Reviewed by Nealy Collins
I visited Waddesdon Manor in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire on Good Friday with my mum and my two sons aged 6 and 4.
Although busy, parking on arrival was easy, there was very little queuing at the ticket stand and we quickly got on a bus that took us to the main house and grounds. Entry into the grounds only (not including the house) is £20 for a family of four which I think is reasonable. Including the house it is £45 for a family of four.
We arrived at lunchtime so began by looking for somewhere to eat, as mentioned above it was busy (as to be expected) but found the easiest and least busy looking place to eat was an outdoor ‘food to go’ outlet in the Stables Courtyard. Unfortunately we were disappointed to still wait 20 minutes to be served only to find some of the food choices (from an already limited menu) had run out and it was only 1.30pm!
However there was plenty of space to sit and the stables offered pleasant surroundings.
After lunch we let the children explore the Woodland Play Area which they really enjoyed and they would have spent longer here if it wasn’t for us being keen to explore other areas of Waddesdon – particularly the events laid on for the Easter weekend.
The queue for the Colourscape attraction was very long so we started with the Cadbury’s Easter Egg Trail. This was great, really well planned as the trail took us around the gardens and aviary so we were able to enjoy this while the children were kept busy looking for clues!
The trail was an additional cost to our entry fee at £3 per trail and I thought this was a little high if I’m honest. The trail took around half an hour which was perfect.
The grounds of Waddesdon Manor are truly beautiful and impeccably kept and the views are stunning, especially at this time of year with flowers in bloom, lavender, daffodils etc…
Once we’d finished the Easter Egg Trail the children were rewarded with a chocolate egg which kept them entertained while we queued for the Colourscape!
The last entry was 3.30pm and we queued at 3.20pm. It was disappointing to find the music inside the attraction stopped before the last entry so we were not able to experience this. I think this made a huge difference to our overall experience and we might have braved the longer queues for an earlier time slot if we had have known this in advance. At £12 for a family of four into the Colourscape I would expect the ‘full experience’ – music included regardless of whether it’s the last entry or not.
My children loved the huge inflatable sculpture with 71 colourful ‘chambers’. My mum and I were less enthused and found it to be more of just a maze, however as mentioned I think this is because there was nothing else on ‘offer’ as advertised on the programme of events and this was disappointing.
Overall Waddesdon Manor is beautiful, the gardens are amazing with some truly stunning views. Whilst Waddesdon is very family friendly with the Woodland Playground and Easter Egg Trail (as well as facilities such as high chairs in the restaurants/children’s menus etc…) I would personally recommend it more for adults. Having said this, my children did enjoy the activities on offer.
Gardens (includes the Aviary, Woodland Playground, Wine Cellars, The Stables exhibitions, Shops & Restaurants) are £4 for a child, £8 for an adult or £20 for a family of 2 adults and 3 children (saving up to £8). Children under 5 are free.
House and Gardens (including all exhibitions, displays and the Bachelor’s Wing) are £9 for a child, £18 for an adult or £45 for a family of 2 adults and 3 children (saving up to £18). Children under 5 are free.
Extra charges may apply for special events.
For more information or to book tickets online visit www.waddesdon.org.uk.
Waddesdon Manor. Aylesbury, Bucks, HP18 0JH | 01296 653226