Welcome to the Naturally Outstanding Chilterns

The Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is everything you would like it to be.

Choose the Chilterns for activity and exploration, peace and quiet, entertainment or indulgence: this lovely countryside on London’s doorstep has all you need for a really memorable break.

In 324 square miles of superb scenery, intriguing attractions, tucked-away villages and market towns, there’s always something more to be discovered.

Winter is the perfect time to see the rolling Chilterns’ fields glisten with crunchy frost and mist drifting through the trees. Christmas in the Chilterns evokes images of mulled wine and minced pies in a snug countryside pub after a hearty walk, exploring Bruce Munro’s Field of Light, shopping for special gifts at a Christmas market, Christmas panto and buying a tree from Christmas Common

This website is not a confusing listing of places to go and things to see. We have spent time exploring the area and attempt to share our favourites with you as we know what makes the Chilterns so special. That includes the odd ghost story or three! 

Among the places the locals love the most are Wendover Woods, Coombe Hill, Ivinghoe Beacon and West Wycombe, which we agree offer far-reaching views, walking trails, cycling, historic attractions and plenty of things to do for locals and visitors alike.

Enjoy your stay!

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Getting here

From central London train to Chilterns trail in just 40 minutes and 30 minutes from Oxford, the Naturally Outstanding Chilterns is one of the most accessible areas of countryside in the UK. The area has excellent rail and bus links, it is served by four main rail lines, the River Thames and the London Underground Metropolitan line, with frequent trains and a journey time of less than an hour from London.

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Places to Visit

Get Festive in the Chilterns!
Get Festive in the Chilterns!

The beech woodlands are turning golden, the log fires are burning and thoughts are beginning to turn to the Festive season. Winter is the perfect time to see the rolling Chilterns’ fields glisten with crunchy frost and mist drifting through the trees. Enjoy the winter festivities, from craft fairs and pantos to illuminated gardens and brewery tours.

Waddesdon and nearby Aylesbury
Waddesdon and nearby Aylesbury

Waddesdon Manor is a magnificent 1870s Renaissance-style chateau built by Baron de Rothschild.Enjoy the spectacular Christmas decorations and the new trail of light works in the gardens, including a special version of the iconic Field of Light.  The darker winter evenings showcase these light works to perfection.The Christmas Fair will be held on the South Front of the Manor this year from Wednesday 26th to Sunday 30th November and Wednesday 3rd to Sun 7th December, and will be a spectacular event combining both gifts and festive foods. 

The nearby town of Aylesbury offers a good selection of Christmas and Farmers markets over the festive season. Aylesbury Farmers Market Christmas special is on Tuesday 25 November, the Aylesbury town centre Christmas market takes place on Sunday 7 December, whilst the Vintage and Craft Bazaars takes place every Tuesday from now until Christmas. Christmas would not be complete without a visit to enjoy a pantomime and this year the Waterside Theatre in Aylesbury presents the magical pantomime Cinderella!

Amersham & Chesham
Amersham & Chesham

Find out how the Tudors celebrated Christmas, what decorations they made and how they feasted at the Amersham Museum, located in the oldest domestic building in Amersham, part of a Tudor hall house. 

Chesham Christmas lights will be switched on Friday 28th November from 6pm in the High Street. The event includes a Victorian carousel and funfair rides for children, music, market stalls, food stalls and late-night opening of the town centre shops. You will find Chesham market in Market Square, between 10am and 2pm on the 20th December with traders sell locally produced food, drink, crafts and plants, mostly from a 10-mile radius of Chesham.

Enjoy a traditional Christmas weekend in the lovely setting of the Chilterns Open Air Museum on 29th– 30th November. Watch Father Christmas arrive on his horse and carriage then meet him in the Toll House Grotto. Carol singers, traditional folk singers, Victorian Magic Lantern Show, watch the Blacksmith at work and lots of craft stalls and magical decorations. Kids can get stuck in and make their own Christmas decorations and Christmas biscuits.

Tring & Ashridge Forest
Tring & Ashridge Forest

On Friday 28th November, Tring Christmas Festival sees the High Street turn into a magical place for a winter's night. From 6.30 - 9.30pm tickets are free.

Enjoy a scenic post-Christmas walk through a lovely Chilterns forest at this magical time of year with a guided Christmas walk on the Ashridge Estate on Saturday 27th December at 10am, setting off from the National Trust Ashridge Visitor Centre.

Located in the pretty market town of Tring, Tring Brewery has made a name for itself offering Christmas seasonal beer and Mash Up tours on December 3rd and 4th. They’ll be brewing Santa's Little Helper, their annual Christmas Seasonal beer.  

Henley & Marlow area
Henley & Marlow area

With its beautiful riverside setting, Henley offers a magical festive setting. The Traditional Christmas Festival takes place on Friday 5 December 4-10pm – town centre streets are closed to traffic, fairground rides appear, shops stay open late and charity stalls offer mulled wine and seasonal goodies and the Christmas Tree lights are turned on.

For something completely different, the Henley Living Advent Calendar unfolds every evening at 6.15pm between 1-24 December. Each night a performance or show takes place at a different venue around the town, anything from a Rock Choir to Ukulele Players, jazz band, carols  or poetry readings.

The Kenton theatre will be featuring pantos and ballets, including Cinderella and ‘Ive Seen Santa’, a delightful family show. Hobbs of Henley will be running their ever popular Santa Cruises on the River Thames featuring Fred in the Shed along with the star attraction, Santa Claus himself. The River and Rowing Museum offers Christmas activities, ranging from Christmas decoration-making  to a festive event on 13th December,  with presents, songs and fun!

Set high above the Thames with far-reaching views, Clivedens impressive gardens and majestic woodlands capture the grandeur of a bygone age. Open between Christmas and New Year (closed Christmas Day), on every weekend before Christmas, a fun-packed seasonal activity trail will lead you around the gardens to find some early stocking-filler gifts (£5 plus usual admission). You can also enjoy a Christmas wreath-making workshop using fresh foliage from the Cliveden estate.

Events

27th to 31st October
Half-term and Haloween activities at the National Trust

Drop-in autumn arts and crafts at Greys Court near Henley-on-Thames, Tues 28th Oct to Sat 1st Nov 12 noon to 3pm

Nuffield Place near Henley-on-Thames: use natural objects from the gardens to make some really wild art.

Cliveden's Halloween Trail 25th Oct to 2nd Nov: get dresssed up in your scariest outfit and complete the tricky trail.

Hughenden Manor near High Wycombe: 25th Oct to 2nd Nov: pumpkin carving and a spooky childrens trail until 31st Oct then autumn crafts.

27th October to 2nd November
Haloween at the Hellfire Caves, West Wycombe

There’s no time like Halloween to see the Hell-Fire Caves at their spooky best . . . the Caves are transformed with a macabre selection of props, lighting and creepy music, not to mention a  number of ravaged souls who prowl the passageways. Dare to try to survive these terrifying tunnels! There are Family Fun events, Witches Workshops and Fright Nights to choose from.

Charlie weekends: throughout the year
As part of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’s 50th anniversary, the Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre will be running themed weekends to celebrate the children that met sticky ends in the book. Don’t miss the Mike Teavee weekend on 15 and 16 November. They will all feature exciting workshops (some incur an additional charge), trails, activities and surprises!
Full of the tastes of autumn; cream of celeriac veloute, Haddenham lamb and chocolate and chilli tart are new on the menu this autumn at the Russell Arms; serving home-cooked fare from local sources, quality British ales, excellent and unusual wines with attentive service in surroundings fit for a Prime Minister or three.
Christmas Day, 7 - 9am and 9 - 11am
Winter outdoor swimming

Take a Christmas morning swim in the heated outdoor pool at Chesham Moor Gym and Swim. This unusual activity has become a Christmas tradition in itself. Head to the pool for one of the two timed swimming sessions, 7am to 9am or 9am to 11am, take a dip in the pool then enjoy a bacon buttie and a hot cup of tea or coffee, all included with your ticket and served by the Santa hat­wearing staff! And don’t worry about the cold, the pool will be heated to a toasty 82/83oF.

Tickets cost £8 for adults, £5 for juniors. Please book in advance at the Chesham Moor Gym and Swim’s, or by calling 01494 776 975.

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