Waddesdon Manor promises French attractions for people holidaying locally

It has been the year of staycations, here's how the famous Bucks venue is trying to give visitors a taste of France.

Tuesday, 17th August 2021, 3:44 pm

Waddesdon Manor has created a series of French-themed activities, for those visiting the famous venue this summer.

With so many people choosing to spend their annual leave locally, rather than organising Covid-affected trips abroad. Waddesdon Manor organisers are promising visitors a flavour of France with new attractions.

With so many people choosing to spend their annual leave locally, rather than organising Covid-affected trips abroad. Waddesdon Manor organisers are promising visitors a flavour of France with new attractions.

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Waddesdon Manor

Here's some of the activities visitors can enjoy:

The architecture of the Loire Valley

A Waddesdon Manor spokesperson explained the role French architects played in constructing the gigantic building, saying: "Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild chose a French Renaissance style inspired by the châteaux of the Loire valley for Waddesdon, and engaged a French architect, Gabriel-Hippolyte Destailleur, to create this.

"As you walk around the Manor, you can spot intricate details taken from a number of buildings – such as the châteaux of Blois and Chambord, but also the Louvre and Versailles. The Stables were also built in a French 17th-century style, with façades designed by Destailleur – very grand accommodation for the horses and carriages needed to bring Ferdinand’s guests to and from Aylesbury Station, and for tours around the Estate.

Waddesdon Manor shop

"Today, the Stables Courtyard is the perfect spot to enjoy a picnic lunch after a look at the special exhibition ‘Nick Knight: Roses from my Garden’ in the gallery converted from the old coach house."

The interiors of Parisian townhouses

The spokesperson continued explaining how Baron Ferdinand decorated the inside of these buildings. The spokesperson added: "Rather than continuing the Renaissance theme, he asked Destailleur to create rooms using wall panels taken from 18th- century French houses.

"These ornate, carved boiseries are not just a background, but are works of art in their own right. They come principally from Parisian hôtels particuliers (private town houses) removed either when these houses were being refurbished or demolished in the 19th century.

Waddesdon gardens

"Baron Ferdinand could really believe himself to be in France. He also surrounded himself with objects made for French royal and aristocratic patrons, and even the exhibitions programme has French connections. This year, you can see little-known watercolours by the 19th-century symbolist artist Gustave Moreau."

The gardens of Versailles

The spokesperson explained how the French influence extends to the gardens at the venue, advising: "Ferdinand de Rothschild appointed French landscape architect Elie Lainé, to help with the creation of Waddesdon’s gardens. They were designed to complement the Manor, and as a result are an intriguing mixture of French formality and English romantic parkland.

"As you explore, look closely at Waddesdon’s cast-iron Aviary, erected in 1889, with its echoes of trelliswork pavilions found in French 18th-century gardens, including Versailles. Facing the Aviary is an important marble figure of Apollo triumphant over the monster Python. This sculpture, by Jean Raon, was originally intended for the gardens there."

The wines of Bordeaux

The spokesperson says: "[Waddesdon Manor] has one of the largest collections of Château Lafite Rothschild outside France. Wine has been an important part of the Rothschild family story since the purchase of Château Mouton Rothschild by Baron Nathaniel in 1853."

Cellars created in 1994 which hold over 15,000 bottles, the largest collection of Rothschild wine in the world, the spokesperson claims. There is 127 different Rothschild wines on offer, Waddesdon Manor staff say.

The artisan food markets of the Dordogne

There is a monthly Artisan Food Market, organised for every second Saturday of the month and is free to attend.