Baron Fer­di­nand de Roth­schild built Wad­des­don Manor be­cause he wanted a place to en­ter­tain friends and show off his col­lec­tion of arts and an­tiq­ui­ties, which he’d ac­quired on his trips around Europe.

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Wad­des­don Manor is a stun­ning 19th­cen­tury res­i­dence in Eng­land, de­signed to look like a French Re­nais­sance château.

It’s 51 miles from Lon­don, and has al­ways at­tracted im­por­tant vis­i­tors and roy­alty. Queen Vic­to­ria vis­ited for din­ner in 1890, and was fas­ci­nated by the elec­tric light­ing—a new in­ven­tion at the time.

Ev­ery Christ­mas, the house is ex­trav­a­gantly dressed for the sea­son. The theme this year will be ‘Christ­mas Car­ni­val’ and dec­o­ra­tions in the house will re­flect the car­ni­val spirit. Christ­mas is al­ways a spe­cial time at Wad­des­don Manor, with dra­matic dec­o­ra­tions in­side, as well as light­ing dis­plays in the grounds. Each year there’s a dif­fer­ent theme re­lated to the house, its his­tory and its col­lec­tions.

Baron Fer­di­nand de Roth­schild built Wad­des­don Manor be­cause he wanted a place to en­ter­tain friends and show off his col­lec­tion of arts and an­tiq­ui­ties, which he’d ac­quired on his trips around Europe. The col­lec­tion com­prises paint­ings by renowned artists from France and Eng­land, 18th-cen­tury French fur­ni­ture, Sèvres porce­lain, and other dec­o­ra­tive pieces. He be­came famed for his week­end par­ties at Wad­des­don. They were at­tended by so­ci­ety’s elite, the great and the good, and his grow­ing col­lec­tion of un­usual trea­sures be­came some­thing of a talk­ing point.

Af­ter liv­ing a life as a prom­i­nent politi­cian, banker and one of Bri­tain’s most re­mark­able party hosts, Fer­di­nand passed away in 1898, leav­ing Wad­des­don Manor to his sis­ter, Alice. When she died, it passed to their nephew, James Ar­mand de Roth­schild. Then, in 1957, the manor, its grounds and col­lec­tions, were be­queathed to the Na­tional Trust to be pre­served for pos­ter­ity.

Ev­ery year for Christ­mas, the house is adorned with ten 15-foot Christ­mas trees, which are dec­o­rated with over 10,000 lights and 3,000 baubles. The Car­ni­val theme for 2018 high­lights Wad­des­don’s role as a party house. Fer­di­nand en­ter­tained roy­alty, politi­cians, writ­ers and celebri­ties in his coun­try home, so the Cu­ra­tors have drawn in­spi­ra­tion from car­ni­vals and mas­quer­ade balls, look­ing at his­toric books, prints and draw­ings for ideas.

The house is brought to life in a com­pletely new way ev­ery year. Large parts of Wad­des­don Manor are ‘put to bed’ for the win­ter, to al­low for pre­ci­sion clean­ing and con­ser­va­tion work. How­ever, other rooms are opened up, es­pe­cially for the sea­son. The rooms dressed for Christ­mas cre­ate an en­tirely new vis­i­tor ex­pe­ri­ence. Fes­tive dec­o­ra­tions are dis­played in the Manor’s East Wing and

Fer­di­nand en­ter­tained roy­alty, politi­cians, writ­ers and celebri­ties in his coun­try home.

The Blue Din­ing Room stands re­splen­dant, dec­o­rated for Christ­mas 2016. The theme was Mag­i­cal Ma­te­ri­als. The snowflakes were made from porce­lain and were hand dec­o­rated.

Right: Here, we see the Blue Din­ing Room dec­o­rated for Christ­mas in 2017. The theme was En­chanted Menagerie. It featured small blue and red but­ter­flies all around the room and on the tree.

Above: This ta­ble is in the Blue Din­ing Room. It’s dec­o­rated for Christ­mas ev­ery year and this shot was taken in 2016 when the theme was Mag­i­cal Ma­te­ri­als. The ginger­bread man is a tra­di­tional Christ­mas bis­cuit, while bot­tles of Roth­schilds wine grace the ta­ble.

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