House of politics and secrets at Hughender Manor

Hughenden Manor.

Hughenden Manor.

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An historic house that you can actually imagine living in, a house that was home to a former prime minister, but also had a secret role during the war, that’s Hughenden Manor.

Most National Trust properties are so vast it’s impossible to imagine how anyone could ever have considered them to be homes, but Hughenden just outside High Wycombe, has much more compact proportions, writes Heather Jan Brunt.

And although it sadly has nothing left of its kitchens to show visitors, there are plenty of other things to enjoy.

Hughenden was the much loved home of novelist, debater and England’s first and only Jewish prime minister Benjamin Disraeli and his wife Anne. He enjoyed a close friendship with Queen Victoria and after his death she erected a memorial to him in the church at Hughenden, as a mark of her esteem.

A visit to the house includes a chance to see the rooms presented exactly as they were when Disraeli lived there. But there is so much more to the history of the house, because in 2004, following an appeal to local people for their wartime memories, it came to light that Hughenden had been a secret map making base code named Hillside during World War II, and was at the top of Hitler’s hit list. Displays in the basement show how more than 100 people were employed there.

Hughdenden offers a free car park with a buggy friendly path that runs to the house, alongside an adventure activity trail that children can enjoy scrambling over. There are toilets, a dining room in the former stables, and a tearoom in one wing of the house. Picnic tables are provided in the orchard for those who prefer to bring their own refreshments. For opening times and ticket prices see online at www.nationaltrust.org.uk/hughenden.