Roald Dahl lived in Great Missenden for 36 years, weaving features of the village into many of his stories. This year, the author's life and work are being celebrated with a number of events hosted by the Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre, see information below.
The Roald Dahl Village Trail is a good way to look around, to visit Dahl's grave and to identify the models for such memorable places as Sophie’s 'norphanage' in The BFG or the library visited by Matilda while her mum went off to Aylesbury to play bingo. Choices for refreshment in the High Street range from Café Twit to the 16th century Cross Keys.
What to see in Great Missenden
The Cycle Chilterns Bike Hub is just half an hour by train from London and has great cycling of all kinds on the doorstep; National Cycle Network route 57 goes through the centre of the village close to the Roald Dahl museum and the Chilterns Cycleway is a few miles away.
Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre – established here in Roald Dahl's home village, the centre inspires young visitors (aged 6-12) with hands-on story-telling activities and the story of Dahl's own life and work. As well as the interactive Story Centre, there are two fun-filled, fact-packed galleries, plus a new gallery which includes Roald Dahl's original Writing Hut. There are more rooms for craft activities and story telling sessions – and Café Twit.
Please note that as of June 2018, due to onsite flooding, the museum is closed until further notice. The shop, cafe are open and local trials to explore where the author walked and got much of his inspiration are still available. Please check the website for further details.
Into the countryside
Country walks begin right at the railway station. This link leads to details of two walks of 4½ miles and 3 miles, plus 3 circular walks along the Misbourne Valley, taking in Great Missenden, Little Missenden, Amersham and Chalfont St Giles. These walks follow the Misbourne Stream and then link back through Chilterns woodlands and farmland. You can download an extra sheet giving information on the history, geology and archaeology of the routes.
For cyclists, the Hampden Route of the Chiltern Heritage Trail provides a signposted circular ride, mainly on quiet roads, through several lovely villages. A shorter family route is also signposted. Great Hampden was the home of Oliver Cromwell's cousin John Hampden, the leading parliamentarian who was killed in the Civil War at the Battle of Chalgrove. He was buried in an unmarked spot inside the church at Great Hampden, which has a peaceful, rural setting beside Hampden House – no longer open to the public. The Hampden Arms makes a very pleasant break on this route.
Amersham – 7 miles from Great Missenden.
Little Missenden (2.8 miles) and The Lee (3.4 miles) – the Buckinghamshire production company, Bentley Productions, set the very first episode of Midsomer Murders in Little Missenden and The Lee. The typical Chilterns charm of these two small villages established the 'Old England' look that is the hallmark of this ever-popular series. Grouped around its village green, much of The Lee was 'modelled' by the Stewart-Liberty family. The gateway of their former home at 'Pipers' displays the figurehead from the navy's last wooden warship, HMS Impregnable. The ship's timbers were used in extending the famous family store Liberty's of London. Pubs where Barnaby and Troy loved to stop for a pint include the 17th century Red Lion at Little Missenden and the idyllic Cock & Rabbit and Graziemille Restaurant at The Lee, re-sited and reconstructed by Arthur Liberty in 1907. Come to Little Missenden in October to enjoy the Little Missenden Festival of high quality music in the intimate setting of the small Saxon-cum-Norman village church.
Hughenden Manor – 5 miles from Great Missenden. The country home of Victorian Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli offers a vivid and entertaining insight into his colourful personal and political life. The formal garden has been recreated based on the original designs of Mary Anne, Disraeli's doting wife. There's added interest in the Second World War room in the cellars and there are plenty of hands-on activities for children. The 4-mile Hughenden Boundary Walk explores the beech woods and pastures of the surrounding estate, visiting the Disraeli monument and the church where 'Dizzy' is buried.