Lovely updates from Waddesdon Manor in Lockdown

Waddesdon Manor is a beautiful place to visit and i have really missed it during lockdown so it was lovely to get this really uplifting and positive story from them regarding what they have been up to in these difficult times.

Here’s what they said…

Despite 2020 being the year museums and heritage sites closed their doors, Waddesdon, the Rothschild House & Gardens in Buckinghamshire, received unprecedented levels of support from virtual visitors.

20,000 people took a virtual tour of the French-inspired interiors, an increase of 676% from 2019, while a further 13,800 people explored the gardens online. What’s more, 15% of Waddesdon’s virtual visitors were international, revealing the unique opportunity that digital content offers to reach new audiences. In fact, Waddesdon’s virtual tours were enjoyed by more visitors from the US than the UK in 2020, while residents from countries such as Portugal and Brazil were able to ‘wander’ around Waddesdon’s gardens virtually, taking in the 5,000 acres of rolling parkland, formal gardens, the Parterre and the ornate Rococo-style Aviary masterminded by Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild in the late 1800s.

There have also been many other causes for celebration at Waddesdon over the past year, here are just some of the good news stories from 2020…

Over 15,000 people watched Waddesdon’s lockdown diaries

While the site was closed to the public during national lockdowns, Waddesdon’s Collections and gardens staff gave visitors a peek behind the scenes through a series of Youtube videos, watched by over 15,000 people. Curators revealed never-before-seen storage rooms hidden away in the attics, and even ventured out onto the roof to undertake some essential maintenance work. Find the series here:

13,800 visitors explored the gardens online

From online sculpture and tree trails, to short films and blog posts, many of you discovered the stories behind Waddesdon’s beautiful gardens from the comfort of your home. Explore the gardens online here:

Six threatened Fischer’s turaco chicks were born

Thanks to ongoing visitor support in the form of donations collected from the grotto fountain, the Aviary team were able to continue vital conservation work, caring for the birds onsite. As a result, the aviculturists successfully bred six Fischer’s turaco chicks during the 2020 season, helping protect this threatened species.

7,332 meals were delivered to the local community

In March 2020, the Rothschild Foundation, the Buckinghamshire-based charity that supports arts and heritage, the environment and social welfare as well as Waddesdon Manor, funded a scheme instigated by Waddesdon’s chefs, to provide meals for school children and local residents who were shielding. The Rothschild Foundation is pleased to announce that from January 2021 the scheme is recommencing.

Lots of food was donated to foodbanks and hospitals

When Waddesdon closed last spring the events team found themselves with chocolate eggs to spare. 900 Easter eggs were delivered to Aylesbury Food Bank, and ten boxes were sent to John Radcliffe and Stoke Mandeville hospitals.

Again, with the Tier 4 announcements in December affecting Waddesdon’s Christmas opening, sandwich fillings and frozen foods were donated to Aylesbury Vineyard foodbank. Among the donated foods were 20 litres of egg mayonnaise, six kilograms of sliced turkey and 60 litres of tomato soup.

Under the current lockdown, Waddesdon very much remains open for everyone worldwide with digital experiences you can enjoy anywhere 24/7. Online now is a fascinating new digital exhibition, History of the Manor KitchenExplore the history and secrets of Waddesdon Manor’s kitchen and the people who worked in this fascinating new digital exhibition that helps to tell the stories of life in a Rothschild kitchen, from examples of table linen to keys and other domestic equipment.



61 things to do at home with the kids

Before I start….If you find this post useful please consider making a small donation to my chosen charity – Level Trust. No pressure, please only give if you can and want to. Find out more about their great work here.

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  • Create a Stop Motion Video – Love Art at Home have a great selection of free tutorials that give you a step by step guide to create a stop motion video. These are really fun to do! They also have some great art tutorials.
  • Teddy Zip Wire – This works well if you can fix your teddy to a coat hanger. We used bull dog clips.
  • Beauty Salon role play

Get some corrugated cardboard and draw some hands (with nails to paint) and some faces (with features to add make up). If you cover the board with sellotape then you will be able to wipe it clean to use again or to tidy up any mistakes. You could also use another bit of corrugated card, poke some holes in it and feed through wool to have as “hair” then your child can give it a haircut!

  • Baking

In 2020 I posted this blog with a super easy bread recipe. It can be made with a whole bunch of cupboard staples so may be able to be made without a trip to the shop.

Obviously there are a tonne of other recipes available on the internet but my friend did some Facebook Live tutorials including this one for wraps which was great. It was a nice opportunity for the kids to make something ready for lunch.

  • Make a Mini Beast House – Create a little bug house by piling up garden scraps such as wood, sticks and bricks. Make sure you leave some gaps and then revisit your house after a few days to see how busy it has become,
  • Hire a Small Soft play – We used Leighton Softplay recently for my toddlers birthday and it was wicked! It would be great as a treat.

  • Tin Can Alley – Prepare at least 6 tin cans (make sure you sand down any sharp edges) and put them in a pyramid to throw a calls or bean bags at.
  • Indoor Bowling – Half fill plastic bottles with water to add some weight and knock them down with balls.
  • Bird Watching – Identify some common garden birds using this sheet from the RSPB.
  • Make a Den – I have posted these diagrams that were shared by IKEA on my Facebook page a few times and they have always been really well received.  You don’t need IKEA furniture to do them, just use them as inspiration.

  • Have a Day Out at Home – Take a look at this blog I posted in 2020 with different webcams and virtual tours. It includes rides at Disney as well as some other cool places to explore.
  • Online Music Groups – These YouTube videos from Piccolos Music Club are really fun for preschoolers and toddlers. My toddler loves them. Grab an instrument so they can join in
  • Toy Car Wash
  • Do Something Kind – Being kind in these times can spread a little happiness to someone else. My girls have been writing little letters and making drawings to give to the local old peoples home. Helping them to feel connected. Obviously there are plenty of things you can do for neighbours, friends or family.
  • Yoga – Cosmic Yoga on YouTube is good for younger ones
  • Set off a Radar Speed Sign

This is a great one if you have any of these near you. Obviously the above picture is just to show what they are 🙂 On your local walks why not get the kids to race and try and set them off.

  • Do a Junk Fashion Show  – Use anything you have around the house to create inspiring outfits such as toilet roll, newspaper or black bin bags
  • Grow Food From Scraps  – Lettuce is relatively easy to grow from scraps. collect some leftover leaves and put place them in a bowl with a little bit of water in the bottom. Keep the bowl somewhere that gets good sun and mist with water a couple of times  and after 3 or 4 days, you will notice roots beginning to appear along with new leaves. When this happens you can move it to soil.
  • Make a Bird Feeder 

  • Play a Board Game – Dobble is a brilliant game for all ages!
  • Nerf Gun Range
  • Garden Assault Course
  • Indoor Lazer Maze – My girls LOVED this when they were younger. We sellotaped wool to the walls and let then try and navigate their way through without touching the ‘lazers’ (ignore the hideous carpet lol)

  • Junk Modelling
  • Wash the family car – Your child’s age would depend on how involved they can be and also whether you pay them of not!
  • Learn a Musical Instrument
  • Geocaching – Geocaching is the worlds largest treasure hunt! It is great to be done on your local walks. This app was recommended by someone on my Facebook page 🙂

  • Start a Bullet Journal – Bullet journals are amazing! if you’re not sure what one is take a look at this.
  • Science Experiments at Home.
  • Play the Balloon Stomp – Use an elastic band to secure a blown up balloon to your ankle then try and burst your opponents balloon by stamping on it.
  • Make a Sock Creature
  • Shadow Puppets
  • At Home Cinema Night – There are loads of free printables available online if you wanted to make it extra special.
  • Themed Meal 
  • Make a Pizza 
  • At Home Spa Day 
  • Make a Lockdown Time Capsule – put together some items that represent life at the moment – like a face mask, a zoom logo print out, some hand sanitizer and then include other bits written by the family such as things you like, what a typical day is like and what you are grateful for. You could also include news stories and other printouts.
  • Learn an Iconic Dance – Head over to YouTube to see tutorials for all kinds of songs like Thriller!
  • Decorating doughnuts or cookies at home – This looks like great fun! Go out and buy some plain doughnuts (or cookies) and decorate them with sauce, sprinkles and whatever else you fancy!


  • Read a book
  • Go Find It Game – This looks good for local walks
  • Excavate Dinosaur Fossils – Make fossils out of salt dough (push a toy dinosaur into the mixture before baking) and make ‘sand’ by using a blender to break up cheerios. Hide the fossils and let little ones use a brush to reveal them.
  • Messy Play – Messy play ideas are limitless! yes it can get messy but the kids have so much fun! Here are some ideas for things you can use – Dry lentils, pasta and cereal, shaving foam with or without food colouring, coloured spaghetti or rice

  • Learn Origami
  • Make a Music Video – Let your child loose with your mobile and use an app to edit it
  • Create a Puppet Show
  • Scavenger Hunt – These are some great ones that someone created. These work well during quiet moments on the kids zoom calls too,
  • Create an Ice Cream Parlor at Home
  • Make a Hedgehog Leaf Picture – Collect leaves from the garden and let them dry before sticking them to a drawn picture of a hedgehog.
  • Make a Paper Bowl Jellyfish – Tear up strips of tissue paper and glue them inside a paper bowl so they hang down. Stick on some googly eyes and make a hole to feed string through to let it hang. Children can make them swim by waving them from the string.
  • Construction Role Play – Build a wall using playdough and blocks, add some construction vehicles and get them to transport cereal and blocks.
  • Create Freak Shakes at Home 

  • Detective/Spy Role Play – We had a great time doing this. Both me and my husband took it in turns to report a crime (as outlandish as you like) then my daughter would interrogate us trying to solve it. You can give your child a large blusher brush and a small tub of talc and then let them gently brush for finger prints. They can also write secret codes with candle wax then they can reveal it with water based paints. They can also around the house collecting random clues.
  • Guess the Drawing Games – Either draw on paper stuck to the wall with your feet or sellotape some paper toto somebodies back and draw something one line at a time. They can then try to replicate the drawing on their own piece of paper (one line at a time). This game is really funny when you compare drawings.
  • Excavating Animals from Ice – Freeze plastic animals overnight and then use different instruments to get them out. Use hot water and a pipette to add another option.
  • Water Painting on the Fence – a favourite with my toddler and her friends (when she was allowed to see them!)
  • Make Pipe Cleaner Spiders

  • Finger Knitting – Find an online tutorial if you dont know how to do it but its similar to loom bands if your child has ever done that
  • Do Some Sewing
  • Home Escape Room – Alexa have escape rooms that you can do.
  • Have Fun with Alexa – There are some other cool things that you can do on Alexa – like “play pointless” “animal letters” or “deal or no deal”

For more ideas take a look at my 30 Boredom Busters blog!