Despite all the doom and gloom this year has bought, Christmas at Waddesdon is back for 2020 with magical lights and the gardens aglow - plus a 30-day long Christmas Fair to delight shoppers.

The house is not open this Christmas because of strict coronavirus social distancing measures, so staff are focusing their efforts on creating an outdoor ‘Winter Light’ experience that delivers just as much magic and sparkle, but in a way visitors can safely enjoy.

All visits will need to be pre-booked to minimise crowding.

To make the most of the Winter Light programme after dark, opening hours are shifting back to 12pm to 7.30pm.

This means that as twilight falls more visitors will be able to see the gardens ablaze with light, using a variety of state-of-the-art effects, combined with bespoke light installations, bringing the extraordinary landscape and woodland to life.

Visitors will also be treated to the spectacle of the façade of the manor illuminated with dancing lights set to music.

From dusk, the Winter Light trail will transform the gardens through the Pleasure Grounds near the Aviary with dramatic colour and playful installations.

Visitors will be able to stroll under the stars beneath magically illuminated tree canopies and bushes draped in sparkle, with the planting transformed by moving light.

There are immersive light features planned - including a valley of flickering flames creating a sea of fire, and dozens of suspended orbs in a sequenced walk-through musical light show.

Wandering down Miss Alice’s Drive from the Woodland Café to the Stables, visitors will find the route illuminated with work created by children from around 35 schools on a theme of hope, called ‘When you wish upon a star’.

And at the Stables, they’ll find Parallels in the Coach House, a light in motion creation of colourful pipes that twist and turn in an immersive installation set to a soundscape, while outside, two giant twinkling baubles, each over six metres tall will offer the perfect festive photo opportunity to share and remember the day.

Unusual gifts will once again be a feature of the popular Christmas Fair from November 14 to December 23 from 12-7pm.

Set amongst festooned trees and housed in charming wooden chalets, visitors will be able to browse over 80 hand-selected artisan stalls selling handmade gifts, decorations and festive food - to eat on the day or to take home.

There will be afternoon teas, which can be pre-booked in advance, in the Manor Restaurant, and festive food and drinks to enjoy while exploring the grounds.

Pippa Shirley, head of collections and gardens at Waddesdon Manor said: “Christmas is a magical time at Waddesdon, and this year, we are focusing on making the most of our extraordinary landscape and buildings for visitors to enjoy outdoors without crowding.

“The manor looks like a fairytale castle at the best of times, and at Christmas it is truly enchanting.

“We’re looking forward to welcoming families and children to enjoy the unique atmosphere, sparkle, glamour and fun of Waddesdon at this festive time of year.”

The festive fun planned will be a welcome escape for many visitors amid a tough year of restrictions because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Christmas at Waddesdon runs from November 14 until January 3, 2021, except December 24, 25 and 26, from Wednesday to Sunday each week from 12pm to 7.30pm.

There will also be extra openings on December 21 and 22 and December 28 and 29.

The Christmas Fair runs from November 14 until December 23.

All visits must be pre-booked online in order to stagger arrivals and minimise crowding in line with coronavirus social distancing rules.

Full details of prices and online booking details at

You can book online by going straight to

Prices start from £40 for a family of up to two adults and three children, or £19.98 for each individual adult ticket.

Advance booking of timed admission, parking and shuttle bus tickets is essential for all visitors.