Wanting to cheer ouyrselves up on a cold overcast 'summers' day in June we went through our National Trust book and saw Hughenden Manor the house of Benjamin Disraeli the Victorian Prime Minister. Easy to get to and well sign posted from High Wycombe we started with lunch in the 'stable' cafe, two sandwiches a bottle of local ale and a latte coffee £12.50. Really fresh food was being produced with hot meals at £7.50 I saw later that the rear door of the kitchen led straight out onto the kitchen garden, no wonder the salads were fresh! Like Sir Bernard Shaw, Disraeli wanted a country retreat to get away from the great Metropolis and moved to Hughenden Manor when he was 44 in1848. He and his wife Mary Anne loved this quiet part of the Chilterns away from the rigours of Parliamentary life in London. They took their role as Squire and Lady very seriously. Mary Anne redisigned the garden as well as being responsible for internal decor of the house.There are breathtaking views of the Chiltern countryside around the house. Dogs are allowed in the grounds and if you feel energetic walk 2 miles to the Disraeli Monument or perhaps a walk through the German Forest is more to your liking. The manor itself is only open to assistance dogs. Wheelchair access is o.k. on the ground floor with photos available of the first floor. The Manor is interesting viewing the 4000 book library and Disraeli black silk gown he wore when Chancellor of the Exchequor. It reminded me more of Elizabethan times rather than Victorian. It was interesting to see the dining chair where Queen Victoria sat at a table set for dinner. I will let you guess which chair it was. Now we come to the surprise the codename for this manor was 'Hillside' during World War 2. This hillside hideaway was requisitioned by The Air Ministry and housed a vital top secret mapping unit that put Hughenden at the top of Hitler's hit list. There is a unique exhibition housed in the cellar of the Manor, well worth a visit. We then explored the walled garden. We finished our tour of this intriguing house with tea for two and homemade cakes £5.60. The toilets are on ther ground floor near the cafe and shop which as usual sells expensive but good quality items. I bought a fig plant! I saw that they are still woking on this house and another floor will be accessable in the future. There is plenty to engage children in with I-spy, dressing up,childrens trail and many more activities. There are also talks about 'Hillside', very interesting. The friendly staff as usual are very knowledgable and helpful. As we drove away we stopped at the entance to the park at St. Michael and All Angels church and visited the Disraeli family burial place. We will definately return in the future.
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