One of the National Trust’s very best days out heads up your pick of things to do in Aylesbury. It’s a faux French chateau built in the 19th century for the party-loving Baron Ferdinand. You can also immerse yourself in the dumbfounding world of Roald Dahl at the Children’s Gallery, or why not take a trip back in time on the steam locomotives of the local railway centre.
Activities in Aylesbury
Take a trip back in time with a visit to Waddesdon Manor, the Renaissance country house that ranks among the most popular and visited properties in the National Trust’s portfolio. Nearly half a million people a year come to see its extensive grounds and to uncover its history step-by-step as they explore its exquisitely maintained maze of rooms.
Despite its appearance, Waddesdon Manor isn’t as old as you’d first think. It was constructed towards the end of the 19th century by Baron Ferdinand on a barren hill of former hunting land. Considering the ornate details of the house, in the style of famous French chateau, it took less than three years to build, with the first of many house parties being held in 1880.
Waddesdon Manor went on to welcome all manner of guests, most notable being the future Edward VII, and Queen Victoria. All in all, the house is incredibly impressive with fascinating collections of furniture, masterpieces by Gainsborough, Savonnerie carpets, and a wine cellar of more than 15,000 bottles featuring labels designed by Salvador Dali.
As the estate was previously just hunting ground, the area underwent extensive landscaping to create the wonderful gardens where Baron Ferdinand would entertain his guests. Today, you can follow the sculpture trail around the grounds and visit the aviary that’s now a registered zoo, housing endangered and exotic birds.
Rogue Bowling Aylesbury
Roald Dahl Children’s Gallery
If you’re visiting Aylesbury with young family then be sure to pay a visit to the Roald Dahl Children’s Gallery on Church Street, just a five-minute drive from our Aylesbury hotel. The award-winning gallery is spread across two floors of fun interactive exhibits designed around Roald Dahl’s books. Matilda’s library is our favourite, but it’s all great for kids. A word of warning, while it is part of the Bucks County Museum, the Roald Dahl Children’s Gallery isn’t free.
Bucks County Museum
The Bucks County Museum is a fascinating trip for anyone wanting to delve into the history of Buckinghamshire. It’s just over the road from the Roald Dahl Children’s Gallery and features hours’ worth of exhibits to kill some time. Character actors are dotted around to help bring the museum to life; it makes a huge difference and helps the oldest public museum in Buckinghamshire feel fun and fresh.
Buckinghamshire Railway Centre
Train enthusiasts won’t want to miss out on the chance to see the historic collection of more than 150 locomotives and rolling stock at the Buckinghamshire Railway Centre. It’s based at Quainton Road railway station and run by a group of volunteers. The best time to visit is on the weekends when you can take a ride on some of the centre’s collection of heritage locomotives, so check the website before your visit to avoid the disappointment of turning up when the trains aren’t running.
When the weather takes a turn for the worse and you’re stuck for things to do, head inside to the Odeon in The Exchange. It’s the only major cinema in Aylesbury, and has a grand total of six screens putting on all the latest blockbusters. It’s just over the road from the Waterside Theatre, our number one Aylesbury entertainment recommendation, and down the road from both the Hale Leys and Friars Square shopping centres.
One last activity to mention in Aylesbury is Rogue Bowling, an excellent 14-lane bowling alley on the Gatehouse Industrial estate. It’s clean, the staff are friendly, and the prices are reasonable, so if you need to kill some time you can take to the lanes and practice your game.