Waddesdon Manor is a country house in Waddesdon- Buckinghamshire. Set in 120 acres of grounds, the Victorian gardens are famed for their seasonal displays and spectacular parterre.
The house was built in the Neo-Renaissance style of a French château between 1874 and 1889 for Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild (1839–1898) to showcase his fine collection of French decorative arts, and as a weekend residence for grand entertaining. His now legendary ‘House parties’ were held at weekends, between May and September and usually involved 14 to 20 house guests.
Baron Ferdinand played host to many important guests, including the future King Edward VII, politicians, and members of The Souls group- a small group of distinguished English politicians and intellectuals. In 1890, Queen Victoria unusually requested to visit the manor and whilst there was impressed with the beauty of the house- she was particularly struck by the newly installed electric lights- designed to look like candles in the chandeliers, reportedly, she asked for the room to be darkened to fully witness the effect.
The last member of the Rothschild family to own Waddesdon was James de Rothschild- when he died in 1957, he bequeathed the house, including land, and its contents to the National Trust. Today, Waddesdon is managed by the Rothschild Foundation, chaired by Jacob Rothschild, 4th Baron Rothschild.
Multiple films have been shot at Waddesdon Manor, including: Never Say Never again (1983) James Bond| The Queen (2006)| Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (2011) and television series, Howards‘ Way 1885| Downton Abbey (2011) and The Crown (2016)
Waddesdon Manor is one of the National Trust’s most visited properties, with around 390,000 visitors annually.
Photo: National Trust.