Waddesdon Manor, the opulent French chateaux style Buckinghamshire home of the famous Rothschild banking and wine-producing family for four generations, was bequeathed to the National Trust in 1957 and opened to the public in 1959.
In 1994 the Wine Cellars at the Manor were opened for the storage of more than 15.000 bottles of Rothschild wine, including some dating from 1868 and examples of what are considered to be two of the world’s finest wines, Chateau Lafite Rothschild and Chateau Mouton Rothschild. The cellars are offered to organisers for tutored informal, reception-style wine-tastings of Rothschild wines for up to 60 people and formal seated tastings for up to 36, prices dependent on range and names of wines selected.
Elsewhere on the Waddesdon estate are three other venues with possibilities for events.
o The Five Arrows Hotel is a Grade 11 listed building at the Waddesdon village end of the driveway to the Manor house. It offers 16 bright and comfortable bedrooms, each one slightly different but all with modern facilities. Our tea and coffee tray came with soft, sweet and tasty almond and raisin cookies baked in the kitchens that serve the hotel’s two-rosette restaurant. (See next issue for food review)
For meetings the Old Coach House can hold 70 theatre-style, and the Rothschild Room accommodates 20. Day Delegate Rate is £55, to include three servings of beverages with pastries, biscuits or cake, a set two course lunch or sandwich platter, unlimited still/sparkling water, LCD projector and screen, flip chart and pens, Wi-Fi and VAT. The 24-hour rate is £185 to additionally include bed, breakfast and dinner. No minimum numbers.
o The Dairy is a self-contained vaulted Victorian building set by a large and peaceful lake that features a number of rare breed ducks. Overlooking the lake are two pavilions, part of a terrace that can be used for al fresco drinks and nibbles, but don’t feed the ducks.
Inside the Winter garden holds 110, the West Hall 70 and the Buttery 40, all capacities theatre-style. For drinks receptions there is the Terrace and the Courtyard for 160 each and the Courtyard with a marquee for 200. There is the Dieppe Room for 12 boardroom, or private dining. Minimum numbers are 8, Day Delegate Rate is £85 with the same package as for the Five Arrows Hotel and 24-hour rate is £215
o Windmill Hill is a modern, contemporary hill-top building, conceived as a centre for the cultured to contemplate and enjoy art, sculpture and design.. The Reading Room holds 50 theatre-style, 100 for dinner, and other areas for dining are the Orangeary for 50 and the Bawden room for 14. Minimum number is 8, the Day Delegate Rate is £125 and the 24-hour is £255.
As well as wine-tastings at the Manor other activities that can be organised from Waddesdon include tours of the house, garden, and water garden, dog and duck herding, field archery, clay pigeon shooting and air rifle shooting. There is a high-rope course 25 minutes away and there are a number of private and shared party nights, and a private Christmas lunch party offered for December.