From mid November onwards my diary just goes mad, not just with Christmas events, but also with my son’s birthday being in December too. I realised that even though we live close by, we weren’t going to be able to fit in time exploring the Christmas Carnival at Waddesdon Manor unless we went after school one evening last week. Luckily on Friday my son had a dress down day at school, so literally as soon as we got back from afterwards, we got in the car with his Dad, picked his Auntie up and headed over to one of our favourite National Trust properties.
We always visit at this time of year and last year’s event really was something that will stay with us for a long time to come. How would this year compare? We’re National Trust members and as such the Christmas Carnival is free, making it a real bargain and something we always enjoy.
I was surprised by how busy the car park was on a Friday afternoon, obviously a lot of people had shared my idea of spending an after school evening exploring the Christmas Carnival at Waddesdon Manor, But in reality, we found a space without an issue and barely waited at all for a bus. We’d decided that we’d start our exploration down at The Stables as I’d heard they were having a festive projection on the entrance walls there this year.
It was lovely to watch the scene unfold and we were captivated but I’m not totally convinced it worked on a space front. There were a lot of people watching in quite a confined space and we felt very much that we were obscuring other people view as we watched. I can only imagine how tricky it would be on busier weekends. But it was beautiful none the less.
It’s become a tradition over the years that we have a hot chocolate treat down at The Stables and this year was no different. With my son ‘advising’ us all on where we had to sit, the heater and sheepskins are always welcome. whilst we had our drinks, my son showed off this years addition to our bauble collection, apparently bright green and sparkly is on trend. Not sure it will go with the rest of the tree, but he was happy.
Directly behind The Stables is a light tunnel, you might have spotted it in my My Sunday Photo post last weekend. It captivated all of us and we were lucky to have it pretty much to ourselves at the time.
From there we followed the Soundscape Trail up through the woodland playground area. We didn’t totally understand the tie in between the characters and the different music but it was a talking point as we wandered up the trail.
Always the tour guide, my son loved leading the way, showing his Auntie where he normally would stop to play with sticks along the way.
Excuse the blurred feet, but he had so much fun playing in the playground ‘in the dark’. He even went on the zip wire, a number of times, but it was too dark to get a decent action shot of him, shrieking with delight.
The lights around the Wigwam Cafe area were just beautiful and we might just have had to stop for a mince-pie and soak up the atmosphere for a moment or two.
If we’d arrived slightly earlier in the day we’d have taken a walk along the nature trail, AKA Miss Alice’s Drive, but we were pushing time wise to enjoy all the lights behind the aviary and the house, so we decided to give that area a miss and see the Light Trail running past the Aviary and through the Winter Garden to the top end of the avenue.
We really loved this area this year as we spent time exploring the Christmas Carnival at Waddesdon Manor, the light trail was varied and kept us all entertained as we walked round. This is a part of the grounds that my son loves at all times of year and many sticks have been collected in this area over the years. He loved seeing his favourite trees lit up with different effects. Very effective.
My son loved getting up close to the lights to see the colours shining out.
It was a magical trail.
Waddesdon Manor is one of those houses that always takes your breath away. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve seen the house over the years, in all seasons, it’s just stunning. Seeing it lit up, shows it off in anther way.
You can’t fail but be impressed in whatever hue the house is presented in.
Last year we didn’t visit until New Years Eve, so missed the Christmas Market completely. So this year was the first time we saw it in its new location along the main avenue. It’s so much easier to move around and see what’s on offer.
It was 6pm before we knew it, and time to catch one of the last buses back to the car park. We’d all enjoyed our time exploring the Christmas Carnival at Waddesdon Manor. We thought the light trail behind the Aviary was really wonderful, the lights on the house were lovely but for us, last year’s projection was still the most magical.
We’re off to see some more local lights this weekend, to really get us feeling festive. How about you? What Christmas lights will you be seeing this year?