Mummy Diaries | Bank Holiday Monday at Hughenden

View of Hughenden manor house

Another Bank Holiday, another new place to explore! Ever since Alfie was a baby, we’ve had National Trust passes and obviously, haven’t been able to use them as much as we’d like. After some browsing on their website – mainly looking at properties and places in Bucks – I made the executive decision to visit Hughenden… I know, I made a decision!

The country home of the former prime minister, Benjamin Disraeli is not too far from High Wycombe, and as well as a lovely manor house, there’s beautiful formal gardens and plenty of parkland and surrounding woods. If you like a woodland walk, you’ll be in luck – with multiple trails. You could easily make a day of it!

While it was no longer Easter, the nature trail was still available – the website running until April 24th, but I imagine, it’s while stocks last. £3 per child, with a chocolate egg as a prize (no longer Cadbury though) – Alfie was in his element. There were 10 numbered signs to find, and at each one, a question, task or activity. We grabbed a hot drink at the café and went on our way, pencil and activity sheet in hand!

The grounds are truly stunning, with everything either currently growing or in bloom. The walled garden in particular was so peaceful, and I could have spent longer there, just looking around and taking it all in. There’s plenty of fruit, vegetables and herbs being grown at various points. The picnic benches are next to the wooden play area and set within the most beautiful apple orchard. I couldn’t help but photograph the blossom – so pretty. And while we did pack a picnic (including the rolls Alfie made from his Little Hands Learning box), we found somewhere else to sit – an extensive lawn, overlooking the Chilterns.

Beautiful apple blossom on a branch

I also loved the parterre, full of spring flowers and a gorgeous stone centrepiece, bright in floral colour, from which you could see the house in the background. Perfectly manicured lawns, and an ideal photo opportunity – I couldn’t help but take loads. On the lawn, you could just sit and watch the world go by, or simply take it all in. There were plenty of deckchairs to relax in. And it was also around here that the beekeeper did a talk. I’m not sure how long or often they run for, but there were two talks that day – around 11:30am and 2:30pm, I believe. I really wanted to listen, but Alfie had other ideas. It would have been great to see the bees too!

Once we had completed the trail, it was time to visit the shop and have an ice cream. The shop had so many lovely items – I could have definitely spent more than I did… think lots of home fragrance, beautiful accessories like jewellery and scarves, and plenty of food & drink items. I ended up buying a jar of local honey (rare – only 250 jars had been produced), a bottle of beer for Ash and a gingerbread tractor biscuit for Alfie. The ladies in the shop were so friendly and helpful, and once the lady behind the till knew Alfie’s name, she was showing him pictures and videos of her dog (also an Alfie) … it certainly kept him entertained and well behaved while I was browsing.

Back of a boy going through a stick tunnel

And then we did one of the woodland walks. There are four routes to choose from, or you can combine multiple ones to create your own. Ranging from one mile to four (or 1.5 to 6km), we did the blue route, which was one of the shorter ones, and went from point A to B on the map – we basically went full circle, rather than back and forth.

We had a scavenger hunt checklist printable to keep Alfie entertained, as well as packed his Little Hands Learning cards – although we didn’t see any wildlife… other than hearing birds in the trees! I was pleased to see bluebells, but not quite the amazing backdrop I had hoped for! There weren’t many people walking, so it was peaceful, and we let Alfie explore – there was even a stick den! I was grateful for the fresh air and the chance to be at one with nature.

I’d definitely return and perhaps actually go inside the house or go on a longer walk! Next on our list is Boarstall, which is near Bicester. I’ve noticed online that the Duck Decoy is only open on Sundays, while the Tower still isn’t open after covid. There’s no indication when it will re-open. We’ll also have to check out the map to see which other local finds we can visit.

Love, Lucy xx

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Love, Lucy xx

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