A very British Christmas at Waddesdon Manor

The East Gallery

The Alice in Wonderland theme

The Blue Dining Room

The Billiard Room

First published in News Bucks Free Press: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

THIS year at Waddesdon Manor there is an English theme which ranges from falling down the rabbit hole with Alice in Wonderland to a Covent Garden themed corridor.

The team at the National Trust has pulled out all the stops to make this a truly British Christmas.

As you enter the beautiful manor under a wreath decorated with the financial times you are presented with the story of Meyer Amschel Rothschild and his wife Lady Gutle Schnapper.

They met in Germany and together had ten children- five daughters and five sons. When the sons had grown up they set off across Europe to make their fortune with each son going to five different capitals- Frankfurt, Vienna, Paris, Naples and London.

The Rothschild family emblem is of a shielf surmounted by five arrows representing the five sons.

Each year Waddesdon has had a country theme from each of the five arrows- this is the fourth year and is time for Britain- perfectly suited for the Jubilee and Olympics year.

The third, Nathan, was drawn to London, which is where this year's theme for the Christmas decorations lie. In the entrance hall visitors will find famour London landmarks including Big Ben and the London Eye.

As you walk through into the East Gallery you are presented with three large glorious trees which reminds visitors of the transport of London. On the beautiful trees you will find mini taxis and buses.

Upstairs in the bedroom corridor there is another tree dedicated to the Christmas cracker.

It was invented by confectioner, Thomas J.Smith in 1847. He went to Paris in the 1840s where he found they wrapped sweets in paper, the took up the idea and then developed it into wrapping small gigts and added explosive powder to make Christmas go with a bang.

In the Red Ante Room visitors will find another Christmas tree dedicated to Sir William Shakespeare. Hamlet's skull, Bottom and play verses adorn the branches.

In this room there are three theatrical figures from the 18th century: the actor David Garrick between Comedy and Tragedy; by Joshua Reynolds, the actress Mary Robinson, by both Reynolds and Gainsborough and George Romney's painting of Emma Hart.

Adjacent to this in the White Drawing Room there is a table laid out for Christmas lunch. Here it explains how Queen Charlotte, wife of George III, is thought to have introduced the Christmas tree to this country and how Queen Victoria and Albert introduced the idea of decorating the tree.

The silver service adorning the table was made for Queen Charlotte.

The Blue Dining Room celebrates the great tradition of the tea party with a table laid out for just that.

And then from an English tea party to the Mad Hatters visitors will then find themselves falling down Alice In Wonderland's rabbit hole.

It's a magical experience as you walk through the corridor which is decorated as if you are in a tunnel. Then walk down the stairs on Alice's journey from teh Cheshire CAt to Playing Cards on the walls to the Red and White Roses.

Into the Armoury Corridor the Manor celebrates the Summer fof 2012 and the Jubilee with a very British Christmas tree decorated with flags and bulldogs.

The Smoking Room focuses on the Pearly Kings and Queens while the Billiard Room is firmily focused on the loveable bear of Paddington.

There is a model railway track with trees decorated with London train stations names. Paddington is sat on the sofa, without wellies on, as it was revealed Jeremy Clarkson's mother introduced the wellies when she was asked to make a toy. She added the wellies for balance. The Bachelors' Wing Bedrooms show how guests would have stayed for the Christmas parties at the Manor.

And then for the final flourish guests will find themselves in the Kitchen Corridor which evokes the hustle and bustle of Covent Garden.

Waddesdon Manor is open from November 14 to January 1 (including December 17, 18 and 31) Wed-Sun from 11am-4pm. During the week it is £15 for adults, £7.50 for children, at the weekends £17 for adults and £8.50 for children. National Trust Members go free. They are closed on December 24, 25 and 26.

And at other National Trust properties:

Christmas at Hughenden, open daily from Dec 1-31. Closed 24, 25, 31. A traditional Victorian Christmas with rooms decorated in period style, shopping and festive fare in the Stable Yard tea-room. 

 

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