Waddesdon Manor in Buckinghamshire is huge, especially if you decide to walk from the car park. It is about 20 minutes walk up the hill from the car park, so have water and plenty of energy ready, if that is your plan. I would however strongly recommend you take the shuttle up. Though it needs to be booked in advance and is separately charged, which is annoying but it will save you tantrums from tired and moaning kids! You can thank me later.
Buses run from the car park to the North Fountain, returning via the Stables and back to the car park. The place is HUGE and there is plenty to do here. I must say we have never actually gone inside the house as we just love the nice walks and the play area. There are many woodland and nature walk trails, Parterre and lot of open spaces. I must warn you that there are no signposts for the walking routes on site. You can use their online navigation, or download our walks map in advance for the three garden walks HERE
The place just invites picnics and you will see lots of families enjoying one on the grass. The gardens are stunning in any season. You really have to visit in every season to appreciate the full diversity of plants and flowerbeds but especially when the Tulips are lining the parterre or the daffodils are in full bloom in the Daffodil valley. The hill is ideal for rolling down, though its a bit of a hike upwards, so leave it till the end 🙂
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We usually do the playground after a walk around the manor, otherwise I think it can be tiring for kids. The woodland playground is not huge but is awesome. Personally, I really like the idyllic setting under the horse chestnut, ash and sycamore trees, which not only looks beautiful but also gives some protection if is raining.
For the little ones, there are a number of play structures to have fun with, from swings to seesaws, all placed on soft bark. The more adventurous or older children can fly across a seated zip wire or clamber over the climbing frame or swing around on the pendulum swing or the board rider. The tunnel slide is long and pretty fast. Ay came flying down and I literally had to catch him, so please be careful. I often see at least one child cry every time we visit. Different play areas are dotted along the hill and are not fenced, so it can sometimes be difficult to keep track of children if they are of different age groups.
Head over to Miss Alice’s woodland trail next. The trail is not too long but you can spot a few interesting sculptures on the way. It treks up and down, but is buggy friendly.
We also love the aviary. Chirpy birds gives me happiness, but we always make into a game as to who spots the birds first. Some of them are quite brilliantly hidden at times, so it is all good fun.
In 2000, Waddesdon won the Europa Nostra award for ‘the extraordinary re-creation with modern techniques of a major Victorian garden’–That says it all. Pack your picnic bags and get ready for a lovely day out! Also look out for their kids friendly events during school holidays.
We visit Waddesdon often. Here are our OTHER posts from previous visits:
📅 Different activities continue throughout the season (please see WEBSITE for more details)
🗺 Address: Waddesdon Manor, HP18 0JH
🎟 Free for NT Members but chargeable otherwise (please see WEBSITE for more details)
🚘 Free parking but but shuttle up the hill is charged (2£adult, 1£child)
🚻 Toilets and baby facilities
🍕 Refreshments available
🐕 Dogs on short leads are allowed anywhere in the grounds except for the Aviary, Parterre and Woodland Playground. Assistance dogs are welcome in the bus, grounds, House, shops and catering outlets.
🦽 Buggy accessible but if you plan to walk from the carpark, then it is up hill with various steep climbs. Try to get a shuttle, which need to be booked in advance and is separately chargeable. Other accessibility details HERE
🧺 Picnic allowed