Hughenden Manor is the former home of a Prime Minister and was even visited by Queen Victoria. With woodland walks, a large kitchen garden, formal gardens and the manor house itself there is plenty to do here. Make sure you also explore the parkland too – click here to read my review. We’re regular visitors to Hughenden Manor so I’ll update this review regularly.
Sep 2020 Hughenden Manor review update – their brand new playground is now open! See below for all the details.
They installed a new car park a while ago now which has made things easier on busy days. It does mean that there is now a bit of a walk from the car park to Hughenden Manor itself. Until 2020 there was a woodland play trail alongside the pathway. This has now got really old and damaged so they replaced it with a new natural playground near the welcome hut. It has now opened and it’s AMAZING. Parts of the old play trail still remain alongside the main path from the car park to the grounds but this may be removed in the future.
The new playground at Hughenden Manor
The brand new playground opened today and Smallest Child and I were the first ones on it! They’ve been planning this for a year and it’s soooo good. This is exactly my kind of playground! It’s all made from wood and is very much about physical play. It’s for under 10’s and I’d say 2/3 years old is probably the youngest. Smallest Child was 3 when we visited and she was capable of doing everything, but needed help with some of the high bits. There’s three main pieces of play equipment – some stepping stones, a rope bridge and wooden circle frame and a little house with a scramble net, den and rope. There’s plenty of seating around for adults as well.
It’s not huge but I imagine this is going to be really popular with the kids. I’ve shown the boys the video and they cannot wait to go.
The Kitchen Garden at Hughenden Manor
I really like the kitchen garden; there is lots of fruit and veg to explore with the kids and they have a bug hunt you can do. They also have little wheelbarrows and my kids could spend hours pushing these around “gardening”. Now it is well established, the willow tunnel is brilliant for kids to run in and out of. If you don’t have a veg patch of your own it’s a great way to show children where fruit and veg comes from.
The formal gardens
The formal gardens at Hughenden Manor themselves are actually very small in comparison to the NT properties I have done a review for, but they’re very pretty. They have some massive deck chairs you can relax in when the weather is good. There are some bee hives at the end of the garden which my two eldest enjoyed visiting. There is a little woodland path (The pleasure grounds) alongside the house which is very pushchair friendly. In the grounds there is also the West Bank Garden (this is accessible by steps only). There is also the Ice House bunker which sheds more light on the military past of the Manor. At the moment the disabled access slope is broken so there is only stepped access into the bunker.
Hughenden Manor Estate
There are lots of awesome walks around the woodland and wider estate. If you walk back towards the road then you can explore the stream and the resident cattle herd. The woodland part of the estate can be very hilly and muddy in places, but that’s the nature of woodlands. If you are starting your walk in the woods near the ice house then you are greeted by a fairly steep muddy path from the outset. The paths are extensive so it’s best to get a map (we did get lost once and ended up pushing a double pushchair up a VERY steep and muddy hill. It was very funny but also hard work!!) If you’re a fan of GeoCaching there are several points within the grounds that have caches hidden.
Dogs on leads are allowed throughout most of the site, including within the stables area so you can have a drink / something to eat whilst you’re there. If you want to walk your dog off the lead then this is allowed in the wider parkland (also, National Trust membership isn’t required to walk in this part, you simply park at the Church to start your walk)
The Manor House
Inside the house there is usually a children’s trail. The rooms are fairly simply decorated but there are guides in each room. If your family are fans of the TV series “Horrible Histories” you might be interested to know that some episodes are filmed here. They also have a permanent exhibition dedicated to Queen Victoria as she was close friends with Disreli. The basement used to be dedicated to Operation Hillside, a fascinating insight into how the house helped towards to war effort. Access was down steep, narrow steps though so they’ve now moved it upstairs. The exhibition is now in the rooms that they actually made maps in, which makes much more sense!
They do regular events such as an Easter Egg hunt, Apple days and Christmas trails which we’ve always enjoyed.
Normally we have taken a picnic with us and just brought a cake from the cafe but the last time I visited I decided to get lunch for myself and smallest child from there. This turned out to be a bit of a mistake. Whilst they do sell children’s boxes it turns out that they don’t normally do them during the week (I was there on a Thursday). They don’t sell them regularly enough during the week and so there was a lot of waste and they stopped doing it. Apparently they normally keep some bread in the kitchen to make up a sandwich if needed but they didn’t have any of that when I visited. They did manage to find a roll for her, but it was very dry and she didn’t eat any of it. It was unlucky but useful to know for the future.
Our Hughenden Manor Review
Yes, Hughenden Manor is relatively small, but there is so much to explore in the wider estate. The kitchen garden is a real highlight for us. Hughenden Manor is quieter, and more relaxed that some of its near-neighbours. I actually quite like that about it. I have always felt that Hughenden Manor is really family friendly, and the new playground is a great addition to this. Over the years we’ve spoken to lots of members of staff and they have always been really friendly.
Free for NT members £31.65 for a family ticket (Prices correct in 2019). For the latest prices or to become a member click here (affiliate link)
Parking / How to get there
Parking – Free, on-site and a decent amount. The car park is a walk from the manor but there’s a shuttle buggy if needed.
Address – Hughenden, Buckinghamshire HP14 4LA
Yes, they’ve just been refurbished so there is now a decent baby change in the disabled loos
Cafe on-site, picnics are very welcome in the orchard. There is also Dizzy’s Tea Room near the house but for some reason I’ve never found how to get into it!
Hi, I’m Vicky. My husband and I live in Aylesbury with out three children; a 10 year old son, an 8 year old son and a 3 year old daughter. I (mostly) love spending time together as a family. We visit all kinds of places and we’re quite happy to drive a fair distance for a decent day out. A few years ago I decided to set up Free Time with the Kids as a way to share our experiences of these family days out. You know, the essential information you need to know before your visit that can be surprisingly hard to find out. Where do I park? How much will it cost me to get in? Are there any discounts available? Are there loos? Can I take a picnic or get food? My aim is to be your go-to guide for all your free and cheap family days out across Bucks, Beds, Oxon, Herts & slightly beyond. I really hope you find the reviews helpful. If there’s anywhere that you’d recommend please get in touch firstname.lastname@example.org or get in touch via Facebook