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Christmas at Waddesdon

by Neil Hennessy-Vass

Christmas at Waddesdon means one thing, extravagance. At the Manor this year the theme is music. The Rothschild estate has a long and rich heritage of music and it is used to the full in both the main house and the garden with this year’s celebrations.

A series of superbly decorated Christmas trees (some with sheets of music adorning the boughs) are to be found in the various rooms all decked out in the splendour associated with this special event held each year at the Manor. There are 80 wooden chalets in the grounds full of artisan goodies, perfect for presents or just to treat yourself, the main shop in the house also has a Christmas section, and you can also get your tree there.

For me the grounds this year were the star. A longer walk than ever before with a floodlit disco ball, illuminated light trails, cascading rivers of light all blinking away in time to music. Constantly changing it provides interest almost like a ground level firework display. There are some natty smoke generators that at the press of a button that blast out plumes of coloured smoke into the sky.

Down in the Stables Courtyard you’ll find giant mistletoe lights hanging from on high and best of all inside the Coach House is a light installation like no other. Three long rows of large white orbs suspended from the ceiling change colour and ‘dance’ up and down in time to music. The sequence lasts two minutes or so but is totally mesmerising I watched it twice. It is essentially a modern ballet of technology brilliantly conceived and executed.

There is something to intrigue the most humbug of minds this year. And when it all gets too much (as Christmas has a tendency to do) then head off to the wigwam for some mulled wine and relax après ski style on sheep skin rugs and watch the log fire until you feel better again. Christmas at Waddesdon Manor is really worth a visit to get you into the mood. I heard on the grape vine that the kitchen was planning on making 9000 mince pies this year, I doubt it will be enough.


Open until December 22nd

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