This year Waddesdon Manor has treats in store from carnival-themed displays to winter light trails and illuminations. Expect theatre, sparkle and twinkling lights at the Waddesdon Christmas Fair and Winter Light Trail.
Waddesdon Christmas Fair
Waddesdon Manor is stunning in the golden winter sunshine. The Manor House is perfectly positioned at the end of a long avenue and from 10th November to 16th December 2018, the avenue is home to the Waddesdon Christmas Fair with over 80 local artisan producers and traders. When we visited there was a fantastic variety of stalls, from Christmas decorations to steamed puddings, flavoured liqueurs and spirits to jewellery and gifts. I couldn’t resist taking home some beautiful Christmas bunting from Crumble Cottage, sticky toffee cheddar from Blacks Cheese and cute knitted decorations from Best Years.
We were also tempted by the delicious hot dogs at one of the hot food stalls and I indulged in the first mulled wine of the festive season, whilst the rest of the family enjoyed hot chocolates.
The Waddesdon Christmas Fair is in a beautiful setting, it was busy but there was plenty of space around the wooden chalets and the pathways were flat and fairly easy to navigate. Waddesdon Christmas Fair is one of my favourite Christmas markets and worth a visit.
Waddesdon Manor Christmas Carnival
If you want to see the rooms inside Waddesdon Manor decorated for Christmas you must book in advance as there are no tickets on sale on the day. This year the decadent decorations celebrate feasts, festivities, masked balls and fairy tales. I lost count of the number of Christmas trees inside, each one adorned with glittering baubles and dazzling decorations. The Cinderella staircase was my highlight, lit by a shimmering glitter ball, the walls featuring clocks – all at the stroke of midnight.
There was a children’s trail to follow around the decorated rooms of the House. The trail was in the style of an advent calendar, with 12 windows, each window revealing a pantomime character. The children’s trail is a fantastic addition, which kept even the youngest member of the family interested, right until the end of the tour. The rooms and hallways were quite narrow and the tour involved winding staircases and walkways, so it’s definitely not suitable for pushchairs or buggies.
Stables Sound & Light Projection and Tunnel of Light
After our tour of the House the sun was setting and we walked down to the Stables and through the Tunnel of Light to see the Sound & Light Projection. At dusk the walls of the Stables become a canvas featuring animated scenes set to music. This year’s display isn’t as grand as the previous year (which was projected onto the Manor House itself) but it is just as effective and a unique approach to showcasing the collections at Waddesdon.
Waddesdon Winter Light Trail
As the light faded Waddesdon came to life with walkways lit by festoon lights and twinkling lights. We walked back to the Manor House and this year the north front was bathed in colour, highlighted with pinks, purples, blues and reds.
We were tempted by the churros (and the melted chocolate dip) at one of the hot food stalls and then began our walk along the Aviary Garden Light Trail. There are installations using light and sound along the trail and then we came to a square tunnel of lights which opened out into a magical space lit by the sparkling glitter balls hanging from the trees, a ‘must-see’ if you visit Waddesdon Manor this Christmas.
The Winter Light Festival is enchanting and a real spectacle. It was the first time we visited after dark as a family and the children enjoyed the thrill of walking the woodland paths in the dark and the amazing installations. Wrap up warm and enjoy a unique day out at the historic Waddesdon Manor. The Waddesdon Christmas Fair is only on until 16th December 2018 but you can enjoy the Winter Light Trail until 2nd January 2019.
Top Tips for a visit to Waddesdon Manor Christmas 2o18
- Waddesdon Winter Light Festival is on from 10th November 2018 to 2nd January 2019, Wednesday to Sunday 11am-6pm (closed 24th, 25th and 26th December 2018).
- Waddesdon Manor Christmas Fair is home to 80 decorated wooden chalets from 10th November to 16th December 2018, Wednesday to Sunday 11am-6pm.
- Make sure you stay after dark to see the Manor Illuminations, Aviary Garden Light Trail and Sound & Light Projection Show at the Stables.
- All tickets for the decorated rooms inside Waddesdon Manor must be booked in advance (including National Trust Members). No Christmas Manor House tickets will be available for sale on the day. Visit the website to book your tickets.
- Waddesdon Manor is near Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire. Visit the website for more information including the details of opening times.
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I visited in November 2018, all information is correct at the time of publishing.
I visited as a guest of Waddesdon Manor. Images, words and opinions are my own.