Once upon a time, a wealthy and widowed Baron built himself a fairytale castle on a bare hill in rural England.
In it, he filled with the most precious things one could find under the sun: porcelain artefacts with intricate designs, paintings by
masters of the time, exotic birds and flowers from faraway land that people had only heard about but never dreamt of seeing with their own eyes.
He led a life full of opulence and abundance like Aladdin's cave, but no matter how much treasure he acquired, the hollowness he felt inside was never to go away.
This is the story of Ferdinand de Rothschild, and this is his castle.
When was the last time you found treasure in your own backyard?
The moment I stepped onto the grounds of Waddesdon Manor, I knew I'd struck gold.
Standing in front of this magnificent French Renaissance chateau, one can hardly believe that we are still in England. Buckinghamshire, to be exact, just one hour of train ride from London Marylebone station.
Waddesdon Manor was built in the late 19th century by Ferdinand de Rothschild - a member of the prominent banking dynasty - as a country house, a weekend playground to entertain friends and family who wanted to escape London during the summer months.
A passionate collector of arts and artefacts, Waddesdon Manor also served as the perfect backdrop to display his vast collection of treasures from around the world, from old master paintings, exquisite miniatures, to furniture, porcelain and tapestries from the French Court.
Rothschild only purchased the best of the best. In 1882 he famously spent £6,300 on a Riesener writing desk made for France's Marie Antoinette, which would be worth around £530,000 today. And this was certainly not his most expensive acquisition.
In addition to planting a grand chateau in the English countryside, the baron was also credited for creating the lush landscape surrounding Waddesdon Manor today.
The legend might have exaggerated when it boasted that Rothschild had planted one million trees on his estate of 2,700 acres, but the result of his vision is undeniably impressive.
Today the Waddesdon Estate has expanded to 6,000 acres and offers some of the most stunning trails in all of England.
On my 5-mile walk from the village of Stone to Waddesdon Manor, my senses are mesmerized by a wave of pleasantry... giant trees soaring into the sky, fragrant meadows carpeted with wildflowers, and farm animals on the gentle hills exercising their limbs and enjoying their lunch.
Running a manor of such a grand scale was never to be an easy or inexpensive task, so to keep the property from the possible fate of declining, the Rothschild family bequeathed Waddesdon Manor to the National Trust in 1957, along with some 160-acre of land surrounding it, to ensure proper care of the property for all to enjoy for generations to come.
Scroll down for access information and a photo tour of this wonderful time capsule. Enjoy!
Free for National Trust members
House & Grounds Access - £20 Adult / £10 Child / £45 Family
Grounds Only - £10 adult / £5 Child / £25 Family
House visits are by timed entry, including for National Trust members. Book House Tickets Here
If you’re travelling by train, you can download a 2for1 grounds admission voucher to use on arrival: 2for1 grounds admission voucher
EASY ACCESS FROM LONDON:
Regular trains run from London Marylebone to Aylesbury and Aylesbury Vale Parkway.
There's one daily free shuttle bus service between Aylesbury Vale Parkway station and Waddesdon Manor. Click here for details.