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Waddesdon Manor welcomes visitors to its grand Neo-Renaissance country home and grounds each day from 10am to 4/5pm.
This impressive French-style château was built in the 1870s and offers surrounding views of the Chilterns Hills, Oxfordshire and the Vale of Aylesbury.
What is there to do?
There’s so much to see and do, Waddesdon Manor is an entire day out in itself as the House and Grounds are so expansive.
Exploring the Grounds
You’ll start your day in the stunning Victorian Gardens. In spring, Waddesdon comes to life in a wash of colour. You’ll spot over 6000 tulips on the Parterre and plenty of daffodils left in Daffodil Valley.
The Aviary is charming. This ornate green and gold cast iron aviary features many exotic birds including the Rothschild mynah, a bird native to Bali. This bird was named after Walter, second Lord Rothschild (1868-1937), a famous zoologist.
All around you, there are things to discover. Whether it be the beautiful gardens, exquisite statues and sculptures, or the contrasting landscapes.
On arrival, you’ll make your way down the tree-lined North Drive. Eventually, you will be greeted by the entrance to the honey-coloured stone country home alongside its beautiful terraced gardens.
What is there to do?
There is lots to do! Within the house, you will find plenty of character alongside a plethora of renowned and impressive artwork including paintings, porcelain, and tapestries. Some of the National Trust’s most celebrated paintings are featured within the gallery at Upton House and Gardens!
The expansive South Lawn behind the house leads to a deceptive and steep ha-ha with a terraced hillside beneath. This is surrounded by the Orchard, Wild Garden, Mirror Pond, Sunken Lawn and Bog Garden.
The gardens offer numerous landscapes including the orchard, woodlands. grassland and lakes. It’s truly a beautiful place to wander around and full of colour in spring.
Once you’ve worked up an appetite, you can grab to grab a bite to eat in the Pavillion cafe or treat yourself to local produce at the gift shop.
For those feeling adventurous, you’re also welcome to explore the surrounding countryside if you fancy.
Is Upton House and Gardens family-friendly?
Upton House and Gardens are indeed family-friendly! However, it’s probably best to bring a carrier if you plan to go with a baby and leave the buggy at home.
Within the house, buggies will have to be left outside. Once in the gardens, there are lots of steps and slopes which would be awkward to navigate. However, there is a wheelchair-accessible route that partially covers the garden that you may wish to use if you do choose to bring your buggy.
Please note, the house and gardens are located near the edge of a valley and there are a few steep drops as well as open water elements.
You will find baby-changing, breastfeeding, and toilet facilities available in the Courtyard.
The onsite Pavillion cafe offers serves light lunches, snacks and hot and cold drinks. A children’s menu and high chairs are available also.
If you wish to, you can also take advantage of the sunshine and enjoy a picnic in the gardens.
How much does it cost?
Upton House and Gardens offer free entry for National Trust members. If you are not a member, please see the entrance prices below:
National Trust Stowe welcomes its visitors to a vast Georgian landscaped garden and parkland each day from 10 am-4 pm.
Once parked at New Inn, there’s a short walk downhill to the garden entrance where you will be free to explore over 250 acres of nature.
What is there to do?
There is lots to do and you can expect plenty of opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors. Stroll around the scenic garden at your leisure before heading into the surrounding parkland to discover its secrets.
You’ll see lakes, temples and plenty of monuments, alongside beautiful flora and fauna. If you choose to go off-the-beaten-track and explore further, you’ll be spoilt.
You could easily spend an entire day wandering around discovering new sights and sounds throughout the parkland.
Once you’ve worked up an appetite, feel free to grab a bite to eat in the cafe, browse second-hand books at the Old Dairy Book Shop or treat yourself to local produce at the gift shop – all located at New Inn on the way out.
Is National Trust Stowe family-friendly?
It is indeed! There are buggy-friendly routes around the garden and surrounding parkland and you’ll also find baby-changing, breastfeeding, and toilet facilities available at the New Inn entrance.
The onsite cafe offers a children’s menu and high chairs are available also.
How much does it cost?
National Trust Stowe offers free entry for National Trust members. If you are not a member, please see the entrance prices below:
Adult – £13.00
Child – £6.50
Family – £32.50
Family One Adult – £19.50
Children under five are free.
Please note, if you would also like to visit Stowe House, this is charged separately.
Looking to spend a day in the Cotswolds? We visited places in our home county Oxfordshire before heading onto some of the best Cotswolds towns and villages in Gloucestershire with our seven-month-old son, Theo, in tow.
Wrapped up snug on a chilly November day, here’s where we visited on our day out in the Cotswolds:
Our first stop was St Oswald’s Church. Slightly off the beaten track, St Oswald’s Church is a beautiful minuscule English Gothic church nestled amongst lush countryside in the Windrush Valley.
The church’s main construction is said to be from the 13th century but it also has 11th-century remnants. To our surprise, the church was open and you can wander inside and see its wonderful interior.
Nearby, you can find the outlined remains of the deserted medieval village of Widford in crop marks.
Burford, West Oxfordshire
Next, we visited the town of Burford, often referred to as ‘the gateway to the Cotswolds.’ It’s a charming place with a rich history of wool production.
Visitors can see its beautiful church, medieval bridge, the Tolsey Museum, and thriving town centre.
Church of St John the Baptist, Burford
The impressive St John the Baptist Church was the first thing to catch our eye as we arrived in Burford. This Grade I listed church has gone through many restorations, with building starting in the 12th century.
Inside, you can view memorials of Burford’s great families, a 100AD carving said to depict the Celtic goddess, Epona, the tomb of Sir Lawrence and Lady Tanfield, and a memorial tablet of Burford mason, Christopher Kempster.
Burford town centre
Along a hill sloping toward the River Windrush, Burford’s High Street is booming with quaint old stone cottages, independent clothing, gift, and antique shops, as well as numerous old pubs and places to eat.
Our next stop, the picturesque village of Bibury. Famed for its quaint Cotswold stone houses, Arlington Row, Rack Isle, The Church of St Mary’s, Bibury Trout Farm, and Arlington Mill.
Arlington Row is a beautiful row of weavers cottages of honey-coloured Cotswold stone on one side of the River Coln. It is one of the Cotswolds and England’s most photographed sights.
You may have even seen Arlington Row featured in films such as Stardust and Bridget Jones’s Diary!
On to, Bourton-on-the-Water, dubbed ‘the Venice of the Cotswolds.’ Bourton-on-the-Water is a charming village, centered around the tranquil River Windrush, crossable by five stone arch bridges.
Bourton-on-the-Water offers a wealth of things to do. From tea rooms, shops, restaurants, to attractions such as The Model Village, Birdland, Dragonfly Maze, and the Cotswold Motoring Museum.
The Model Village
The Model Village in Bourton-on-the-Water is a must-see. It’s the only Grade II listed model village in the country.
It offers A one-ninth scale model of Bourton-on-the-Water in intricate Cotswold-stone, allowing you to navigate it in its entireity.
There’s a lot of fun to be had pointing out the storefronts and buildings you may have seen earlier in the day, as well as wandering the city like a giant. Interestingly, there’s even a model village within the model!
Visitors can learn about the history of the mill and bread making and see the inner workings of its machinery.
Finally, Stow-on-the-Wold, a bustling and charming market town. It offers a lively Market Square, brimming with independent shops, delicious tea rooms, and fine British pubs, alongside a beautiful church.
As it was getting late in the day, we grabbed some pastries to go from Huffkins before heading to St Edward’s Church.
St Edward’s Church
St Edward’s Church is famed for its mythical tree-framed doorway, dominated by two ancient yew trees.
The door is said by locals to be the inspiration for Tolkein’s Doors of Durin, who was supposedly inspired during his many visits to the Cotswolds.
When Mini Ravers popped up on my TikTok feed, I had to know more. Clubbing with a baby? Surely not!
I immediately found their website and realised they were hosting a daytime event only 45 minutes away.
After checking out their frequently asked questions, I discovered their events are suitable for babies, are quieter than your standard club and full of colour and fun. Plus, they even have character appearances!
Taking your baby clubbing
On arrival, we were greeted and headed upstairs with our family exclusive wristband.
Grabbing a coke, the club welcomed us with bright lights, confetti cannons and many happy faces toddling about. Mini Ravers events are suitable from age 0-12 years, alongside the watchful eye of parents and guardians at all times, of course!
We’d decided to bring along some baby ear defenders for Theo despite the quieter music as we didn’t want him getting overwhelmed – he didn’t.
To get the party started, I pleaded with my partner that he needed a light-up flashing stick, which he absolutely loved chewing on to the beat.
What is Mini Ravers like with a baby?
I thoroughly recommend Mini Ravers with a baby in tow! We had a great time bopping along to many a 90s and noughties classic during the day.
It was the perfect event for parents who are looking to do something different with their children. To make some truly unique memories!
Theo got to say hi to Woody from Toy Story and even enjoyed some dancing under a giant parachute during the festivities.
We left sweaty and happy, much like your usual nightclub. I agree with my partner who said, “I think it’s important to say the parents enjoy it as much as the kids.”
We cannot wait to attend another event when Mini Ravers next comes to the South East!
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