Christmas preparations usually begin 12-18 months in advance at Waddesdon, and once planning is complete it takes a team of 20 people four weeks to string hundreds of thousands of fairy lights, install eleven Winter Light features and hang 3.2 km of festoon lighting around the grounds.
|Christmas in numbers|
|Christmas at Waddesdon is in its 19th year||21,000 metres of cable are used to help light up the trees and woodland|
|The Waddesdon chefs hand make more than 4,000 mince pies with homemade mincemeat, apples from Eythrope walled garden and flour from the Waddesdon Estate||3.2 km of festoon lighting will light the path from the car park|
|6,000 festive afternoon teas will be served in the Manor Restaurant||400 rose lights will be ‘planted’ to bring the Rose Garden to life|
|Waddesdon expects to welcome around 150,000 visitors over the festive period||Six 12-foot Christmas trees will frame the Manor, once in place the team will trim them to make sure they’re the perfect Christmas tree shape|
|Over 100,000 fairy lights will be used to decorate the site||Over 80 artisan makers and craftsmen can be found at the Christmas Fair (until 23 Dec)
From November, visitors can stroll under the stars with family and friends alongside bushes draped in sparkle, while enjoying a mulled wine or some tasty street food from the Christmas Fair. Highlights include a light display projected onto the Manor’s façade, the colour-washed woodland and outdoor multisensory, interactive light features.
Simon Wales, Waddesdon’s CEO says, “This year has been another challenging one for everybody, but we hope to end things on a high note by bringing a bit of magic to Waddesdon this Christmas. Having been awarded the ‘Best Christmas Experience’ at the Group Leisure and Travel Awards for the past two years, Waddesdon comes into its own during the festive season, and there truly is nothing better than seeing families and friends enjoying the unique atmosphere, sparkle and fun of Waddesdon at this time of year.”
Winter Light trail
Longer than ever before, the Winter Light trail is especially designed to accentuate Waddesdon’s natural treasures. Starting at Daffodil Valley, the ground will be covered by a glittering, twinkling blanket of lights, newly designed for 2021.
Elsewhere, a bed of individually ‘planted’ rose lights will glow and grow before your eyes, as the Rose Garden is lit as part of the Winter light trail for the first time. The trail continues through a tunnel of ‘light loops’ (the perfect Instagram spot) before a variety of elements tease the senses with scents, sounds and lights.
At the end of the trail, visitors can wander beneath colourful tree canopies as part of a musical walk-through lightshow and discover four-metre-high Giant Dandelion sculptures, the first of their kind in the UK. Large trees and smaller saplings will be lit throughout the route, showcasing Waddesdon’s unique structures.
The Victorian-style Parterre will also be lit for the first time, with a light show that plays on the regimented patterns of the planting display, set to a musical soundtrack.
At the Stables, a huge ‘pixel pyramid’ standing over six metres tall will offer another festive photo opportunity to share and remember the day. Suspended within the pyramid are thousands of hanging, colour-changing pixels, dancing to festive music to create 3D shapes and graphics.
In the Coach House Gallery, visitors will encounter light works by Leo Villarreal, the artist behind London’s Illuminated River project, alongside a display showing how this long-term art installation (physically the longest piece of public art in the world) is transforming the Thames at night with an orchestrated series of light works that spans nine bridges in the city.
Christmas Fair, 13 November – 23 December
Unusual gifts will once again be a feature of Waddesdon’s famous Christmas Fair. Set amongst festooned trees and housed in charming wooden chalets, visitors will be able to browse over 80 selected artisan stalls selling handmade gifts, decorations, and scrumptious food (to either eat on the day or to take home). The chalets will be decked with fairy lights, and set against the backdrop of the floodlit Manor, illuminated with dancing lights and decorated with six large Christmas trees.
There will also be afternoon teas (pre-bookable) in the Manor Restaurant, and festive takeaway food and drinks to enjoy while exploring the grounds.
OPENING DATES, TIMES AND TICKETS
Christmas with Christmas Fair 13 Nov-23 Dec (inc Mon 20 & Tue 21 Dec)
Wed-Sun, 12noon -7pm, last admission 5pm, gates close at 7.30pm
The whole property is closed 24-26 Dec 2021
Christmas and Winter Light 27 Dec-3 Jan 2022
Mon-Sun, 2-9pm, last admission 6pm, gates close at 9.30pm
Winter Light will continue in the grounds Thur-Sun from 6-23 Jan 2022
Prices from: £17 Adult, £8.50 Child. Full details of prices and online booking details here www.waddesdon.org.uk/christmas
All visits must be pre-booked online to stagger arrivals and minimise crowding, including for National Trust members.