Waddesdon Manor - National Trust

View of the front facade of Waddesdon Manor
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Waddesdon Manor is a magnificent French Renaissance-style château housing the Rothschild Collection of art treasures. The garden is renowned for its seasonal displays, colourful shrubs and mature trees. There is a fully-stocked Rococo-style aviary, a superb cellar of wines, licensed restaurants, gift and wine shops. Events are organised throughout the year, including Christmas period.

Venue Type:

Archive, Historic house or home

Opening hours

Grounds, Woodland Playground, Aviary, Wine Cellars, Manor shops, Stables Café and Shop
23 March-6 November, Wednesday to Sunday, 10am-5pm

House - timed ticket
23 March-23 October, Wednesday to Friday,12pm-4pm; Saturday & Sunday, 11am-4pm (last entry 3.10pm)

Bank holidays
House and Grounds also open on 28-29 March, 2, 30, 31 May, 24-25 October, 27 December and 2 January

Admission charges

Grounds including Aviary, Woodland Playground, Wine Cellars, the Stables, shops & restaurants

£10 Adults
£5 Child aged 5-16 years
£25 Family (up to 2 Adults and 3 Children aged 5-16 years)
Free Under-5s
Free National Trust members (presenting a valid card)

If you only wish to visit the Grounds, tickets can be purchased on arrival from the Welcome Pavilion in the car park. Find out more about parking at Waddesdon.

House and grounds

£20 Adult
£10 Child aged 5-16 years
£45 Family (up to 2 Adults and 3 Children aged 5-16 years)
Free National Trust members (presenting a valid card) - advance booking for timed House entry recommended

Discounts

  • National Trust
Getting there

By train: The nearest train stations are Aylesbury or Aylesbury Vale Parkway. Trains run to and from Marylebone station. From 6 April Waddesdon is putting on a free bus service to and from Aylesbury Vale Parkway station, for the main season from April to October.

By road: For sat nav please use postcode HP18 0JH, the entrance to Waddesdon Manor is via Silk Street.

This French Renaissance-style château was built (1874-89) for Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild to display his vast collection of works of art. The Collection includes French Royal furniture, Savonnerie carpets and Sèvres porcelain as well as important portraits by Gainsborough and Reynolds and works by Dutch and Flemish masters of the 17th century.

Collection details

Architecture, Decorative and Applied Art, Fine Art

Exhibition details are listed below, you may need to scroll down to see them all.
mother of pearl

The Riches of the Earth

  • 25 March 2015 — 23 October 2016 *on now

Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild’s ‘Renaissance Museum’ was full of objects made of precious materials: hardstones, minerals, silver and gold. While the bulk of this collection was bequeathed to the British Museum on his death in 1898, examples of these extraordinary objects are still to be found at Waddesdon, in collections inherited from other members of the Rothschild family, and in the fabric of the building itself.

Waddesdon is full of works of art that celebrate, embody or express the wealth of the Earth. A trail around the house highlights some of these riches– earthenware and porcelain clays worked into vessels and sculptures, rocks mined from the earth and made into jewellery, caskets and chimney-pieces, minerals and plants transformed into dyes and pigments in tapestries and paintings and furniture of rare woods, resins, stones and metals – as well as allegorical representations of the wealth of the earth.

Some of the smaller objects and items from store are gathered together in the Exhibition Room so that visitors can closely examine materials, techniques and the different attitudes to these objects in the 18th century, when many of them were created, and the 19th century, when they entered Rothschild collections.

Suitable for

  • Any age

Website

http://www.waddesdon.org.uk/collection/exhibitions/the-riches-of-the-earth-minerals-materials

"image of Jean-Henri Riesener chest of drawers"

A Closer Look: Spotlight on French Royal Furniture by Jean-Henri Riesener

  • 23 March — 23 October 2016 *on now

Waddesdon Manor houses three extraordinary chests of drawers by court cabinetmaker Jean-Henri Riesener, two of which belonged to members of the French royal family. They are among twelve pieces of furniture now at Waddesdon that were originally at the Palace of Versailles. Riesener was perhaps the most celebrated cabinetmaker of the 18th-century, the official cabinetmaker to King Louis XVI and the favourite of Queen Marie-Antoinette. Each of these chests of drawers is richly decorated with colourful marquetry (designs made with wood veneers) depicting flowers and trophies and geometric patterns, and mounted with finely chased and gilded bronzes.

This display will allow visitors to look closely at these splendid pieces and to learn about their design, technical construction and fascinating history.

The display marks the start of a collaboration with the Wallace Collection and the Royal Collection, both of whom also have significant collections of furniture by Riesener.

Suitable for

  • Any age

Admission

Included in House ticket price (£20 for House and Grounds ticket, National Trust members go free).

Website

http://www.waddesdon.org.uk/collection/exhibitions-waddesdon-manor/waddesdon-riesener-furniture-french-royal

"Image of Red Drawing Room Waddedon Manor"

Step this Way: the Red Drawing Room opened up

  • 23 March — 23 October 2016 *on now

Come into the Manor as a 19th-century house guest would have done. The Red Drawing Room is the central room of the house, connecting the main door with the formal gardens to the south. Baron Ferdinand’s guests congregated there before going into dinner in the adjoining Dining Room.

For the 2016 season the 17th -century Savonnerie carpet, commissioned by Louis XIV, will be substituted with a reproduction of the carpet, allowing visitors to circulate more freely in the room and to see paintings and furniture close-up. New blinds bring light and the landscape back into the room while filtering out UV radiation. These developments in conservation technology bring the interiors of Waddesdon Manor back to life without damaging the precious textiles and light-sensitive materials. Elements of Baron Ferdinand’s original arrangement of the room will be reinstated, including a folding screen painted with monkey scenes, an important set of tapestry seat furniture and a fireplace full of ferns.

Suitable for

  • Any age

Admission

Exhibition is included in the House ticket price (£20 House and Grounds ticket, National Trust members go free).

Website

http://www.waddesdon.org.uk/collection/exhibitions-waddesdon-manor/waddesdon-nineteenth-century-display-red-drawing-room

"image of Gabriel de Saint-Aubin manuscript"

Persuading the King: a manuscript petition by Gabriel de Saint-Aubin

  • 23 March — 23 October 2016 *on now

This display highlights a new addition to the collection at Waddesdon- Gabriel de Saint-Aubin’s volume – Petitions from the Officer Desbans (1775-76). This elaborate manuscript petition was submitted to Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette by a soldier, Edme Louis Desbans, asking for a long-promised promotion. Gabriel de Saint-Aubin was one of the greatest draughtsman of 18th-century France and the drawings with which he brought this document to life were designed to glorify the royal couple while appealing to their artistic tastes and sensibilities. This unique work offers a glimpse into the politics of promotion and favour at the French court near the end of the Old Regime -in which the fortune of an individual depended upon the arts of persuasion. It has all sorts of resonances today, from patronage to the mysterious world of the political lobbyist.

The display explores new research into the petitioner Edme Louis Desbans and petitions in late 18th century France. The entire volume has been digitised and will be available online to browse (web address).

Suitable for

  • Any age

Admission

Exhibition is included in the House ticket price (£20 House and Grounds ticket, National Trust members go free).

Website

http://www.waddesdon.org.uk/collection/exhibitions-waddesdon-manor/waddesdon-french-royal

"image of The Baron's Treat"

Tales from the Archive

  • 23 March — 23 October 2016 *on now

This year’s archive exhibition focusses on people and how the records we hold in the Waddesdon archives, housed at Windmill Hill, tell us their stories. One highlight will be to share research recently carried out on the visitors who signed Waddesdon’s visitors’ book – from Winston Churchill to Henry James and Arthur Balfour. Baron Ferdinand’s visitors included the aristocracy, writers, lawyers and politicians. The display will also include records giving details of those who worked at Waddesdon including photographs, wage books and staff record cards.

Suitable for

  • Any age

Admission

Exhibition is included in the House ticket price (£20 House and Grounds ticket, National Trust members go free).

Website

http://www.waddesdon.org.uk/collection/exhibitions-waddesdon-manor/tales-from-the-archive

"image of Oppenord design"

Bountiful Invention: drawings by Gilles-Marie Oppenord and Juste-Aurèle Meissonnier

  • 8 June — 23 October 2016

An exhibition exploring the work of two of the most innovative draughtsmen and designers of the 18th century: spectacular presentation sheets as well as drawings for workshop use; designs for interiors, fountains and grottoes, both real and fantastical, and an important group of designs for churches and ritual objects.

Suitable for

  • Any age

Admission

Exhibition is included in the House ticket price (£20 House and Grounds ticket, National Trust members go free).

Website

http://www.waddesdon.org.uk/collection/exhibitions-waddesdon-manor/bountiful-invention-drawings-by-oppenord-and-meissonnier

"image of Kate Malone pot"

Kate Malone: Inspired by Waddesdon

  • 8 June — 23 October 2016

Kate Malone, one of the UK’s leading ceramic artists, will exhibit new work inspired by the gardens, collections and archive at Waddesdon. She has drawn inspiration from many elements of the collections, including Sèvres porcelain, works on paper and passementerie (decorative tassles, braids and fringing). The exhibition will recreate in clay the theatre of gourds and squashes created every autumn at Eythrope, the nearby private garden created by Alice de Rothschild in the late 19th century.

"I will cover new ground in this exhibition by working with new clay-types and creative techniques. The show will be a visual feast, bountiful ceramic sculptures that interpret many aspects of Waddesdon’s history. I aim to capture the very essence of Waddesdon through displaying a host of artworks which represent the land, farmers, builders, gardeners, and people who have worked and lived there". – Kate Malone

Malone’s work is inspired by close observation of nature, particularly its fruits, nuts and berries, and her fascination with the more abstract forces of life. Through research and experimentation, Malone has pioneered sophisticated new glazing techniques and has collaborated with architects and designers on innovative public art projects in hospitals, schools, parks and libraries. Her work is in the permanent collections of the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, Manchester City Art Gallery and the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford. Malone also appears as one of two expert judges on the new BBC series The Great Pottery Throw Down.

Suitable for

  • Any age

Admission

Exhibition is included in the Grounds ticket price (£10 Grounds ticket, National Trust members go free).

Website

http://www.waddesdon.org.uk/collection/exhibitions-waddesdon-manor/2016-kate-malone-at-waddesdon

Events details are listed below. You may need to scroll down or click on headers to see them all. For events that don't have a specific date see the 'Resources' tab above.

Windmill Hill Archive Public Open Afternoons

  • 4 May 2016
  • 11 May 2016
  • 18 May 2016
  • 25 May 2016

The Archive and Reading room at Windmill Hill is an amazing space to enjoy contemporary art and home to the Rothschild Foundation. Open every Wednesday afternoon from 30 March to 19 October for you to view.

May be closed some Wednesdays for private events, check with our booking office for confirmation.

Admission is free to Windmill Hill. Normal admission charges apply to Waddesdon Manor. 10 minute car journey or 15 minutes on foot.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly

Admission

Normal admission charges apply

Website

http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/events/52a2c4b3-c967-4345-a602-0555dd75310e/pages/details

Photograph of Waddesdon staff

Behind the Scenes Tour

  • 6 May 2016 10:15am-12:15pm
  • 3 June 2016 10:15am-12:15pm
  • 1 July 2016 10:15am-12:15pm
  • 5 August 2016 10:15am-12:15pm
  • 2 September 2016 10:15am-12:15pm
  • 7 October 2016 10:15am-12:15pm

Learn about life at Waddesdon Manor, how it was used in the 19th century and how it was run. Explore rooms where the servants lived and worked, and find out how these areas of the house today.

Call 01296 653226 to book.

Suitable for

  • Any age

Admission

£25 (£15 National Trust/Art Fund members)

Website

http://www.waddesdon.org.uk/events/behind-the-scenes-tours/

photo of elephant automaton

Early House Tour with winding of the musical Elephant Automaton

  • 12 May 2016 11am-12pm
  • 2 June 2016 11am-12pm
  • 14 July 2016 11am-12pm
  • 4 August 2016 11am-12pm
  • 8 September 2016 11am-12pm
  • 6 October 2016 11am-12pm

Waddesdon Manor is giving you the opportunity of enjoying a pre-opening tour of the ground floor with a house guide and the chance to see the winding of their beautiful Elephant Automaton. This extraordinary, much-loved musical automaton was a favourite of Baron Ferdinand, who built the Manor in the 1870s. Come and enjoy this enchanting 240-year old musical Elephant.

Suitable for

  • Any age

Admission

£25 (£15 National Trust/Art Fund members), £10 students

Website

http://www.waddesdon.org.uk/events/early-doors-house-tour-with-winding-of-the-elephant-automaton

photo of books

Study session: Books and Bindings

  • 12 May 2016 10:15am-12:15pm
  • 15 September 2016 10:15am-12:15pm

Come and explore the 17th- and 18th-century books and bindings in the collection at Waddesdon Manor. These include unique manuscripts and luxuriously illustrated printed volumes, many of which have illustrious provenances including great bibliophiles and members of the French Royal Family. The session will provide an opportunity to view some of these treasures and to learn about book history through some of its finest examples.

Suitable for

  • Any age

Admission

£25 (£15 National Trust/Art Fund members), £10 students

Website

https://www.waddesdonmanor.org/pages/Daytime-Events-Book.html?token=6def508d86819304592c071bf51ff9f2&ID=75&time=1463011200

photo of caremolo modrone

Study session: The Art of Arms and Armour

  • 18 May 2016 10:15am-12:15pm
  • 19 October 2016 10:15am-12:15pm

Come and discover the history and intriguing secrets behind Waddesdon Manor’s collection of arms and armour and get hands-on with a dedicated study session. As well as being practical items with deadly intent, historic arms and armour have long been appreciated as beautiful objects to display in stately interiors. Tales of human ingenuity and passion will be revealed, as well as the intrigue of later deception and forgery. The session will introduce you to how the collection came to be at Waddesdon, allow you to appreciate some of the skills used to create intricate decoration, and give you a hands-on chance to study some key pieces close up.

Suitable for

  • Any age

Admission

£25 (£15 National Trust/Art Fund members), £10 students

Website

https://www.waddesdonmanor.org/pages/Daytime-Events-Book.html?token=6def508d86819304592c071bf51ff9f2&ID=76&time=1463529600

photo of garden staff

Study session: Working at Waddesdon

  • 19 May 2016 10:15am-12:15pm
  • 20 July 2016 10:15am-12:15pm

Join Waddesdon Manor’s Head Archivist, Catherine Taylor and learn more about some of the individuals who worked at Waddesdon and see how the archives tell us their stories. This study session links with the fascinating Tales from the Archive exhibition currently in the house.

Suitable for

  • Any age

Admission

£25 (£15 National Trust/Art Fund members), £10 students

Website

https://www.waddesdonmanor.org/pages/Daytime-Events-Book.html?token=6def508d86819304592c071bf51ff9f2&ID=31&time=1463616000

photo of chest of drawer

Exhibition study session: A Closer Look: Spotlight on French Royal Furniture by Jean-Henri Riesener

  • 25 May 2016 10:15am-12:15pm
  • 28 July 2016 10:15am-12:15pm
  • 23 September 2016 10:15am-12:15pm

Waddesdon Manor houses three extraordinary chests of drawers by court cabinet-maker Jean-Henri Riesener, two of which belonged to members of the French royal family. They are among twelve pieces of furniture now at Waddesdon that were originally at the Palace of Versailles.
Riesener was perhaps the most celebrated cabinet-maker of the 18th-century, the official cabinet-maker to King Louis XVI and the favourite of Queen Marie Antoinette. Each of these chests of drawers is richly decorated with colourful marquetry (designs made with wood veneers) depicting flowers and trophies and geometric patterns, and mounted with finely chased and gilded bronzes. Learn about their design, technical construction and fascinating history at this study session.

Suitable for

  • Any age

Admission

£25 (£15 National Trust/Art Fund members), £10 students

Website

https://www.waddesdonmanor.org/pages/Daytime-Events-Book.html?token=6def508d86819304592c071bf51ff9f2&ID=77&time=1464134400

photo of staff

Exhibition tour: Tales from the Archive

  • 17 June 2016 10:15am-12:15pm
  • 9 September 2016 10:15am-12:15pm
  • 14 October 2016 10:15am-12:15pm

This exhibition tour explores what the Waddesdon Manor archive collections tell us about people. Come and learn more about the archive collections in the Family Room and some of the people who lived at, worked at or visited Waddesdon.

Suitable for

  • Any age

Admission

£25 (£15 National Trust/Art Fund members), £10 students

Website

https://www.waddesdonmanor.org/pages/Daytime-Events-Book.html?token=6def508d86819304592c071bf51ff9f2&ID=74&time=1460678400

photo of manuscript

Study session: Persuading the King: Gabriel de Saint-Aubin’s placets de l’officier Desbans and other books by the Saint-Aubin brothers

  • 24 June 2016 10:15am-12:15pm

A rare opportunity to study Waddesdon Manor's newly acquired royal petition by Gabriel de Saint-Aubin alongside other manuscript volumes, drawings and prints by the artist and his brothers Charles-Germain and Augustin. Senior Curator Dr Juliet Carey and Curator Rachel Jacobs will offer a glimpse into the politics of promotion and favour near the end of the Old Regime. Works will include Gabriel de Saint-Aubin's Memoire sur la reformation de la police de France (1749) and a special copy of Du Perron's Discours sur la peinture et sur l'architecture (1757) made for the book's dedicatee Madame de Pompadour. Charles-Germain de Aubin's famous Livre de caricatures will provide a subversive counterpoint to the arts of flattery and persuasion that lay at the heart of court culture.

Suitable for

  • Any age

Admission

£25 (£15 National Trust/Art Fund members), £10 students

Website

https://www.waddesdonmanor.org/pages/Daytime-Events-Book.html?token=6def508d86819304592c071bf51ff9f2&ID=78&time=1466726400

photo of staff

Study session: Plans, pictures and little ditties

  • 30 June 2016 10:15am-12:15pm
  • 29 September 2016 10:15am-12:15pm

Join Head Archivist, Catherine Taylor, and learn more about the history of the Waddesdon estate and the creation of Waddesdon Manor from the archive collections at Windmill Hill.

Suitable for

  • Any age

Admission

Thursday 30 June, 10.15am-12.15pm

Website

https://www.waddesdonmanor.org/pages/Daytime-Events-Book.html?token=6def508d86819304592c071bf51ff9f2&ID=22&time=1467244800

image of drawings

Exhibition tour: Bountiful Invention: Drawings by Gilles-Marie Oppenord and Juste-Aurèle Meissonnier

  • 1 July 2016 10:15am-12:15pm
  • 22 September 2016 10:15am-12:15pm

Join Waddesdon Manor’s Senior Curator Dr Juliet Carey for an exhibition tour concentrating on the materials, techniques and uses of drawings in the hands of these two draughtsmen and designers. Attendees will also have the chance to examine two precious volumes of prints after Oppenord and Meissonier and to consider their role in the construction of the artists' reputations and in the dissemination of their works.

Suitable for

  • Any age

Admission

£25 (£15 National Trust/Art Fund members), £10 students

Website

https://www.waddesdonmanor.org/pages/Daytime-Events-Book.html?token=6def508d86819304592c071bf51ff9f2&ID=79&time=1467331200

photo of grey drawing room

Study session: The Rothschild’s at Waddesdon Manor: how to display a collection in the latter part of the 19th century

  • 6 July 2016 10:15am-12:15pm

Join Curator Dr Ulrich Leben and explore the building of the Manor and the strategies and schemes deployed to display the Collection.

Suitable for

  • Any age

Admission

£25 (£15 National Trust/Art Fund members), £10 students

Website

https://www.waddesdonmanor.org/pages/Daytime-Events-Book.html?token=6def508d86819304592c071bf51ff9f2&ID=80&time=1467763200

photo of Riesener marquetry

Study session: Modern forms and new materials for the making of contemporary design in the Eighteenth-century

  • 14 September 2016 10:15am-12:15pm

Join Dr Ulrich Leben as he highlights objects from the collections at Waddesdon, made from a variety of materials which demonstrate the ingenuity and inventiveness of designers in the competitive market of eighteenth century Paris.

To book call 01296 653226

Suitable for

  • Any age

Admission

£25 (£15 National Trust/Art Fund members), £10 students

Website

http://www.waddesdon.org.uk/events/study-session-modern-forms-and-new-materials-for-the-making-of-contemporary-design-in-the-eighteenth-century

photo of Riesener commode

Study session: French Eighteenth Century Furniture at Waddesdon Manor

  • 15 September 2016 10:15am-12:15pm

Waddesdon Manor contains one of the finest collections of French Furniture in the UK. This study session will concentrate on highlights of pieces of furniture from the Rothschild collection at Waddesdon Manor and point out why they are significant in the global context of French Furniture collections of the eighteenth century.

To book call 01296 653226.

Suitable for

  • Any age

Admission

£25 (£15 National Trust/Art Fund members), £10 students

Website

http://www.waddesdon.org.uk/events/study-session-french-eighteenth-century-furniture-at-waddesdon-manor/

photo of sevres vase

Study session: Sèvres Porcelain

  • 13 October 2016 10:15am-12:15pm

Sèvres porcelain was the most sought-after and desirable porcelain in Europe in the 18th century because of its exceptional quality and inventiveness. Waddesdon's collection is among the best but these qualities are difficult to appreciate when the pieces are some distance behind the ropes in the house. Selma Schwartz, curator of porcelain, is holding this study session for you to discover its splendours.

To book call 01296 653226.

Suitable for

  • Any age

Admission

£25 (£15 National Trust/Art Fund members), £10 students

Website

http://www.waddesdon.org.uk/events/study-session-s%C3%A8vres-porcelain/

photo of kitchen staff

Study session: Housekeeping at Waddesdon: Then and Now

  • 24 November 2016 10:15am-12:15pm

In these ever popular sessions, Waddesdon's housekeeping team explain and demonstrate how they care for the Manor and its wonderful collection. Join our Steward, Jane Finch, and her team to discover what goes on behind closed doors during the five month annual winter clean.

Suitable for

  • Any age

Admission

£25 (£15 National Trust/Art Fund members), £10 students

Website

http://www.waddesdon.org.uk/events/study-session-housekeeping-at-waddesdon-then-and-now/

Resources listed here may include websites, bookable tours and workshops, books, loan boxes and more. You may need to scroll down or click on headers to see them all.

Explorer Trails

http://www.waddesdon.org.uk/explorer_trail/explorer_trails.html

Enjoy year-round wildlife trails with things to discover and explore along the way, all within the grounds of Waddesdon Manor. Trails are mostly suitable for children aged 7-11 years with accompanying adults.

How to obtain

Pick up the Explorer Trails Guide at Waddesdon Manor, or download from the website prior to your visit. Contact waddesdonmanor@nationaltrust.org.uk or 01296 653226 for further details.

Getting there

By train: The nearest train stations are Aylesbury or Aylesbury Vale Parkway. Trains run to and from Marylebone station. From 6 April Waddesdon is putting on a free bus service to and from Aylesbury Vale Parkway station, for the main season from April to October.

By road: For sat nav please use postcode HP18 0JH, the entrance to Waddesdon Manor is via Silk Street.

Waddesdon Manor - National Trust
Waddesdon
Nr Aylesbury
Buckinghamshire
HP18 0JH
England

Website

http://www.waddesdon.org.uk

E-mail

General email

enquiries@waddesdon.org.uk

Telephone

Information Line

01296 653226

01296 653211

All information is drawn from or provided by the venues themselves and every effort is made to ensure it is correct. Please remember to double check opening hours with the venue concerned before making a special visit.
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