If you’re a regular reader of Hot Pink Wellingtons, you’ll know I love a good National Trust property. Waddesdon Manor has been on my wishlist for a visit for ages, but is a fair drive for us, so apart from one Tuesday a few years ago where we turned up to find it closed (top tip – visit Wed-Sun!), it’s not made it to the top of our list. But when Waddesdon got in touch to tell me all about their Christmas Carnival, I knew it would be a wonderful time of year to finally make that visit.
Waddesdon’s Christmas Carnival is open until 2nd January, and it’s absolutely crammed with festive activities. The house is all decorated for Christmas, there is bauble decorating and letter writing to Santa down at the Stables, and a Christmas market, but the star attraction is the light display, which leads you on a trail through the woods, with beautiful colours lighting up the trees.
Waddesdon Manor is a fair way from the car park, and they do run a bus service up to the house, but as it was only a 15 minute walk, we opted to use our feet and follow the pretty lights which led the way. Max was full of enthusiasm and was happy to lead the way!
We made our way to The Stables as we’d promised Max a hot chocolate, and I knew that was where he would be able to decorate a bauble and write his letter to Santa. John and I opted for a Baileys hot chocolate – it is nearly Christmas after all!
Bauble decorating is such a lovely thing for children and seems to be everywhere this year. At Waddesdon your child can choose a bauble from the rainbow selection on offer, and use pens to decorate it. It costs £4 for a bauble. It was very busy when we were there, but we found a space for Max to sit, and he loved decorating it (he tells me it’s a picture of Father Christmas, and also Ben – his little brother!)
The Light Tunnel is just behind the Stables courtyard, so we headed there next to walk on through, before heading up to the house again to start the light trail.
The trees were all lit up in different colours, and there were different displays to look at as you walked through, including disco balls, which made beautiful patterns on the ground and in the trees, and tunnels that lit up as you walked through. Max absolutely loved following the lights, and standing in front of them, finding himself bathed in light!
As you emerge from the light trail, you find yourself at the front of the house was lined with Christmas market stalls, so we had a wander. There were lots of different food options – churros, steak pies, coffee, cheese – and lots of Christmas decorations to browse.
But the star of the show is the house itself, all lit up in different colours. It really is beautiful!
I’m so glad we made it to Waddesdon Manor – I don’t think we could have found a more beautiful time of year to visit!
Disclosure: We were invited to visit by Waddesdon Manor, and give a token for Max to decorate a bauble and send a letter to Santa.