Parterre on a frosty morning

Planning your visitGardens

History of the gardens

Created at the end of the 19th century, the gardens are the vision of Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild. He wanted to create something beautiful for his guests to see at every turn.

Historical image of Waddesdon

Under construction

The creation of the garden and house was an enormous undertaking, beginning with the levelling of a hilltop in 1874. Overseen by Ferdinand himself, with the help of the French landscape architect Elie Lainé.

A single track railway line was laid down from Quainton to the foot of the hill, a distance of four miles, so that building materials could be brought to the site by steam tram.

Late 19th century view of the Aviary garden looking North from the top of Wildflower Valley

Landscaping and mature trees

By the 1870s there was a well established tradition of giving the appearance of instant maturity to a garden by planting mature trees. Baron Ferdinand took this approach at Waddesdon.

There was nothing French about the planting of the grounds, it was a pioneering example of a new taste for greater colour in tree and shrub planting that was just emerging into fashion

Family gardeners

Baron Ferdinand with his beloved dog Poupon.

Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild

Ferdinand inherited his love of gardens from his mother, Charlotte, and described how when he was a child, he and his siblings were all given a little plot of their own to plant out as they wished.

Miss Alice de Rothschild

Miss Alice de Rothschild

Alice inherited Waddesdon from her brother Ferdinand in 1898. As well as introducing rules for housekeeping within the Manor, she had a great passion for gardening, carrying a weeding tool with her everywhere. She pioneered new techniques to be used at Waddesdon, such as the recently invented concept of 3D carpet bedding.

Learn more about Miss Alice>