I’ve said it many times, the National Trust really does know how to do Christmas well, and Hughenden Manor is no exception. If you’ve never been to the manor before you can read my full review here. It’s the former home of Benjamin Disraeli and it’s actually surprisingly small. It’s located just outside of High Wycombe, Bucks. Currently there are two areas of the house that are normally open to the public that are closed. One is the basement and the other is the very top floor. These will reopen in the new year. PS – if you want to see what they did last year you can find my review of that here.
This year’s Christmas theme at Hughenden Manor
This year they’re reflecting on the war time history of the manor, when it was used by the RAF as part of Operation Hillside. Bearing this in mind the theme at Hughenden Manor is a 1940’s Christmas. It’s all about hand made decorations and it’s quietly beautiful. Most of the decorations were actually made by National Trust staff and use recycled or re-purposed materials. If you’ve seen the decorations at Waddesdon Manor this year (reviewed here) they couldn’t be further from those on display here!!!!
There are eight trees in the house, over the two floors. There’s a little wooden object hidden on each tree for the kids to find. If they spot all of them then they get a sticker. This is the only trail inside the house, it’s free but there’s no tick sheet. The objects are nice and easy to spot
In one of the rooms upstairs there’s a letter tree. There’s blank postcards for you to write a letter on (either to loved ones, staff or other visitors) which you can then tie to a tree. Or, if you’re Smallest Child you can draw a picture of “Mummy, Nanna and my coat” and then carry it around for the rest of the day! It’s actually a really lovely idea. Make sure that you have a look at the ones that have already been put on the tree. Some are really sweet.
What else is there to do?
On the first floor, behind the bedroom there is a little dressing up room. There are loads of different costumes in there of various sizes. There are even some adult costumes available.
Some of them have seen much better days but it’s good fun to dress up, and the kids love it. They’ve also got various traditional toys such as a hobby horse and those cup-and-ball-flippy-in-things. We spent a fair old time in here today!!
There aren’t really any decorations outside, except for an arch made of bicycles. There will be a trail in the gardens (£3 each). This wasn’t set up when we visited so I cannot tell you anything about it. You can also book tickets for Santa’s Grotto Saturday/Sundays in December. Oh, and if you’re wondering what the bikes are all about, everyone used to cycle to work at Operation Hillside. If you were RAF you were given a bike, if you were a civilian you had to buy your own!
Once we’d finished looking around the house and gardens we took a wander through the woodlands. Read more about what there is to do in the rest of the grounds on the main review post.
All the decorations at Hughenden Manor
Spoiler alert. This video has all the tress in the house in it. If you don’t want to see all of the trees then don’t watch this video! If you do want to see what they’re doing for 2019 then do watch. Simples.
Our review of Hughenden Manor at Christmas
4/5 – It’s much quieter and more understated than those at Waddesdon Manor. You don’t feel rushed through from room to room and there’s plenty of time to have a look around the other things in the room. Realistically you won’t be in the house for longer than an hour, and that’s probably being quite generous, but I really liked it. If nothing else I felt relaxed about letting Smallest Child walk around looking at the Christmas trees at Hughenden Manor. I would never have let her do that at Waddesdon!! It does also mean that it’s less dramatic and spectacular. It also isn’t full of sparkle and glitz so it if you like it or not might depend on what you are looking for out of Christmas displays.
FREE for NT members. A family ticket will cost non-members £32.50. There is no additional charge for the house, but there may be a small charge for some events.
How to get there / Parking
Address – Hughenden Manor, High Wycombe HP14 4LA
Parking – there is a free on-site car park. It’s a bit of a walk from the house (slightly downhill) but there is a buggy if required.
There are decent toilets and a baby change at the stables
There’s a cafe on-site. It does get very busy though. There are benches in the orchard for picnics but bring something to sit on as they get a bit soggy.