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Discover Buckinghamshire: Christmas at Waddesdon Manor

Stuart Bebb, Waddesdon Manor

Discover Buckinghamshire: Uncover the breath-taking beauty of Waddesdon Manor this Christmas.

Located in the stunning surroundings of Aylesbury, Waddesdon Manor is a hidden gem abundant with charm. From the moment you arrive at the impeccably maintained grounds, you become overwhelmed by the sheer beauty of the estate. The Manor itself was built in the Neo-Renaissance style of a French château for the wealthy Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild. With gardens and architecture as impressive as the collection of art it exhibits, it no wonder why this is one of the most visited National Trust properties in the UK.
Built between 1874 and 1899, this stunning plot of exquisite beauty hosted many important guests including Edward VII and Queen Victoria, who is rumoured to have been mostly interested in the newly installed electric lighting system. Like Queen Victoria we too were fascinated by Waddesdon’s impressive installation of lights in their Winter Light programme. This year Bruce Munro’s magnificent Field of Light returns in a fresh location to celebrate 25 years since it’s conception. Internationally acclaimed artist Munro is known best for his ability to create immersive site-specific installations inspired by landscapes that employ light to evoke an emotional response, and a brief walk around this exhibition certainly does just that. Guests become dazzled as 9,000 planted stems crowning with illuminated frosted glass spheres, guide them on a sensory journey. As the dark winter nights replace the daylight hours, the blooming flowers brighten the pathway through the beautiful gardens back towards the Manor.

Image Credit: Nicole Kell, Field of Light.
Returning for the second consecutive year, Dazzle@Waddesdon created by Woodroffe Basset Design, will animate the house in intervals throughout the evening. During this show the ornate façade of the Manor is decorated by a choreographed display of multi-coloured lights. Two giant candlestick sculptures featuring 574 bottles each, Lafite, created by Joana Vasconcelos, also gleam alongside embellished Christmas trees. With the ambient lights and the stunning setting, it’s hard not to be captivated by the magical festivities.

Image Credit: Kathy Chantley (c) The National Trust, Waddesdon manor.
Christmas time at the Manor is always incredibly decorated and this year is no exception. The theme of Christmas 2016 is ‘magical materials from the earth and sea’, inspired by the rare, exotic and beautiful materials seen throughout Waddesdon’s collections. With elaborate decorations including a Christmas tree made of books, the Manor doesn’t fail to delight and entertain all its winter visitors.

Image Credit: Nicole Kell, Book Christmas tree, Waddesdon Manor.
The icing on the cake at this year’s Christmas at Waddesdon Manor has to be the marvellous gingerbread model of the Manor. Situated in the Coach House gallery at the Stables, the replica consists of over two metres of gingerbread complete with colourful icing which mirrors the rooms in the house. This impressive piece was created by a London-based bakery, the Biscuiteers, who also created unique biscuit baubles hung on one of the Manor’s many Christmas trees. This incredible work of art took over 500 hours, 240 eggs and 216kg of icing to make. Whilst this tasty treat is entirely edible, after months on display we wouldn’t recommend trying it.   
Christmas at Waddesdon Manor truly is a delightful experience. With the perfect mixture of modern and antique, there is plenty to enjoy this winter. Among these festive treats, Waddesdon Manor will also host a Christmas fair, Wigwam bar, and restaurant for those looking to enjoy a full day of festive fun. And for those still searching for some great gifts, the Manor and Wine shop sells unique presents including the highly sought-after Rothschild wine. 

Image Credit: Mike Fear, Waddesdon Gingerbread model, the Biscuiteers.
Waddesdon Manor is located in Aylesbury Vale with a free shuttle bus to and from local railway stations. Christmas at Waddesdon Manor will run until 2 January. For a full list of the Waddesdon’s events and workshops, see online.