Christmas at Waddesdon is back for 2020 with magical lights and the gardens aglow, plus a 30-day long Christmas Fair to delight shoppers. Join the festive fun in an enchanting outdoor extravaganza to brighten the end of the year.
The House is not open this Christmas due to social distancing protocols. Instead, the focus is on creating an outdoor Winter Light experience that delivers just as much magic and sparkle, but in a way visitors can safely enjoy. All visits will need to be pre-booked to minimise crowding.
To make the most of the Winter Light programme after dark, opening hours are shifting back to 12noon-7.30pm. This means that as twilight falls more visitors will be able to see the gardens ablaze with light, using a variety of state-of-the-art effects, combined with bespoke light installations, bringing the extraordinary landscape and woodland to life. Visitors will also be treated to the spectacle of the façade of the Manor illuminated with dancing lights set to music.
From dusk, the Winter Light trail will transform the gardens through the Pleasure Grounds near the Aviary with dramatic colour and playful installations. Visitors will stroll under the stars beneath magically illuminated tree canopies and bushes draped in sparkle, with the planting transformed by moving light. There are immersive light features such as a valley of flickering flames creating a sea of fire, and dozens of suspended orbs in a sequenced walk-through musical light show.
Wandering down Miss Alice’s Drive from the Woodland Café to the Stables, visitors will find the route illuminated with work created by children from around 35 local schools on a theme of hope, called ‘When you wish upon a star’. And at the Stables, they’ll find Parallels in the Coach House, a light in motion creation of colourful pipes that twist and turn in an immersive installation set to a soundscape, while outside, two giant twinkling baubles, each over six metres tall will offer the perfect festive photo opportunity to share and remember the day.
Unusual gifts will once again be a feature of the popular Christmas Fair (14 Nov-23 Dec, 12-7pm). Set amongst festooned trees and housed in charming wooden chalets, visitors will be able to browse over 80 hand-selected artisan stalls selling handmade gifts, decorations and scrumptious food – to eat on the day or to take home.
There will be afternoon teas (pre-bookable) in the Manor Restaurant, and festive food and drinks to enjoy while exploring the grounds.
Pippa Shirley, Head of Collections & Gardens says, ‘Christmas is a magical time at Waddesdon, and this year, we are focusing on making the most of our extraordinary landscape and buildings for visitors to enjoy outdoors without crowding. The Manor looks like a fairy-tale castle at the best of times, and at Christmas it is truly enchanting. We’re looking forward to welcoming families and children to enjoy the unique atmosphere, sparkle, glamour and fun of Waddesdon at this festive time of year.’
All visits must be pre-booked online in order to stagger arrivals and minimise crowding.
Opening dates, times and tickets
Christmas at Waddesdon, Sat 14 Nov 2020 – Sun 3 January 2021 (Closed 24-26 Dec)
Wednesday-Sunday, 12noon-7.30pm (additional openings Mondays/Tuesdays, 21/22 and 28/29 December)
Christmas Fair, Sat 14 Nov – Wed 23 Dec 2020, 12-7pm (also Monday 21 and Tuesday 22 December)
Prices from £40 for a family of up to 2 adults + 3 children
All visits must be pre-booked with day and time of arrival in order to stagger admissions and minimise crowding.
Advance booking of timed admission, parking and shuttle bus tickets is essential for all visitors, including National Trust members.
Full details of prices and online booking details at www.waddesdon.org.uk/christmas.
Online booking at waddesdon.seetickets.com/content/ticket-options.