- Dress up as a Victorian in the Manor’s secret playroom.
- Have a picnic by the formal gardens, and explore the woodland adventure playground.
- Step back in time and learn about Hughenden’s fascinating royal, political and wartime past.
- Take the German Forest walk with views of the nearby Chiltern hills.
With a history spanning over 1000 years, Hughenden Manor is a staple of the Buckinghamshire countryside. Located near the town of High Wycombe, Hughenden in its current form is perhaps most famous for serving as the home of Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli in the late 19th century. The red brick building is a distinctive and eye-catching design, built in the late 1700s and remodelled at the request of the Disraelis by eccentric architect Edward Lamb. As you explore the Manor itself, look out for the Gothic features and the Italianate style of the formal gardens.
With a fascinating history filled with royalty and politics, the walls of Hughenden Manor have been home to many secrets over the years. History lovers will be keen to visit the inside of the Manor, where you can visit rooms which were dedicated to creating secret target maps as a part of ‘Operation Hillside’ during the Second World War. Going further back in time, the Manor was owned by the crown in the 1100s and was given as a gift by Henry I to Geoffrey de Clinton, his chamberlain and treasurer. The Manor was then passed down through bloodlines and by purchase, from family to family (including the Disraelis) until it was requisitioned during the war and finally passed to the National Trust in 1947.
Considered to be one of Queen Victoria’s closest friends, the most famous occupant of the house, Benjamin Disraeli, was also Britain’s first Jewish Prime Minister. He lived here at Hughenden with his family for almost two decades and famously planted a forest here, filled with trees of the pine, laurel and yew varieties. You can explore this Bohemian-style forest on the German Forest walk at Hughenden, which covers a 1.5-mile circular route starting and ending at the Manor. On your way, you’ll come across plenty of woodland and wildlife, as well as beautiful views of the local landscape.
There is plenty to do as a family on your trip to Hughenden. Kids will have a fantastic time dressing up as Victorians in the playroom of the Manor and finding secret treasure with the eye-spy spotter trail. They can also add to their National Trust list of ‘50 things to do before you’re 11 ¾’ at Hughenden, with activities like ‘go welly wandering’ and ‘make friends with a bug’ ready to tick off. Head out into the grounds, and you’ll find the woodland playground, which is the perfect place to run around and explore. With an obstacle trail and much more, all under dense tree cover, this is the perfect place to spend an hour or two. During the school holidays, there are lots of special events put on for families with kids, and the rangers at Hughenden can help children learn all about the local history and wildlife.
There are always seasonal activities available at Hughenden, with plenty of downloadable sheets on the National Trust website to encourage children to spot different kinds of woodland wildlife and discover different types of leaves and animals.
For something to eat, head over to the Stableyard Cafe for something tasty to eat in or take away. There are lots of fabulous picnic spots on the grounds, so why not find a spot on the German Forest walk, or settle among the apple trees in the walled garden?
If you are a fan of formal gardens, make sure to plan a visit to Knebworth House, or if the kids loved getting into character as a Victorian child, Audley End House and Gardens is the place to go next.
What to know before you go
- Hughenden Manor opening times are from 10am-5pm daily. The Stableyard Café is open from 10am - 4pm, and the shop from 11am - 4pm.
- Accessible toilets and baby-changing facilities are available at The Stableyard.
- Some of the paths are uneven and steep, but the grounds are buggy friendly. You can also borrow a hip carrier from the Manor House.
- Wheelchairs are available to hire, but you must pre-book in advance.
- Dogs are welcome at Hughenden but must be kept under close supervision, and on a lead in certain areas.
- There is a lot of dense tree cover in the grounds, so if it rains there is plenty of shelter (including over the adventure playground!).
- Hughenden Manor is just 1.5 miles north of High Wycombe and can be easily accessed by car via the A404 and A4128 once you take the M40 exit 4.
- Car parking is free, and spaces for Blue Badge holders are available.
- There is a bus stop at the bottom of the drive for Arriva Service 3000 buses.
- The nearest train station is High Wycombe, and you can either get the bus, walk or take a short taxi ride from the station.
- Hughenden is a 1.5-mile walk by foot from High Wycombe. There are no cycle paths, but road directions can be used.
- Please be mindful if taking public transport or walking, there is a steep walk up to the top of the hill.