Five spectacular politicians' homes

  • 16 April 2015

In the run up to the General Election, why not visit the homes of some of Britain’s greatest political minds...

 1. Hughenden Manor, Buckinghamshire
Free entry with National Art Pass

Benjamin Disraeli twice served as Prime Minister and helped define the modern Conservative Party as we see it today. Disraeli lived at Hughenden from 1848 until his death in 1881; becoming his home throughout his political career and the retreat he needed to complete his final novel Endymion in 1880. Discover Disraeli’s colourful character and learn about his rise from backbench obscurity to famed political leader through fascinating personal memorabilia. 

2. Sherborne Castle, Dorset
Reduced price with National Art Pass

One of the most notable characters in the Elizabethan era, Sir Walter Raleigh forged an important role in Elizabeth I’s court; exploring and naming ‘Virginia’ after his ‘Virgin Queen’, leading several expeditions to El Dorado, and becoming a member of parliament for several counties, governor of Jersey and even a spy for the Spanish. Raleigh built Sherborne Castle in 1597 and you can still see his original kitchen.

3. Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire
Standard entry charge

Built to celebrate victory over the French in the War of the Spanish Succession, it was a fitting birthplace for one of our greatest Prime Ministers, Sir Winston Churchill. This year, the World Heritage Site will pay homage to the war leader by hosting a refreshed Churchill exhibition and a series of events as it is the 50th anniversary of his death, the 75th anniversary of his first becoming Prime Minister, and the 75th anniversary of his ‘Finest Hour’ at the Battle of Britain. 

Sir Thomas Lawrence, Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, 1815-16 © Wellington Collection, Apsley House, London (English Heritage)

Sir Thomas Lawrence, Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, 1815-16

4. Apsley House, London
Free entry with National Art Pass

The Duke of Wellington bought Apsley House after his victory over Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo; 2015 is the bicentenary of that infamous victory and the house will present a refreshed interpretation as well as special events. However, Wellington was far from just a military hero and in 1829 he became Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, he also carried out stints as Leader of the House of Commons and Foreign Secretary. Apsley House pays homage to both his political and military career with paintings and memorabilia exploring Iron Duke’s fascinating life. Wellington: Triumphs, Politics and Passions is on at the National Portrait Gallery until 7 June, free to all.

5. Inveraray Castle and Gardens, Argyll
Reduced price with National Art Pass

Home to the Dukes of Argyll and the seat of the Chief of Clan Campbell, one of Scotland’s most powerful and influential clans, Inveraray Castle is steeped in military and political history. The Argyll family have played a major role in Scottish history from the 16th century; the clan helped the British-Hanoverian government defeat the Jacobites in 1715, while the 8th Duke was a successful politician and cabinet minister.

Buy a National Art Pass to get free or reduced-price entry to hundreds of museums, galleries and historic houses across the UK.

Tags: What to seeGreat days out