Built between 1874 and 1889, the Waddesdon Manor was originally the country house of Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild (1839–1898). As requested by the baron, the sophisticated architecture style of the building was supposed to be inspired by the great Châteaux of the Loire Valley. In addition to some chateau-like structures, the architect Gabriel-Hippolyte Destailleur added his own touch to create an ornate, one-of-a-kind, and quite a British mansion. Thus, visitors would feel like they are visiting France and Britain at the same time.
As you visit the interior of the manor, you will come across many interesting objects, from historical paintings to antique clocks. The highlights of the manor are organized into different categories such as 18th-century French furniture, hidden treasures, modern and contemporary pieces. Some of my favorites are the marvelous mechanical elephant, the musical clocks, and the elegant writing table made for Marie-Antoinette by J-H Riesener (c. 1782). The manor's art collection itself is quite impressive, with masterpieces by Gainsborough, Reynolds, Boucher, Chardin, de Hooch, and Cuyp. A special room is dedicated to a set of large paintings, telling the story of "Sleeping Beauty".
The Victorian garden of the Waddesdon Manor is no less fascinating. Not only are there colorful blooms, but there is also a teal and white aviary where you can watch rare birds. You can even explore the garden in an artsy way by following the sculpture walking trail. Art is everywhere at the site. My friend and I really enjoyed our day out at the Waddesdon Manor.
Don't forget to explore the famous wine cellar of the mansion. On sunny days, you can bring lunch with you to have a picnic in the garden. The Waddesdon Manor is an ideal destination for families with children. Special events, such as the Christmas Carnival, are organized quite frequently. Check out their website before visiting for more information: https://waddesdon.org.uk.
If you are a fan of heritage sites, such as the Waddesdon Manor, you might also like the Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire, known as the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill. The Blenheim Palace is an easy daytrip from Oxford.
Cover photo: Waddesdon Manor | Credits: Vy Dan Tran
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