Today we visited Hughenden Manor which is a National Trust property in High Wycombe. It is fairly well signed around the area and has plenty of on site parking.
Hughenden Manor is the home of former Victorian prime minister Benjamin Disraeli. During the 1940's it was also used as a top secret map making base by the RAF. The house is surrounded by acres of parkland and woodland ready for you to explore.
As we headed to the house from the car park there was a woodland obstacle course complete with an aeroplane that led you down to an orchard which is ideal for picknicking in as it has plenty of tables.
This brings you to a courtyard where you have a shop, cafe and second hand book shop. To the side of the courtyard is the walled garden which provides produce for the cafe and has a real variety of herbs, vegetables and fruits growing in it. There is a willow tunnel for children and the staff were really friendly.
There were small wheelbarrows and watering cans for younger children to use around the garden and there was a children's spotting trail to do also.
When we left the walled garden we followed the signs for the woodland walk and gardens. This took us past a really good view of the surrounding parkland and farmland and there were a lots of really good trees for climbing. This path eventually brings you round the back of the manor to the formal gardens and to the beehives where we saw a lot of activity.
The formal gardens at Highenden are certainly not as impressive as others that we have seen but they are pleasant enough and they had lots of free deckchairs out for people to relax in the garden in the sun.
We decided to visit the manor next. On arrival the friendly guide gave the children an I spy sheet of things to find in each room and we started to make our way around the house which is set over three levels. The boys found portraits of Queen Victoria, A marble cast of Disraeli's wife's foot and a table shaped like an eagle.
We headed down to the basement which has information about Hughendens role as a secret map making base during WW2 and they had a small shelter kitted out as it would have been at the time.
There was also a room preserved in 1940's style which they both really liked. The good thing about many of the rooms at Hughenden is that you are invited to touch things and explore and there were 1940's games and jigsaws out for children to play, and other things to look at and they particularly enjoyed trying out a typewriter.
We continued upstairs which is preserved as it was when Disraeli lived there and was interesting to look around. On this level there was a room which had been styled as a Victorian playroom and there were toys and costumes from that period for the children to try out and also costumes from the 1940's. There was a good variety of things to do here.
After we finished the boys spy sheet the guide gave them both a sticker and we headed for the Ice House bunker which is worth a quick look.
The boys enjoyed looking at yet another typewriter, (funny how old they seem now and such a novelty to the boys), gas masks and RAF uniforms. They also enjoyed answering the phone where you'd get random pre-recorded people speaking to you. David was speaking to a Major and then James picked it up and it said It was Fred from operations and did James want to join him for a crate of Beer ? They both found that funny and James said yes !!
It took us about two and a half hours to explore the site and I'd recommend you leave at least this much time for it, but there are further walks and acres of parkland to enjoy if you want to extend your stay.