A Victorian home with a secret

A house with two tales, Hughenden has a rich history. Home to Queen Victoria’s favourite Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli, the Manor provided a backdrop for political drama, royal visits and an enduring love story. And it has an equally significant 20th century story to tell when it became the base for a secret map-making operation during the Second World War.

 

Visiting the house

Entrance is allocated at the house on showing a National Trust membership card or visit ticket receipt. Numbers are limited for safety and on a first come first served basis, so a visit ticket does not guarantee entry to the house on busy days. 

Queen Victoria's favourite Prime Minister

Disraeli purchased Hughenden in 1848, shortly after becoming leader of the Tories. Securing the manor was vital to the realisation of his political ambitions and his personal aspirations; it elevated him to the status of landed country gentleman.

Hughenden was cherished by Disraeli and his wife Mary Anne and it provided the perfect setting for political drama, royal visits and their enduring love story for over 30 years. Inside you will discover insights into the personal and political life of this most unlikely of prime ministers.

On the ground floor the rooms are re-created as Disraeli would have know them, with the dining room set for supper and the library full of his beloved books. On the first floor is his study, bedroom and Mary Anne’s boudoir, along with the black silk robe worn by Disraeli as Chancellor of the Exchequer (and that he notoriously refused to give up).

For 2022 a special display 'Treasured' will be on show, with unusual items from our collection and the stories of the conservation work that has gone into preserving them. On the top floor is a timeline of Disraeli's history and our special exhibition, The Royal Gifts of Hughenden based on Disraeli's close friendship with Queen Victoria.

Special exhibitions in 2022

Secret map-making base

Hughenden was also home to a secret map-making operation in the Second World War, so secret it only came to light 60 years later after a chance encounter one of our house volunteers had with a visitor. She overheard a man telling his grandson he’d been stationed here during the Second World War. This led to a decade-long unravelling of the story.

Codenamed ‘Hillside’, Hughenden played such a critical role supporting the pilots of nearby Bomber Command that it was on Hitler’s list of top targets.

The new display, supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, is on the ground floor in rooms used by the mapmakers. The map-making work helped turn around the war, and there's a recreated dark room in the ice house.

New display at Hughenden picturing the recreated Second World War mapmakers' desks

Hughenden's Second World War story

Hughenden was home to a secret map-making operation in the Second World War, so secret it only came to light 60 years later after a chance encounter. Codenamed ‘Hillside’, the manor played a significant role in shaping the outcome of the war.