Before anyone gets excited I should perhaps clarify the title of this blog post. No, we haven’t been invited to spend Christmas Day at Hughenden Manor, but we visited last weekend to meet Father Christmas and enjoy their winter activities.
Hughenden Manor is our favourite National Trust property and we try to visit at least once during the seasons. You might think a visit in winter would be a little dull but we love it as the staff and volunteers make sure they pull all the stops out. Having visited Father Christmas there a few years ago, we knew we wanted to visit again, and were pleased to see there were lots of others things to do on our visit.
Christmas at Hughenden Manor
On the day of our visit we had already been to see the Tutankhamun exhibition at the Saatchi Gallery. We had booked to see Father Christmas so had to get our skates on to get across London and out to High Wycombe. Thankfully we made it with time to spare, showed our membership tickets and signed up for the outdoor animal trail, before we headed off to meet Father Christmas.
This year Father Christmas was waiting at a train station to meet us! Before we went in we were able to wait in the old kitchens where the children could craft. They made paper chains and candy canes which they really enjoyed. Then it was time to go through to the station where we found Father Christmas waiting for us. He was pretty friendly but had an American accent which confused the children a little! He asked them what they had put on their Christmas lists and gave them each a small gift.
After our slot we headed outside where we found some of the rangers were selling objects carved from wood from the estate. These included Christmas tree ornaments and small reindeer and both the children decided to spend their pocket money. We were also able to toast marshmallows which was fun.
I was looking forward to visiting the house as each year the decorations have a theme, this year was vintage 1940s. All the rooms were decorated and the children loved the wooden ornaments trail, as hidden amongst the Christmas trees were little wooden decorations hand carved by one of the volunteers. Each one represented a different aspect of the Hillside story, when the house was requisitioned during the Second World War.
We were also able to visit the ‘Hillside’ rooms which had recently been opened, which told the story of Hughenden during the Second World War.
We finished off our visit with a walk around the grounds where we followed the trail of Sergeant Hadfield’s little Scottie dog to find her woodland friends and their winter homes. The children had little booklets to fill in as they found them and were able to claim a small prize when they had finished.
We had a lovely afternoon at Hughenden, including a trip to the cafe and a walk around the Walled Garden (which is my favourite part). It was a very festive afternoon.
A 1940s Vintage Christmas runs from Sat 30th Nov until Sun 5th Jan 2020. Grounds open 10-4pm, House 11-3pm.