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. Short breaks call for a short journey, so visitors from London and Oxford will find the Chilterns hard to beat. Quick to reach by train or by car, and easy to explore with boots, buggies, bikes or boats, no time is wasted in discovering just why this is the last undiscovered Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in England.
Use the menu at the top of the page to discover your next Chilterns experience; history and heritage, cycling, walking breaks, food and drink, and places to stay.
Good taste comes naturally in the Chilterns, where so much local produce is enjoyed fresh from the farm to your plate, picnic hamper or glass. There's temptation over every hill, but not to worry, we have done some of the hard work for you by making it our business to try out as many local establishments as we can! From 25th March - 2nd April, you too can indulge and join in the new Celebration of Chilterns Food & Drink Festival, event details are here.
Below we have highlighted our favourite winter walks, that you can reach by train and then head out from an historic market town straight onto a Chilterns trail to enjoy a day of delightful exploration along quiet country lanes, over styles,, through medieval churchyards, not forgetting a lunch stop along the way. Each section links to a suggested circular walking route. Let us know how you get on by sharing your adventures on Twitter or Facebook using #Chilterns. Happy New Year!
From train to Chilterns trail, you can escape from London and be in the countryside in under an hour! Historic Amersham on the Metropolitan Line is a good place to start.
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. From train to trail, 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.
Town and Chilterns countryside merge in Wendover, where most walks begin right at the station, just a stone's throw from picturesque cottages in the High Street. The Chilterns reach their highest point at Wendover Woods and nearby Coombe Hill, offering far-reaching country views, including the Prime Ministers country retreat at Chequers. The pretty high street offers many diversions, including cosy pubs and coffee shops. If you fancy longer distances, the Ridgeway National Trail and the Chilterns Cycleway both pass through the town.
The National Trust Ashridge Estate is a vast area of woodlands, commons, viewpoints and rolling Chiltern hills. Within walking distance from Tring station, there are easy to navigate paths and cycle routes galore, including the Ashridge Drovers walk that passes by the Ashridge Estate visitor centre, with its excellent outdoor café. There are lots of other rural eateries, vineyards and breweries in the area too, and some rather good pubs to warm your feet by the fire. The market town of Tring boasts a high street full of independent shops.
Located at the very end of the Metropolitan tube line, Amersham is where train meets Chilterns trail. With its broad High Street of half-timbered houses, cottages and the handsome Market House, makes Old Amersham one of the most-photographed of Chiltern valley towns. Old Amersham lies in the valley of the River Misbourne with the spire of the beautiful 13th century church visible for miles around. Picturesque pubs rub shoulders with contemporary eating, and independent boutiques are a big draw. Thankfully you can walk it off along the scenic Misbourne Valley!
These guided walks are ideal for children, who become nature detectives; exploring the woods and using their senses to identify the trees and plants, looking at the shapes of leaves, feeling the bark (tree hugging optional) and smelling them too. They also hunt for animal trails and signs of who has been foraging in the woods! Led by David Willis, a bushcraft instructor who teaches outdoor living skills, campfire cooking and whittling. 1 Jan - 5 February. Free with online registration.
Marlow grew up as a river crossing and its greatest landmark is still the 19th century suspension bridge, which is a smaller scale version of the Széchenyi Chain Bridge, spanning the River Danube in Budapest, that was also designed by William Clark. Famous for its local eateries, diners travel from far and wide to enjoy the fine fare in Marlow and nearby Cookham and Bray, where famous chefs and Michelin Stars abound. The River Thames is right there so you can walk it all off.
Henley-on-Thames is the jewell in the Chilterns market town crown with a walkable historic centre, church, town hall and market square, all just a few strides away from the river frontage. This stylish town has an excellent mix of independent shops, cafes, pubs and restaurants, museums, boating and riverside walks, all within easy reach of London. The Hambleden Valley is 4.5 miles along the picturesque River Thames, so pack a picnic and head for the Chiltern Hills.