We have been meaning to try Waddesdon Manor for a while now, and since last weekend was “Free Heritage Open Days” we thought it was the perfect time to visit.
It should have taken us 50 minutes to get there from Milton Keynes, it is close to Aylesbury but my iPhone sat nav, which normally works really well, directed us via the worst possible route ever, and not only that, it directed us into private property and we got locked in!
I couldn’t believe how vast the property was, and how beautiful.
I believe we took Nate on the perfect weekend, because not only was it free entry (normally £8 per adult), but it was also Emergency Services Day. There were: fire engines/trucks, police cars, ambulances, police dogs, police horses. Nate got to sit in the vehicles, meet real firemen/policemen, press the sirens, dress up, stroke the animals and have his finger prints taken (gulp!). He loved it! Oh and Peppa Pig randomly showed up too, which Nate is just starting to get in to.
We booked to take a tour around the actual house, and I was surprised at how long it held Nate’s attention. You wouldn’t expect a fancy house with ornate furnishings to be of interest to a toddler, but luckily there were a multitude of large paintings and embroidered furnishings that included some kind of transport or animal on and Nate loved pointing them out “look mummy boat…doggy…horse”.
The adventure playground is a great facility, it is at various points on a steep hill, with apparatus for older children at the top of the hill (clearly marked), and those toddlers at the bottom. This area of the estate is very steep, so bare in mind if you are not an able walker. Although pushchairs/wheelchairs do have access, but again very steep.
Personally, if there was not an external family event going on (Emergency Services Day) I don’t think a toddler would get a lot from Waddesdon Manor. Although, sometimes it is nice to do something for the grown-ups sometimes! They do, however, have a regular schedule of events that would certainly be very enticing in the future. They have many Halloween activities coming up at the end of October, during half-term, for example: Halloween orienteering activity, free Halloween colouring activities, free storytelling session, face-painting in the bat cave, pumpkin carving, free Halloween arts and crafts.
In terms of facilities for families they have several restaurants and cafes located around the property, they have baby change facilities, toilets in various locations and a toy and sweet shop.
Despite getting lost it was a lovely afternoon out, it didn’t matter that the weather was not pleasant, and I am sure we will return.