A government mansion house in rural Buckinghamshire that’s also right next to part of the City of London is having a number of open days in July.

Dorneywood is an 18th-century house that was extensively rebuilt in 1919 and given by its owner to the nation to be used as a grace-and-favour home that’s offered to a senior member of the government, currently the Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak.

(c) The Dorneywood Trust

Dorneywood also gained a certain fame when John Prescott was playing croquet on the lawn, which for some reason seemed to be a scandal. If they can’t find a government minister who wants to live there, then it cascades to the Lord Mayor of London or the American Ambassador.

The decision to offer it to the Lord Mayor of London makes a certain amount of sense when you learn that it’s right next to Burnham Beeches, a huge woodland in Buckinghamshire that’s owned and managed by the City of London. That’s why around the back of the house you can find the City of London’s crest on signs in Buckinghamshire.

Although the grounds are open fairly regularly, the house itself is closed, save for two weeks in July when they offer regular 30-minute tours of the building.

This year, the tours take place in the afternoons from Sunday 4th July to Saturday 17th July and cost £10 per person, or are free to members of the National Trust.

Following a house visit, visitors are welcome to stroll around the six-acre garden and purchase teas from the tea stall. Card payments are preferred. There is no shop but visitor toilets are available.

Tickets need to be booked in advance from here.

Getting to Dorneywood

If driving, then there is parking in the fields next to the house.

If using public transport, then the nearest railway station is Burnham station, and from there, it’s about a 50-minute walk to Dorneywood House. There is also a local taxi service from the railway station.

Alternatively, either for getting there, or heading back, on the opposite side of Burnham Beeches is the town of Farnham Common, and it has a half-hourly bus (route X74) to/from Slough – then it’s maybe a 40-minute walk through Burnham Beeches to the house, so you could have a morning in Burnham Beeches, then head to the House.


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  1. Lisa Hirsch says:

    I believe the the building in your photo is Dorney Court (https://dorneycourt.co.uk) rather than Dorneywood (https://www.dorneywood.org/book-online)….

  2. Claire Milne says:

    I also wondered about that picture, but having visited Dorneywood yesterday, I now know it is of the picturesque “cottages” (which you can walk around outside but not enter) in the Dorneywood garden.

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