit it with two over excited, chocolate focused, noisy children jumping up and down and shrieking at me!

As our visit coincided with Easter weekend, the National Trust has teamed up with Cadburys, (drool!), to run Easter egg hunts, so we headed there first to collect our trail map, (ยฃ3.00 per child), and use the toilets, which you need to access through a tunnel, the kids thought it was amazing.

We had timed tickets to explore the house and I must admit to a slight white lie telling the children the Easter bunny might be hiding inside to get them in! The house is just gorgeous. As you enter, you swap any large bags, umbrellas etc for a token to collect at the end, then follow the set lay out of the house, with helpful and friendly guides to point you in the right direction if you happen to have a child hell bent on escape loose your way. We had a lovely explore, particularly exciting for the children were my less pleasant facts about chamber pots and the like, can’t think why! My daughter also liked looking at the portraits after I explained that that was their equivalent of photos and to imagine if she had to sit still for that long every time I wanted a picture of her. She was probably horrified as I take that many she’d never have left the portrait room! She also picked out her favourite bedroom. We had lost small boy by this point, (not literally I hasten to add, but definitely mentally!), and we spent most of the time trying to persuade him not to lie down on the floor in all the corridors!

Looking to see if they have wings and are therefore cherubs.

What could possibly be so funny to a three year old boy?! The bare bum apparently!

They loved the video that showed the amazing elephant music box sculpture in the next photo working. It is pretty unbelievable what it can do!

The eyes moved, the trunk and tail swung about, things twirled and whirled, mind-blowing!

Sculpture is a big part of Waddesdon and this amazing piece is no exception.

Having fun on the spiral staircase. I think it’s evident from small boy’s face that he is on a fast track to silly town! Nap needed!

I found my dream bedroom! Look at all that pink!

Deciding that possibly refreshments would help, we bypassed the fancier restaurant up at the house and headed down the, (very steep in places), path to the more family friendly Stables. It wasn’t totally clear from the start but inside is table service and a different menu but you can sit outside, either uncovered or under the covered seating area with the very welcome heaters, and order from the kiosk in the corner. We chose the latter option and enjoyed baguettes, hot tea and the very impressive kids’ lunch. I also got a scone with jam and cream to resolve the debate that I’d started in the morning on twitter about whether jam first or cream first tastes best. If you are wondering, we decided as a family that it is actually cream first, even my husband was converted to the idea, despite his initial horror at the thought!

Kid’s lunches, I was so impressed! ยฃ4.95 for sarnie, crisps, fancy cake bar, juice and the cutest little strawberry yoghurt jar.

If I was better at photoshop I’d have got rid of the piece of ham in his mouth! As it is, I think it shows how much he’s enjoying his lunch bag!

Luckily just one half spoonful and she realised straight clotted cream from the tub is pretty gross!

The great debate!!!

Now onto, in my opinion, the absolute best bit. The outdoor play area. It is so amazing! All set onto a hill, as you walk up, you discover more and more areas. There are the standard swings and slides but there are also some really really cool extras like a massive tunnel slide that pops the children out much further down the hill, (small boy went down before we’d even caught them up, big girl bottled it, it is age 6+ though!), a zip wire and my personal favourite, an area for den building! There are huge long sticks of all different sizes and you can use the large trees to build teepees and dens with your children. Or you can get far too in to it and keep building something amazing long after the kids have wandered off, you know, if you wanted to!

Amazing sculpture everywhere!

My, I mean, the kids’ den! Complete with ‘antler’ decoration at the front!



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A little tip, there are no signs to say but if you walk up to the very top of the play area, and follow the path along, you’ll pass the summer house kiosk, also selling refreshments, and if you continue on past it, you come back out at the house. Saves going back down and around which I initially thought you needed to do.

The final part was the trail. It took you on a tour of the gorgeous grounds and past the stunning aviary, which I’m sure in better weather is teaming with birds, as it was, we could hear them but they were all hiding from the icy rain! The trail was a bit of a guess who game, using clues to cross out the team members who were innocent of hiding the eggs with the bunny. In all honesty, we could probably have done without the trail, the kids were so tired by this point, small boy needed carrying for a lot of it, but they were so desperate for chocolateย eager to finish, plus it’s a loop so it made sense to carry on and we claimed our bunnies successfully. The highlight at this point for me, was spotting a kite soaring over the huge area in front of the house and getting to watch it battling against the winds as it searched for food. It was a lovely contrast with the organised gardens in front. Both beautiful in their own ways.

They’re in there somewhere! I’m glad they had such a lovely enclosure to hide in though.

That little black dot in the sky is actually an enormous kite!




The other thing I can’t not mention, being a total architecture geek at heart, is the building itself. The carved stonework is just gorgeous, the way the spiral stairs curl around the outside of the turrets as well as the inside, even the guttering is a thing of beauty. I especially loved the shaped topiary on the outside of the building, seeming to hang on the stone work totally unsupported.


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If you like buildings, history, countryside, gardens, afternoon tea or simply awesome playgrounds, you will love Waddesdon Manor.

I’m not even going to pretend that she didn’t say that the chocolate was her favourite part of the day!

Our first EVER cuppa in Wilma, our camper, my hubby converted it, he did pretty much EVERYTHING himself, including build this kitchen from scratch. I’m so proud!!

All tired and all full of chocolate and fed up of mummy’s photo taking! At least it wasn’t a portrait hey?!

We were very kindly given entry tickets in exchange for a review, however all the thoughts and opinions are, as always, all my very own!

73 Comments

  1. This looks a lovely place to visit and love the camper! #pinklink

  2. this looks a nice place to visit, I love your photos, sorry to be cheeky but would love it if you would add this to my first ever linky that starts at 10am today, its called #SummerFun http://rantinggran.com/reviews/564/ #pinklink

  3. What a lovely day out! I want that pink bedroom too! #bigpinklink

  4. Wow, wow, wow – what a place? Can’t believe I’ve never been … just beautiful … looks like you had a great day … gorgeous pictures (loving that light over the table!) and you have a truly gorgeous family #bigpinklink

  5. Wow what a lovely place it looks! I love all the pics xx #bigpinklink

  6. Wow, so pretty! My wife would love to visit somewhere like this. Looks like the kiddes had a fab time too. I’d be in it for the scones if nothing else. Woah- way impressed with your camper. Want one! Thanks for hosting #bigpinklink

  7. Looks amazing, but I’m pretty sure I’d end up with a million pound bill because George will have broken an heirloom of some kind!!

  8. I need to get some country house visits in my life!!! Not sure the boy would like them though :/ #bigpinklink

  9. What a stunning place to visit, something for everyone. I now need a Wilma in my life too ๐Ÿ™‚ #thebigpinklink

  10. Beautiful pictures! Had to have a google – they filmed bits of downton there! Knew it!

  11. Looks like the ideal family day out, despite the converse Family days are the best days, and yes I agree, cream first x

  12. And how did I forget to mention #bigpinklink must be the Babybrain

  13. Ohh this building looks beautiful and there is so much to do. Love that the camper van is called Wilma!Glad you had a lovely day, nothing wrong with a bit of rain!xx #bigpinklink

  14. Such a great review. What a beautiful building and grounds. Great that you had a good day. I like Wilma too! Ooo and Jam first then the cream. You can put lots of cream on top of the jam but can’t but lots of jam on top of the cream as it mushes! #bigpinklink

  15. looks fab, never been but its not far from us. cream tea looks yum scrum love all the photos x #bigpinklinky x

  16. Wow, great photos. Looks like a great day out. Shame about the weather, typical, you can never tell what season it is going to be at the time of the year ๐Ÿ™‚ Oh and I always put jam on first ha ha. #bigpinklink

  17. What an amazing review, everywhere should offer you tickets fo reviews – I’m sold on this place! Beautiful, sounds like a fab play area and what a brilliant children’s lunch. You always look like such a fun family too. I am seriously envious of a couple of things, namely your van and those spiral drainpipes!! I want them both. Thanks for hosting #bigpinklink with your mum puns xx

  18. Wow this looks gorgeous and I am in love with that light made from broken plates and cutlery!! Also in love with Wilma and mega impressed your husband renovated it from scratch – very impressive! Thanks for hosting #bigpinklink ๐Ÿ™‚

  19. Hubby and I love visiting places like this, so another one to tick off at some point. ๐Ÿ™‚ Looks like a fab day out! X
    #bigpinklink

  20. Wilma looks amazing!! We used to have a camper called Jotty who had also been converted, i miss him loads. Sounds like you all had a fab day out. We did the same Cadbury/National Trust trail yesterday at Killerton House, Devon (was the answer ‘Eggs Everywhere?’ my husband worked it out as it was hurting my head trying to rearrange the letters…) loving the new look on your blog too! xx

    • Oh thank you! Been working on it loads! We have no idea! By the time we got to the end, everyone was cold, soggy & in no mood for coding. We even got whodunnit wrong! (I blame hubster, he was on the last few clues!!) oh no! What happened to Jotty?!

  21. Oooh, it looks amazing!! We have a national trust membership that we really need to make more use of!! Your photos really do it justice, so many great snaps, and I need that broken crockery light in my life!!!! I really would LOVE that in my kitchen. It’s very exciting that you got to use Wilma too-I’m still very envious of her…! We hired a camper a couple of times last summer, so I think we will do that again this summer, before reviewing funds to get one of our own!
    This place definitely looks like it has something for everyone, and the children look super duper gorgeous! A really great review, I want to go immediately!!
    Thanks for co-hostessing! #bigpinklink

  22. Looks fab! I know what you mean about the weather. so changeable. sigh. #bigpinklink

  23. I love Nstional Trust! You packed tonnes in and it looks so beautiful. We always have a nose around the house and treat ourselves to lunch too ๐Ÿ™‚ drooling at the clotted cream though. Amazed at Wilma too. What a clever hubby! Thanks for hosting xx

  24. That camper van looks amazing! I would love one myself….I’d better learn to drive first though. Looks really cosy in that last pic with the rain lashing down. And Waddesdon Hall doesn’t look too bad either! #bigpinklink

  25. I love that your damper is called Wilma! Lovely post and the pictures are great.

  26. dammit I meant camper! #bigpinklink

  27. This place sounds absolutely amazing… what a lovely day you had, despite the weather :/ I love your photos of the house. It is certainly impressive! I also noticed the fantastic way the spiral staircase is shown on the outside of the building too – brilliant ๐Ÿ™‚
    x Alice (off to google waddeston manor in the hope it is near my house)
    #bigpinklink

  28. Looks amazing!! I absolutely love visiting places like this. How beautiful. Your pictures are great, too. #bigpinklink

  29. Stunning pictures hun! This place looks amazing but sadly we live up t’north. How impressive is that kiddie lunch box? (That’s me – all about the snacks!)

    ps; I think that expecting you to display excellence in both den building & welly packing is asking a little bit too much personally. Awesome den! / wellies are overrated!

    Thanks for hosting
    #bigpinklink

  30. My Mum and Dad dragged me round Waddesdon loads when I was little – funny how now I love National Trust property! It look like you had a lovely day, if a bit wet! Scones look amazing (and you know my feelings on jam-cream sequence ๐Ÿ™‚ I love how much effort the National Trust always make for Easter too, so cute! #bigpinklink

  31. It remind me of the school out of Harry Potter. Gorgeous looking place. Only just discovered your linky. So many people. What a friendly one! #bigpinklink

  32. Lovely post. I am constantly looking ruefully at my Converse … or other inappropriate footwear. And I definitely think cream first! Wish we lived a bit closer as my two would love it (well, NC would sit in the buggy but I’m sure he’d like it!) #bigpinklink

  33. Sounds like a great place to visit, trying to turn my 3 yo into a culture vulture at the moment so might give it a try for ourselves if we can get down that way. As for the wellies – I left a spare pair in the car for so long that my son had outgrown them without me realising so he ended up walking about with crushed toes for an hour before telling me ! #bigpinklink

  34. Looks like a lovely family day out, in spite of the weather. Oh and definitely cream first! #bigpinklink

  35. Looks like a gorgeous day out. It’s not *too* far from us either so could be somewhere we get to with our membership. The adventure park bit sounds great! #bigpinklink

  36. What a fabulous place, I don’t know what I loved more the sculptured light or the scones with clotted cream (so jealous now). Your camper van looks fab, I want to see more please. We’d love one.

  37. It looks great. I’m not sure they would allow me in there with my two little monkeys! Love your photos and the little ones are adorable.

    #bigpinklink

  38. Wow looks great, and what fabulous photos!! We have never visited but it looks like it is worth a trip! LOVE the camper van too, very jealous! #bigpinklink

  39. Looks lovely, gorgeous photos. I love going to places like that, although my two boys (3 and 2) would cause me far too much stress at the moment! They’d like the play area though.

    Thanks for hosting #bigpinklink!

    p.s. cream then jam! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  40. Absolutely gorgeous…every little thing. Especially your two cutie pies! I am a Downton Abbey fan and hoping to visit Britain one day, so I love seeing one of these manors. Is it still a residence to anyone or strictly a touring house?

    • There is a residence part that you’re not allowed to go to in another part of the grounds. I think the house was mostly for show but I’m not sure. Come visit & I’ll show you all the best of true English Englishness!!

  41. I live near Waddesden, we have enjoyed that same woodland playground!!! Bring Wilma to Cliveden next, that’s our fave NT property.

    It’s jam before cream, and the ratio should be 2:1:2 of scone, jam, cream. As much cream as scone. (That’ll be why I am massively overweight then!)

    Always enjoy your writing. xxx #bigpinklink

  42. Wow! That looks like both a stunning and fun place to visit! My toddler would love the den building, definitely one to put on the list of National Trust properties to visit ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks for hosting #bigpinklink x

  43. No, no, no. Jam should come first. Although, I’m a ‘butter should go on anything bready’ person so in an ideal world the CORRECT ๐Ÿ˜‰ way to do it is a little smear of butter first and then jam and *then* cream. It does look like a fab day out, though.

    #bigpinklink

  44. Amazing photos! The house looks amazing, I love the look of it! My daughter, I think, would really like this although she’s a fan of Doctor Who and would be watching the statues convinced they were ‘Naughty Angels’ – (Weeping Angels) and to check if they moved…it could be a very long day for us! #BigPinkLink

  45. This looks like a fab day, even though the weather was rubbish! The house looks beautiful and well done for getting the children to look at the portraits, I know that when I was that age I wasn’t interested in that kind of thing. It looks like there is a lot to do here for children, so when mine is a bit older maybe we’ll pay it a visit with our NT membership. It’s definitely cream first and then jam. Claire x #bigpinklink

  46. what a lovely place…..also your photos are really good, bit geeky but what camera are you using?? #bigpinklink

  47. Adoooooorable photos! I think the pun is excellent, made me smile. : ) That’s too funny they had to go through a tunnel to get to the toilet! The camper van looks amazing, I can’t believe he built the kitchen from scratch, you got what I call a ‘mountain man’ on your hands haha, my hubby is the same it is amazing and it’s kind of hot when he builds things lols. Looks like you had a lovely trip, will have to try it some time! Thanks for hosting #BigPinkLink!

    • I love it!!! Yes something very hot about a man who’s good with his hands…..for building stuff I mean!!!! He’s 6’6 so deffo a mountain man. That’s a great description.

  48. Looks like a great day out. Love the photos and the tea in Wilma. Thanks for hosting. #bigpinklink

  49. Looks like you had a great day. Lovely photos x #bigpinklink

  50. That looks like an excellent day out…can’t believe there is so much going on! Your pictures (which are brilliant, by the way) captured the day beautifully! I fancy a bit of a drive in Wilma…thanks for sharing! x #bigpinklink

  51. Looks like a great day! The playground looks like heaps of fun. I can’t wait until my daughter is old enough for playgrounds and Easter eggs hunts, it’ll be so much fun! ๐Ÿ™‚ #bigpinklink

  52. LOVE the pictures. What a beautiful family! Looks like ye had a fabulous day. some nice pictures for the family album. ๐Ÿ™‚

  53. What a beautiful building! And your photography is stunning by the way ๐Ÿ™‚ Frankly, you had me at the cream tea. Looks like a wonderful day out, can’t wait until my son is a little older and we can take him to more grown up places like this. Thanks for sharing x #bigpinklink

  54. Fab review, really felt like I was there and your photos are amazing. Bit too far for me for a day out, but if I’m ever in the area!
    My two probably would have declared the chocolate the best thing of the day.

    Lunch looked yummy and for me it should be jam first and then cream, always!

    I have super serious Wilma envy, she looks fabulous, your husband has done a cracking job.

    A pleasure to read as always #bigpinklink

  55. Brilliant review and lovely pics. And no, it just wouldn’t be a proper British day out without a bit of rain! Reading about your Wilma makes me miss our camper, she was called Bluebell and we had many happy days with her. Thanks for hosting #bigpinklink

  56. That looks like such a fun day out ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m glad you had a wonderful day. And your hair never fails to make me smile ๐Ÿ™‚

  57. Never been here – it looks lovely! I love stately homes & castles! #bigpinklink

  58. Looks gorgeous there and love all the smiley pics of you and your beautiful family. The comment about why men start listing what they have done made me giggle… same happens here ๐Ÿ˜‰ #bigpinklink

    Nadia – ScandiMummy x

  59. Oooh looks lovely. After weeks of spending way too much time in the house (Damn you fluuuu) this looks like the stuff of dreams (minus the inevitable tantrums and refusal to leave the play area) Lovely review!! #bigpinklink

  60. Fab photos and review! It looks like a great place to visit and lots to do and see. That yohurt is very posh for a kiddies meal lol and the scone looked yummy.
    Thanks for hosting #bigpinklink

  61. Minus the rubbish weather it sounds like an absolutely fabulous day that you all had! I can’t believe how much there is to see and do! Actually sounds beautiful! I just wish I could see the pictures! Although your description of the scenery, and architecture of the manor does sound extraordinary!
    I am now in a sticky position with this jam versus cream debateโ€ฆ I’ve always done cream and jam. However, today for the very first time we decided to have cream tea at home, and I had it the other way round! And my God did it taste yummy! I think I may be a convert but shh I didn’t say that ๐Ÿ˜‰
    Lovely review as always! ๐Ÿ™‚ #BigPinkLink

  62. Oh how I envy those who have places like this to visit. So beautiful and mysterious! I love all the pictures, it’s almost like being there! Someday. Thanks so much for hostessing #bigpinklink

  63. looks like a fab day out, thanks for sharing. typical Britain, but we cant let the weather stop us. #bigpinklink

  64. Wow what a beautiful manor! The grounds are stunning & so well kept. You lucked out with the Easter egg hunt being on during your visit. I love the pic of your son laughing at the bare bum lol! Priceless. #bigpinklink x

  65. We love Waddesdon Manor it’s such a great place for families to visit. The grounds are obviously much more fun for the kids, their play area is brilliant and I love nipping in to the stables for a quick tea. It’s so posh isn’t it! Your pics are great!

  66. Looks like a beautiful place, and perfect for a family day out! Such a shame about the weather but the cream tea looked amazing ๐Ÿ™‚ thanks for hosting #bigpinklink x

  67. I love National Trust places and we are trying to expand the number we have gone to especially those with outside play areas, not heard of this one though. Hope they loved the Easter Egg hunt. I am also really digging Wilma such a great idea I am sure that cuppa tasted extra special. Thanks for hosting #bigpinklink xx

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