Waddesdon Manor, Christmas Fair

Another Christmas favourite of ours! We LOVE Waddesdon Manor at Christmas. It really is the ultimate Christmassy day out. The venue has won the award for the “Best Christmas Experience” for a few years now. The market is brilliant — we love the tasters, the atmosphere, the stalls (especially the fudge man!)

Being National Trust members, we used to visit several times during the Christmas period, however we knew this year would be very different.

We easily pre booked our tickets online (having to pay £5 each, which seemed expensive after it being free, but you get a £5 voucher to spend in the Waddesdon shop and outlets) and paid for the shuttle bus. You can walk to the house from the car park but it is about a mile and is at quite an incline! We did it once- never again with our buggy!

We arrived at 4.15 and were surprised that we had to park in the second overflow car park — I was a bit concerned that it would be too busy. The queue for the bus was about 20 minutes but was organised well and the staff encouraged social distancing as much as possible. It was lovely to see the different lights from the bus and the house looked spectacular, as always! The Christmas market was good! There were barriers at certain stands to help with queuing and social distancing, and there was hand sanitizer at every stall, with signs encouraging people to wear their masks and keep their distance.

As soon as we got there, poor George decided to jump on the buggy and cut his knuckle, which bled quite badly for a while. It sadly meant that he wasn’t really feeling very Christmassy and just wanted to go home. He soldiered on for a little while though!

The children loved parading around the market, eating fudge, and watching the light show projection on the house (which takes place every 10–15 minutes). This year there are spotlights in the sky… I didn’t know this beforehand and thought we had a UFO invasion when driving past a couple of weeks ago! After a little mooch around, we decided to take the Winter Light route. It was gorgeous!!!! The route led you around the aviary with lots of interactive light shows, which entertained my children for ages! There were some shapes planted in the middle of a garden and you had to press the foot pedal to change the colour. There was also an interactive projection of a pond on the floor, where the children (or adults!) could jump onto the water and make ripples. Typical that our two wanted to try and squash the koi carp more! There was also a musical light pattern, where you could jump on different lights to play different notes. As you continued along the route, there were thousands of lights going down a hill, beautiful sparkling lights in the trees and light cubes positioned around. It really was magical.

Unfortunately, with the finger incident and coming straight from school, the children were exhausted. We went to the coffee stand by the main gift shop and used our vouchers (the hot chocolate and marshmallows was lovely). There wasn’t much of a queue there at all either, however, there was quite a wait to go into the shop. We then headed back to the house and queued for the bus back to the car park (we waited about 20 mins).

It was a lovely evening and I definitely want to go back and see the lights by the Stables. The Christmas market finishes on the 23rd Dec (but is now sold out), however the Winter Light display has been extended until the 31st January (open Thursday-Saturday 4–10pm and 4–8 on Sundays).

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