Over the winter I always have a few Saturdays to myself when the OH and N are off shooting. But often they’re filled with chores, hair appointments or other things that take up too much of the day to go out. The last shoot of the season I decided I was going to do something more interesting and looked out which National Trust properties were open. Hughenden Manor was on the list, and as it’s only an hour-ish away, I decided to head there.

Day out at Hughenden Manor

I’ve only been once for a work meeting, so haven’t actually explored the grounds or manor house, so this was my opportunity.

Hughenden Manor is just outside High Wycombe and is known for being the home of Benjamin Disraeli, Queen Victoria’s favourite Prime Minister. More recently it’s been discovered to have been a map making base during the Second World War.

Hughenden manor entrance signs

The car park is above the manor with a short walk downhill through woodland to the gardens and manor itself. There are shuttle buggies for those who struggle with the hill. 

path through the woods

The grounds

I arrived before 11 when the house opens, so I could explore the gardens.  There’s plenty of different areas – a large picnic area in an orchard as you approach the stables, the walled garden, stables courtyard where there’s the National Trust café, gift shop and toilets, as well as a parterre behind the manor and various other walks around the grounds.  When I was there, there were runners around. With the manor overlooking a church and large sports ground area, people do roam up across the estate.

vew from hughenden
catkins hanging

The walled garden would look lovely once it was flowering and the fruit and veg more developed later in the year, but it was still a sweet walk around, complete with scarecrow and bug hotel.

pot in the middle of the vegetable garden
stableyard cafe and shops at hughenden
bug hotel at hughenden gardens
funny wall hangings

The parterre wasn’t as I expected, a formal display of flowers and hedges, but more a terrace and grass area overlooking the wider countryside, with fountain and statues. There was plenty for me to get my camera out for – it’s nice to see the flowers starting to emerge.

row of flower urns outside the back of Hughenden Manor
small red flowers macro shot
yellow flowers blowing in he wind
macro fir tree cones
hughenden manor from the parterre
the back of hughenden manor
selfie in front of haughenden manor

I also wandered around to find the Ice House, which is displayed as a World War 2 photography developer studio. It’s interesting to see a different part of life in the war.

ice house war time set up

Hughenden Manor

The manor is a free for all, there’s no need for timed tickets although I don’t know if this changes later in the year when it’s busier.  When I was there, one of the free tours was on, so I had to scoot around then a couple of times downstairs. There are 3 available tours, either in the house or grounds, of varying lengths – you just turn up at the allotted time in the right place to join one.

back of hughenden manor from the garden
statues at the entrance of hughenden

The downstairs of Hughenden Manor is set up as it would have been when Disraeli lived there with his wife. You can wander at will, and there are information books or signs in several rooms and the staircase so you can find out more information.

room at hughenden manor
sitting room at hughenden manor

Upstairs you see the study, and bedrooms, before heading up to the top floor for the special exhibition about gifts from and the friendship between Queen Victoria and Disraeli. This is really interesting to see the timeline of Disraeli’s life and politics, as well as the gifts and paintings Queen Victoria sent. You can also see the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s robe that Disraeli refused to return.

view out the window at hughenden
bedroom at Hughenden manor
ceremonial robe at hughenden

Downstairs along the corridor, there’s an exhibition all about Hughenden’s secret past as a location used for making maps during World War 2. As a geographer, it was so interesting to find out how the maps were built up to locate enemy sites, and hear about the dubious citizen bombings that took place.

war video narratives at hughenden
maps of wartime locations

I decided to head elsewhere for lunch rather than eating in the café, but spent around 2.5 hours there overall.

A brief walk back up the hill through the woods, where there are plenty of natural play areas set up for children to explore and enjoy.

It was a beautiful sunny winter day to enjoy the gardens at Hughenden, but worth a visit into the manor as well.

Have you ever been?

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