I’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve been to Waddesdon Manor in the past 5 years. Dozens surely? In fact, I spend so much time at the manor I even went into labour with my 3rd child whilst I was here! If you live in Aylesbury and you’re an NT member this place is a given. Because we visit Waddesdon Manor so often, and they have regular events, I’ll regularly update this review.
This year readers of this blog voted Waddesdon Manor the best historic house, building or garden in Buckinghamshire, Bedfordshire, Oxfordshire and Hertfordshire!
It is a very large site and so there are lots of different things to do there. They have the main house (child friendly but no big bags or pushchairs. There are carriers you can borrow). There’s an aviary, multiple woodland play areas, a nature walk, beautiful parterre and a lot of open spaces. The gardens look stunning at pretty much any time of year. You would have to go multiple times to get round it all.
Waddesdon is one of the most visited NT properties. During events and school holidays it does get very busy at certain pinch points. If you’re happy to go off the beaten track a bit more there is still peace and quiet to be found.
I couldn’t really write a review of Waddesdon Manor without mentioning Christmas. It’s is a real highlight and in 2019 they won best Christmas experience in the UK. If you want to see the house, you’ll have to pre-book well in advance because it’s popular. Even if you cannot get into the house at Christmas there is lots to do and their Christmas Fair is brilliant. Have a look at my review of the Christmas season at Waddesdon Manor by clicking here.
Waddesdon Manor for families
They do lots of different events throughout the year, largely targeted towards children. Most of these are chargeable events so check the prices on the website first. During trails you used to have to collect stickers on your way around which would ALWAYS get soggy after the first day. They’ve now significantly improved this by having punches for you to stamp your sheets with. Much better!!
They have several different play areas dotted along the hillside. These are generally broken down into different age groups. The facilities are good and they are well maintained. Because the parks they are so popular, it can actually be quite easy to lose the kids. Also, they are not fenced off so it’s easy for kids to disappear into the wooded areas. If you have a wide range of ages it might be tricky. Older kids are not allowed in the younger kids’ area. However, their area is at the top of the hill and there is no visibility between the different parks.
There are a few outstanding volunteers, in particular one older gentleman who always greets everyone with a smile, particularly the kids. I really must find out his name! (Update – I now know his name is John and he really is a superstar)
There are a lot of well maintained footpaths and walk ways. It’s easy to get a pushchair or wheelchair around. The house is at the top of a hill so there are various steep climbs to get around the site. You can also leave your bags near the house so you won’t have to lug them around all day.
Cost – Free for NT Members (£27.50 for a family grounds ticket for non-members). Some events and activities are chargeable.
Parking / How to get there
Parking – Ample, and free. There is also limited parent and child parking plus plenty of disabled spaces. The new car park is a considerable way from the house so you can either walk (15 mins stroll uphill) or get a free bus. There can be long queues at peak times. You used to be able to park up by the house which was very busy at peak times and I see why they changed it. You now have to allocate at least 20 minutes each way to get to the car and back. Quick trips to the manor take a lot longer now.
Address – Waddesdon, Buckinghamshire HP18 0JH
Various different outlets (manor restaurant, coffee shed, summer house, stables cafe and the new Treaterie). I do find their food to be great quality but very expensive so I rarely eat a full meal here. Cakes are the exception obviously. Picnics – Welcome everywhere
They have excellent facilities near the house and smaller toilets in the stable. There are dedicated baby change facilities (unisex and separate from the toilets). You’ll also find toilets and baby change at the visitor centre.
Our Waddesdon Manor Review
We are here all the time and, over the years we have attended all of their events. In the past few years there’s be a massive shift, for the better, in the events and trails they do. It can be very busy at times, but we’ve never had an bad experience.