The Fundamental Guide to Buckinghamshire in 2012!

This is the essential directory to the must visit attractions in the remarkably stunning County of Buckinghamshire.

Exciting Activities

There are superb golf courses, exhilarating mountain biking tracks and, a range of stables offer a variety of riding styles for children and adults to learn. Addington Manor Equestrian Centre is one of the country’s best venues, catering for all levels of competitors and a Training Venue for the Olympics and Paralympics in London 2012.

If you’re feeling fearless and would love to experience something exhilarating Go Ape! in Black Park Country Park or Wendover Woods. You could also experience the Xscape Entertainment Complex in Milton Keynes. Those who have a need for speed can enjoy watching one of the numerous events or even jump behind the wheel themselves at Silverstone track, at the north of the county.

Shooting devotees will be in their element at the award-winning E. J. Shooting Ground set in the stunning West Wycombe Estate.

If you would rather be an onlooker, then don’t miss the opportunity to attend a good quality football or rugby match at Adams Park in High Wycombe. Recognised as one of the most spectacular sports grounds in Britain and regularly attracting thousands of followers to the area, this stadium is home to the League Two Wycombe Wanderers Football Club, and London Wasps Rugby Football Club, who in recent seasons have enjoyed great success in winning European and Premiership titles.

There is much more, if you would like to try paintballing in High Wycombe or scuba diving in the most landlocked dive venue in the UK, at Scubaducks. There are also ultramodern services at the Aqua Vale and Chesham’s Moor Gym and Swim Centre, in Aylesbury and the Swan Pool and Leisure Centre in Buckingham. On August 28th 2012, the Paralympic Flame Festival will happen at the Stoke Mandeville Stadium, where the Paralympics initially took place and developed, therefore this may be another sporting venue worth visiting. The Longridge Activity Centre, near Marlow provides a range of thrilling water and land-based events intended for people of all ages and capabilities. Also, the Eton College Rowing Centre at Dorney Lake will host some rowing contests during the Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games of 2012.

Hidden Gems

Scattered across the landscape of Buckinghamshire, you will find the historical windmills of Brill, Lacey Green, Pitstone and Quainton. Quainton, which was constructed in the early 1830s, towers above the other windmills in the county, has recently been renovated to its previous grandeur and can again grind grain, like it used to do. There is so much to take in, if you are chanced to stop by at Ford End Farm in Ivinghoe, to see the watermill. It is the only existing watermill continuously using its initial mechanism, in the province.

Discover Buckinghamshire’s other distinctive charms including Bekonscot Model Village and Railway, which depicts rural England in the 1930s in miniature or the Hell-Fire Caves where you will discover its underground secrets.

If sophistication is what you’re looking for, spend an afternoon at nearby Woburn Abbey, the birthplace of afternoon tea.

For beer enthusiasts a tour of the Chiltern Brewery, the oldest independent brewery in Buckinghamshire, offers a fascinating insight into the brewing process of their award-winning range of fine English ales. A visit to the Farmers’ Bar at the historic National Trust owned King’s Head in Aylesbury provides the perfect opportunity to sample some of the Brewery’s finest.

The Cowper and Newton Museum in Olney now occupies the house where 18th Century poet William Cowper lived and worked and discover how Reverend John Newton’s career went from slave trader to preacher and how he came to write ‘Amazing Grace’.

Gardens

There is an abundance of charming and internationally acclaimed gardens. No visit to the Gardens of Buckinghamshire would be complete without a visit to the world-famous Stowe Landscape Gardens. Enjoy the charming and internationally acclaimed gardens at Chenies Manor, or visit the stunning gardens of the former home of Enid Blyton at the Old Thatch. You could also visit the luxurious gardens at Waddesdon Manor.

If you’re looking for special finds, discover the secret Lyde Gardens in Bledow, the Cowper and Newton Museum Gardens in Olney or the sunken garden at Ascott House in Wing or the historic Boarstall Duck Decoy and Nature Reserve is definitely worth a visit.

Over the summer months, more than a 100 of Buckinghamshire’s glorious private gardens are open to the public as part of the National Garden Scheme.

Screen Trails

Many movies and TV programmes where shoot on location in Buckinghamshire. Bond-007, Bridget Jones, Inspector Morse, DCI Tom Barnaby and even Harry Potter have all been set here. The stunning pastoral countryside, delightful picturesque villages, spectacular stately homes and Pinewood Studios nearby, make Buckinghamshire one of the best filming settings in the country.

‘Midsomer Murders’ is one of Buckinghamshire’s greatest successes. With series 14 being filmed in the county, the Midsomer Murders Trail explores key locations across the county, featuring attractions and excellent pubs on route, perfect for a great day out.

The Lark Rise to Candleford trilogy of stories, adapted by the BBC, only a few years ago, was written by Flora Thompson, who lived for some of her life in Buckinghamshire. Enthusiasts must visit the ‘Home of Flora’ exhibition at Buckingham’s Old Gaol Museum, the only permanent audio-visual exhibition of the life and works of Flora Thompson in the world. Explore ‘Flora Country,’ in the north-east of the county on which Candleford was based upon.

A Peak into The Past

Unearth 2,000 years of Buckinghamshire’s history in a stunning estate, when visiting Chiltern Open Air Museum.

The enthralling museums tell captivating tales of the bygone times. Find out about the area’s furniture-making tradition proudly on display at the Wycombe Museum, whilst a visit to the Buckinghamshire County Museum will reveal Buckinghamshire’s deep culture. Amersham Museum situated in a beautiful Tudor hall has well exhibited collections connecting the history of the township to its residents.

Why not discover the county’s military past at Buckingham’s Old Gaol and the Boarstall Tower or explore the World War II historic location of Bletchley Park where you can uncover the challenges of tactical deception, unscrambling codes, hear about tales of evacuee endurance, and see one of the legendary Enigma Machines.

Spend a day visiting one of many National Trust Properties, which includes stately homes like Cliveden, Claydon and Hughenden or the modest historic architecture of Long Crendon Courthouse. A visit to the magnificent mansion of the Rothschild dynasty, in Waddesdon, is a must.

For those nostalgic for the magnificent era of steam locomotion, an excursion to the fascinating Chinnor and Princes Risborough Railway should be in your itinerary. A trip to the Buckingham Railway Centre, in Quainton, where you can learn about the captivating exhibition of functioning machines is something else that’s worth exploring.

Famous Inhabitants

Amy Johnson (1903-1941) – Pilot
Amy Johnson previously stayed in Princes Risborough. She was the first woman to fly unaccompanied to Australia making her a record defying aviator. She also worked for the Air Transport Auxiliary through WWII. A dedicatory plaque was placed on the wall of her timber-framed house, which is known as Monks Staithe.
Visit Me: Princes Risborough

Benjamin Disraeli (1804-1881) – Politician
One of the most colourful characters of the 19th century and Queen Victoria’s favourite Prime Minister, Disraeli made Hughenden Manor his retreat from London. Disraeli was awarded the title of the Earl of Beaconsfield by Queen Victoria in 1876. Hughendedn Manor is furnished with his personal belongings and memorabilia.
Visit Me: Hughenden Manor

 

Enid Blyton (1897-1968) – Novelist
One of the UK’s most successful children’s writers of the past century lived in Bourne End from 1929 with her husband, Hugh Pollock. Bourne End inspired some of the names and locations in a number of her books. She also lived in Beaconsfield with her young family and this is where she wrote some of her most well-known books, which includes the Famous Five and Secret Seven series. Bekonscot Model Village is said to be her stimulus for Noddy’s Toy Town.
Visit Me: Bekonscot Model Village, Old Thatch, Bourne End, The Red Lion – Knotty Green

Flora Thompson (1876 – 1947) – Novelist
Flora Thompson is renowned for her literary talents and the significant impact she made to social history. Her commended trilogy ‘Lark Rise to Candleford’ tells of the countryside society where she was raised, in the late nineteenth century. The 60th anniversary of Flora’s death was celebrated by the opening of the Flora Thompson Exhibition Room in the Old Gaol Museum, Buckingham.
Visit Me: Old Gaol Museum – Buckingham

Florence Nightingale (1820-1910) – Medical Practitioner and Pioneer
Known as the ‘Lady of the Lamp’, she was renowned for her nursing in the Crimean War in 1854, but Florence Nightingale was also a forerunner in battling for developing levels of rural nursing practice. She often stayed at Claydon House in Middle Claydon and wrote over 200 books, leaflets and articles about how to develop rural medicine. Florence Nightingale’s legacy is the origins of the modern nursing profession.
Visit Me:
Claydon House

Francis Dashwood (1708-1781) – Aristocrat and Politician
Sir Francis Dashwood was the peculiar and provocative member of the gentry who created the disreputable and debaucherous ‘Hell Fire Club’. He resided at his family estate in West Wycombe, which he renovated often in his lifetime. He initiated a pretend monastic fraternity known as the ‘Order of the Friars of St Fancis of Wycombe’ whose associates included some of the most significant figures of the day. They often had clandestine gatherings, at Medmenham Abbey near Marlow and indulged in Sir Francis’ fondness for wearing costumes, simulated ritualistic practices, alcohol and women. Sir Fancis was made Chancellor of the Exchequer in 1662 and his legacy includes West Wycombe Park and the beautiful Church of St Lawrence. Visit Me: Hell Fire Caves, Medmenham Abbey plus West Wycombe House and Park

John Mills (1908-2005) – Actor
Sir John Mills, the well-respected and adored actor, resided in Denham. He featured in over 100 movies and won an Oscar for Best Actor in a Supporting Role, for his portrayal of a mute called Michael, in the film, ‘Ryan’s Daughter’. He knighted in 1976 and was awarded a distinct honour, by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts BAFTA in 2002.
Visit Me: Denham

John Milton (1608-1674) – Novelist
The poet and writer of the memorable ‘Paradise Lost’, moved to Chalfont St Giles in 1665 to escape the plague in London. He completed ‘Paradise Lost’ and started ‘Paradise Regained’ whilst living here. In his retirement he devoted himself to more poetic work, in spite of the onset of blindness. There is now a museum at his cottage which contains many exhibits of his work, life and times.
Visit Me: Chalfont St Giles and Milton’s Cottage

Mary Shelley (1797-1851) and Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822) – Novelists and Poet
The celebrated novelist and romantic poet lived in a house on West Street in Marlow. The Shelleys were a central part of the radical, liberal-minded young scholarly set which included the notorious Lord Byron, and they spent much of their time in Switzerland and Italy. Mary was stimulated to write Frankenstein, one summer in Switzerland, when the clique dared themselves to a ghost story writing contest. The Shelleys moved to Marlow after their wedding and Mary completed Frankenstein whilst living.
Visit Me: Marlow

Oliver Cromwell (1599-1658 – Military and Political Leader
The future Lord Protector of England took shelter in Buckinghamshire with his family during the Civil War at Woodrow High House near Amersham. Tunnels are reputed to have been built at the house to aid the family’s escape should the house be raided by Royalists.
Visit Me: Woodrow High House

Roald Dahl (1916-1990) – Novelist
Born in Wales to Norwegian parents in 1916, Roald Dahl’s unhappy time in boarding school and the many experience there, inspired him to write some of his best-loved children’s stories. He was first discovered as a writer when he was in the RAF and his written record of his experience of WWII was read by many. The bedtime tales he told his children soon became children’s classics, such as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, James and the Giant Peach, Matilda and The Witches. In 1954, Dahl and his family moved to Gypsy House in Great Missenden. It was here that he often did his writing in a shed in the garden. Roald Dahl lived in Great Missenden until his death in 1990.
Visit Me: Great Missenden, The Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre plus Roald Dahl Children’s Gallery

Rothschilds – Bankers and Entrepreneurs
Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild, a member of the hugely wealthy Austrian Rothschild banking family, acquired the Waddesdon Estate in 1874 and built the magnificent Waddesdon Manor in the style of a French Chateau. Ferdinand held the office of High Sheriff of Buckinghamshire and in 1885 was elected as Liberal MP for Aylesbury. Waddesdon became a treasure-house for his collections of art, tapestries and furniture. When Baron Ferdinand died in 1898 the house, its grounds and its treasures passed down through the Rothschild Family until it was bequeathed to the National trust upon the death of James A. de Rothschild in 1957.
Visit Me: Waddesdon Manor

Steve Redgrave (1962…) – Athlete and Olympian
World famous Olympian Sir Steve Redgrave hails from Marlow. The rower, who holds 5 gold medals from 5 successive Olympic Games, attended Great Marlow School, where he first started rowing. He then joined the famous Leander Rowing Club at Henley. As well as his 5 Olympic Golds (the first in Los Angeles in 1984, the last in Sydney in 2000), Redgrave is also 9 times World Champion and triple Commonwealth Champion. There is a statue of Sir Steve in Marlow’s Higginson Park to commemorate him becoming Britain’s Greatest Olympian after the Sydney 2000 games.
Visit Me: Marlow

T. S. Eliot (1888-1965) – Playwright, Poet and Publisher
He was born Thomas Stearns Eliot in Missouri, USA and became a British citizen at 39, in 1927. He won the Nobel Prize for Literature and was also awarded the Order of Merit, in 1948.  A few of his memorable works include Ash Wednesday in 1930, The Hollow Men in 1925 and The Waste Land in 1922. He lived and taught Latin and French in a Grammar School in High Wycombe, amongst other places.
Visit Me:
Marlow

William Penn (1644-1718) – Philosopher and Real Estate Entrepreneur
William Penn was a Quaker who went to America to escape persecution and founded the state of Pennsylvania. He worshipped and is buried at Jordan’s Friends Meeting House in Chalfont St Giles.
Visit Me: Jordans Meeting House – Chalfont St Giles

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