Monday, October 03, 2016

Waddesdon Manor . . . Again

After church on Sunday, with the sun shining, we wanted to have an outing. It was far too pleasant to be stuck in doors. The weather is unseasonably warm at the moment. The 3rd of October and as mild as it's been for most of the summer. Also, a good enough reason to make the best use of our National Trust membership and head off to Waddesdon Manor, which is around 40 minutes away, near Aylesbury. We have been there on several occasions, but there is so much to see that it always yields up more delights whenever we visit. Not just the Manor itself, but the gardens and surrounding countryside.

We got to Waddesdon and were surprised to discover that it was very busy, no doubt the autumnal sunshine bringing out many visitors, like ourselves. We found a parking space and boarded the bus which then took us up to the Manor. This makes life so much easier. You can walk, but it's around a mile and a half and some of it quite hilly. It would be fine on a warm and sunny day, but not so pleasant if it were raining or there was mud on the ground. We had booked tickets so as to be able to visit the Manor's interior. Just enough time for us to walk to the front of the Manor and wait for the next timed group of visitors to enter. They seem to have changed which door you enter and some of the rooms within the house have been either restored to their original glory or opened up to the public. This house is quite spectacular. Full of the most amazing art, not just paintings but china (there is a whole room of Sevres china.) as well as paintings by such artists as Sir Joshua Reynolds, Canaletto etc etc. There is one room which houses a series of paintings which depict the Sleeping Beauty fairytale and executed by Leon Bakst, who was responsible for many of the set and costume designs for Diaghilev's Ballet Russes productions, such as the Firebird and The Rites of Spring. Well worth a visit to Waddesdon Manor for that alone in my opinion.

Waddesdon Manor, as viewed from below the Terrace

 Statue in grounds at Waddesdon Manor, conveniently
 pointing the way back to the carpark

The tree-lined path to the carpark at
Waddesdon

Having completed our visit to the inside of the house, we went outside and found the very convenient kiosk which sold hot chocolate, sandwiches and other items of refreshment, and sat at a table and consumed our food. Instead of returning to the carpark on the bus we decided to walk. It is a pleasant amble through very attractive scenery, but actually a good deal further than you imagine, but well worth the effort. Not always a good idea to use transport as you tend to miss a lot of things you wouldn't otherwise see unless you take your time. Just rushing past means you miss a lot of the detail.
We left Waddesdon, but instead of turning right and driving back the way we'd come, from Aylesbury, we decided to go home via Bicester. Meaning we would go through Buckingham and then back to Milton Keynes that way. Unfortunately, on arriving in Bicester, we found that a road was closed (for whatever reason, we don't know. Maybe an accident or something.) and had to turn around and go back via the A41, the road on which Waddesdon is situated and then on to Aylesbury. The homeward journey took a good deal longer than anticipated, but, considering the pleasant sunshine not as bad as it could have been. Unfortunately, we hadn't taken the SatNav with us, which might have made the journey a good deal easier. 
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