Waddesdon Manor | Attraction Guides | History Hit

Waddesdon Manor

Peta Stamper

07 Jun 2021
Image Credit: Shutterstock

About Waddesdon Manor

Owned by the National Trust and managed by the Rothschild Foundation, Waddeston Manor is an impressive country house in Buckingham, England. Waddeston Manor is a Grade I listed house built in the Neo-Renaissance style of a French chateau in the late 19th century for the Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild, and has been passed down through generations of Rothschilds.

Waddeston Manor history

In 1874, the Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild bought a large farming estate in Waddeston with inherited money. At the time, the park had no gardens or house. The site of the future house was Lodge Hill, levelled over the next 3 years. It was not until 1877 the first foundation stone was laid.

The house opened with a spectacular party in May 1880 and would continue to host the Rothschilds and their friends, including future king Edward VII, politicians and other intellectual elite. In 1890, Queen Victoria requested a visit and was impressed by the house and grounds’ unparalleled luxury as well as the new electric lights designed to look like candles.

After the deaths of Ferdinand and his sister Alice, the house and collections passed to her French great-nephew Jimmy de Rothschild. Jimmy and his wife Dorothy further enriched the manor with French collections, and in 1928 hosted a Liberal Party rally where David Lloyd George spoke. During World War Two, the couple had children evacuated from Croyden as well as a group of Jewish boys from Frankfurt come stay at Waddesdon.

When he died in 1957, James de Rothschild left Waddesdon to the National Trust so both house and gardens could be opened up to the public. 

Waddeston Manor today

Open from Wednesday to Sunday, Waddeston Manor and Gardens are one of the National Trust’s most visited properties. Within the gardens you will find statues and hidden fountains as each season lays a different carpet of flowers, from daffodils to tulips. Follow the Winter Garden walk to the Aviary and Rose Garden, gaining a great view of the house on your way around.

From inside the manor it is easy to see that the Rothschilds were the greatest collectors of the 19th century, including 2 large Gaurdi paintings, works of the Dutch masters and several Sèvres ship-vases. In the dining room, you will find a large hedge of roses down the table, there to encourage guests to talk to the person sitting next to rather than across from them.

Getting to Waddeston Manor

The easiest way of reaching Waddeston Manor is by car: from the M40 take exit 7 and follow the A418 and A41 from Aylesbury to Waddesdon. The Manor is signposted from the village and there is free parking on site. From the nearest train station, Aylesbury, take a taxi for the 4 miles (10 minutes) as the roads are busy and not safely walkable.