Waddesdon Manor On the 10th December
A group of enthusiastic Caledonians braved the dreich weather conditions to visit Waddesdon Manor. We were picked up at the Cornmarket Hall, drenched but enthusiastic and optimistic that the rain would cease. Waddesdon Manor at this time of year has a Christmas Fair which for the first time, was set against an enchanting backdrop of the floodlit North Front of the Manor. First stop on our journey was at the Cotton Wheel Restaurant in Aylesbury where we had a delicious Christmas lunch with all the trimmings plus desert, with first class, friendly service for only £10 per person which everyone agreed was excellent value. We returned to the coach with the rain still pouring down and it continued to do so as we entered the Manor. We were met at the coach drop off point by an attendant who handed us our tickets and instructions about our visit. First a decision had to be made, whether to up brollies and walk to the manor, or my preference, to hop onto the shuttle bus. On reaching the front of the manor you immediately soak up the sights, smells and sounds of Christmas with about 60 hand-selected exhibitors selling an exciting variety of high-quality, unique gifts, decorations, crafts and festive foods to delight, all housed in charming wooden chalets. Unfortunately puddles were forming all around the grounds where the stalls were located making it almost impossible to view the merchandise on show. I therefore made my way to the coach house gallery to view the Manor recreated entirely in gingerbread. The model was at least two metres square and recreated the rich details of some of the manor’s most beautiful rooms, including its paintings, furniture and ceramics, all modelled in icing. In need of a rest I made my way to the power house to sit in the warm and eat and drink snacks bought from the Manor courtyard kiosk. Suitably refreshed it was now our time slot to visit the manor rooms. On entering the house I found it had been transformed into a spectacular palace for Christmas. We discovered a magical themed Christmas tree decorated rooms, inspired by the rare and exotic pieces in Waddesdon’s collection - glass, porcelain, precious metals and minerals. As dusk fell I left the manor which was the ideal time to experience the light and sound show as it animates on the ornate façade of the house with rainbow colours. A four minute performance which created a magical display had been designed specifically for Waddesdon. As the rain showed no sign of abating I attempted to see the field of light on my way back to the coach and what an impressive sight it was. A light art installation made up of glowing spheres which took you on a sensory journey through one of the most beautiful parts of the garden not that I saw a lot with the rain and watching for the deep puddles in the pitch black night sky. With everyone now on board the coach, it was homeward bound.