Yule is, after all, a season to celebrate the return of the light after the long days of darkness. Our friends took us to the Christmas fair at Waddesdon Hall to enjoy a truly spectacular light show. That was where I discovered my special nifty gloves that kept you warm while allowing you to fiddle with your phone don’t actually work too well. Especially when I put them on the wrong hands so the metallic sensors were on the wrong side of my fingers. But even when the dress malfunction was corrected they were more trouble than they were worth, so I took them off and braved the cold, which dropped to rather less than 10 after the sun set at about 4pm. At least it didn’t rain.
Waddesdon Hall is a British manor house owned by the Rothschild family. Every Christmas the house puts on a Christmas fair with rows of vendor stalls selling food and Christmas stuff. The house itself is decorated according to selected themes and the extensive gardens are lit up. Linda and Mike go most years and this time, we tagged along.
We parked in a car park a good twenty minutes, uphill walk from the house. We mutually agreed to take a shuttle bus instead. Perhaps the organisers underestimated the popularity of the event because they only arranged for two shuttle buses. They were provided by a third party who took advantage by charging £2.50 (AU$4.75) per person for a ten-minute bus ride. And there was no bus lane so the bus was stuck in the in and out traffic at the parking area. Considering the length of the queue waiting for the shuttle bus when we got on, I expect there were some disgruntled patrons.
We arrived before nightfall and went to see the house. This year, the themes were Peter Pan, Alice in Wonderland/Through the Looking Glass, and Narnia. The pictures tell the story. Note the lavish paintings and furnishings in the house apart from the Christmas decorations.
That’s just a peep at this wonderful exhibition. No wonder it’s so popular. Then it was off to enjoy the grounds as the light started to fade. The grounds around the fair stalls were busy and the aroma of food drifted in the air.
After that we went outside to enjoy the light show with music. The whole building is lit up and so are the trees and gardens along walking paths, the coloured lights moving with the music. It was cold and colourful and absolutely brilliant. People thronged the walking paths but they weren’t noisy and they didn’t intrude.
Here are just a couple of short examples of what we experienced. It was marvellous. I’d go again in a moment.
Being as how it was now about 5pm, it wasn’t the end of the night. I suspect it would take me a while to get used to it growing dark a little after three in the afternoon. What we did next will be the subject of the next post.
By the way, if you’ve happened upon this page by accident and you’d like to read more about the tour, go to the tour page where you’ll find the rest of our adventures.