Our new car park is now open, and the welcome pavilion will open in Summer 2015

The background
When Waddesdon first opened to the public in 1957, visitors drove up the hill and parked in front of the House, in a small car park or on the drive itself. As visitor numbers continued to grow (now at nearly 400,000 annually), this became increasingly challenging to manage. On busy days, some visitors had to park over a half a mile from the House, and then walk up the drive through a double line of cars, converging from all directions.

Aside from the damage to grass verges caused by parked cars, and the inconvenience to visitors, this also compromised Baron Ferdinand’s original idea and the experience that he wanted to be so much part of his guest’s arrival.

Recent developments
Discussions took place over many years to consider how parking and the arrival experience could be better managed, to prioritise safety and comfort for visitors, and to plan for the future. This included a visitor consultation in 2011.

There has been a major investment of £4.4 million in new facilities, designed to welcome all of our visitors and to also ensure that everyone experiences the arrival and the magical views from the drive as originally intended. Having considered various sites, it was agreed to locate a new car park with 1,000 spaces in a discreet location, almost entirely invisible from the entrance drive, and therefore protecting the beautiful views and the surrounding landscape.  A new fleet of shuttle buses have been introduced, in order to transport the majority of visitors from the car park directly to the top of the hill.

A new walking path from the car park to the Manor has also been introduced, and the 15-minute walk has been increasingly used by visitors during the season.

Future Plans
A permanent welcome pavilion has been designed (by architects Carmody Groarke), which will include lavatories and a covered waiting area for the shuttle buses. This will open in the Summer of 2015.