Built in the 19th century, this French chateau-style, Renaissance manor allows a glimpse into the Victorian lifestyle of Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild.
An avid collector who liked to show off his riches when he entertained, Ferdinand built Waddesdon both as an escape from London, and to show off his favourite French decorative arts and English and Dutch paintings which still remain here today. These include 18th-century British portraits by artists such as Reynolds, Gainsborough and Romney, a collection of rare Sèvres porcelain, as well as French furniture fit for a royal family, and 15th-century artwork.
The manor gardens further reveal Ferdinand’s taste for the beautiful. Five different walks pass through the colorful Rose, Water, and Aviary gardens. The crowning feature of the grounds, the parterre, which is re-designed twice a year is the proud winner of the 2002 Europa Nostra’s ‘the extraordinary re-creation with modern techniques of a major Victorian garden’ award. In a similar vein, the artwork amongst the garden unites the old and new combining 18th century sculptures, three-dimensional flowering bushes, and more modernist creations. Architectural wonders such as the Flint House (winner of the 2015 RIBA House of the Year) are hidden in the grounds and show, once again, this hint of modernity. A favourite of Ferdinand’s, a restored aviary, houses endangered birds such as Palawan Peacock Pheasants and the Rothschild’s Mynahs.
No need to worry about entertaining the children: the Woodland Playground and Tree Trail will keep them busy. There is also plenty of opportunities to refuel with some food and drink after marveling at the manor and gardens. Dine in the old servants’ hall, grab brunch or afternoon tea at the Stables Café or indulge in some sweet snacks from the Treater.
Make sure to check out the daily special events and activities Waddesdon hosts.