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 andn please share your experiences with us @VisitChilterns

@visitChilterns on Twitter

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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!

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 nearby town of Aylesbury offers a good selection of Christmas and Farmers markets over the festive season. The Vintage and Craft Bazaars takes place every Tuesday 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. 

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.

Tring & Ashridge Forest
Tring & Ashridge Forest

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.

Henley & Marlow area
Henley & Marlow area

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.

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

December and January
Christmas activities at the National Trust

Waddesdon Manor will be featuring spectacular Christmas decorations and a new trail of light works in the gardens.  The Christmas Fair will be held on the South Front of the Manor 26th to 30th November and 3rd to 7th December, and will be a spectacular event combining both gifts and festive foods. 

Cliveden Gardens near Maidenhead will be offering Christmas activity trails around the gardens every December weekend before Christmas, and there are Christmas workshops and lunches on offer.

The Ashridge Estate near Tring offers Christmas activities galore. There is a Christmas Trail 15th Nov to 31st Dec, a Christmas Fair on 7th December, a chance to meet Father Christmas and craft activities.  

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.

December 1 - January 1
Hughenden Manor will be decked out in all of its holiday finery starting on December. 1st and running for one month. Please join us during this festive season and enjoy choral and musical performances most days in the manor. On the weekends there will be children's activities and we will be serving roasted chestnuts, marshmallows and mulled apple juice and cider for the grown-ups.

Make this Chilterns Christmas even more special with a some goodies from the Ten Mile Menu company that stocks locally-sourced tasty treats including; free range bronze Copas turkey’s and chickens, a festive organic vegetable box or Kirsty’s Kitchen hand-makes free range, soft centred scotch eggs & sausage rolls. 

Christmas Wine Tasting Parties @ No2 Pound Street
Are you looking for a Chilterns Christmas event that is a little bit different to entertain work colleagues or friends this Christmas?  Why not book a fun wine tasting from only £25pp including delicious No2 deli platters to accompany your wines.  Upgrade to include sparkling and smoked salmon on arrival for £40pp.  Please call 01296 585022 to book, but hurry dates are filling up fast!
18 and 18th January 2015

The traditional art of hedge-laying was once common across the English countryside and many Chilterns hedges still show evidence of previous laying. Originally hedges were laid to create an impenetrable barrier to keep stock in fields and the skill of laying a hedge was once common practice. However, with modern fencing and mechanical hedge trimming, this traditional form of hedge management is now a much rarer skill.

There are many styles of hedge-laying throughout the UK and on this course, you will be taught the South of England style. Nigel Adams, a local expert hedge layer with over 30 years experience, will be leading this two-day course on January 17th and 18th and you will learn to; clear/prepare the hedge, cut and lay the pleachers, fix the stakes and binders, correctly use and maintain hedge laying tools and understand the benefits of hedge laying for wildlife and landowners. See the link above for further information and how to book. 

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