Cultural Must-Visit Attractions

Are you planning a trip to the Chilterns?

Although you might just be visiting to take a look at the countryside, it’s worth checking out some of the cultural places that you could see whilst you’re here.

We’ve got everything here from classy art galleries to museums on celebrated British authors. Why not break up your day of activities with something a little different and see what cultural wonders the Chilterns has to offer?

Modern Artists Gallery

It doesn’t take a genius to figure out what happens in this gallery in Reading. Whilst the city of Reading is technically just outside of the Chilterns, it’s worth diving in for half day at least just to check out this quirky place. Although you won’t find any sculptures here to compete with those found at the York Ice Trail, there’s still plenty of interesting stuff to look at.

Featuring works from some of the best people working in modern art today, this gallery is open to all visitors from 10am-6pm Tuesday to Saturday and is completely free of charge. What you see there will largely depend on what’s been sold or not – but you can almost guarantee that you’ll see something memorable.

Chiltern Shakespeare Company

Putting on one run of shows a year for the last 28 years (23 of which have been at the open air Hall barn venue) the CSC is made up of dozens of amateur actors and performers from all across the Chilterns. Each year they perform one of Shakespeare’s works and draw in hundreds of spectators who are always happy to pay for a night’s entertainment under the stars. Performances are usually held in the June, you can find more details on their site here.

River & Rowing Museum

The River & Rowing Museum is the only one of its kind in the UK. Aptly positioned on the edge of the Thames this venerable institution aims to educate its visitors about the noble heritage of river travel in the United Kingdom.

Winding its way through the Chilterns, the Thames has played a crucial part in the history of the Area, acting as a valuable transport link. This constantly changing exhibition highlights the usefulness of the river as well as showcasing artistic works from some of the UK’s most prolific creatives.

The Hellfire Caves

Also known as the West Wycombe Caves, this man-made series of chalk and flint caverns were excavated in the mid-eighteenth century by Francis Dashwood who used the spaces as a meeting place for a notorious gentleman’s club of his own making: the Hellfire Club.

Dashwood spent years excavating and developing the Hellfire Caves in an attempt to ape architectural designs that he had seen in Italy and Greece, creating a striking series of caves that can be visited today. Kitted out with bespoke lighting design, the current incarnation of the Hellfire Caves is well worth a visit.

The Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre

Housing a complete collection of the works of one of Britain’s most iconic writers, this Museum is aimed squarely at the young readers of the great man’s books. In a ramshackle arrangement of buildings you can find Dahl’s original writing shed, as well as exhibits detailing his life and an interactive story centre aimed to get youngsters writing stories of their own. This award-winning centre is a must-see for any families who have grown up with Roald Dahl’s timeless classics – you can find it in the town of Great Missenden, where he lived for 37 years.

Five-Star Accommodation in the Chilterns

Are you one of those people who has to have the best in life?

Whilst some visitors might be content pitching their tents in one of the many great camp sites in the Chilterns, we know that for some only a five-star hotel will suffice.

It might come as a surprise to discover that there are a number of luxurious five star options all across the Chilterns that you can slink into at the end of a long day’s hike. If you’re willing to spend the money you could find yourself rubbing shoulders with the stars at an exclusive country house hotel or putting your head down in a room that’s almost 900 years old. Historically speaking, the Chilterns have always been a popular getaway destination for the well to do, take a look at our pick of the best hotels to see if you fancy becoming one of them:

The Olde Bell


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This traditional inn and restaurant first opened its doors in 1135, making it the oldest hotel on our list. It’s rich history is sometimes hard to believe with its rooms playing host to revolution plotters, American presidents, Hollywood movie stars and even present day sports personalities. After a recent refurbishment The Olde Bell has never looked better, retaining its traditional feel whilst also acquiring a luxurious feel that only 5-star hotels can aspire to.

Standard Room can start as cheap as £65 p/night for a twin room whilst the top tier luxury rooms start at around £100 p/night.

The Dog and Badger

You’ll find six comfortable and surprisingly modern rooms at Gillman’s Cottage, opposite The Dog and Badger pub. You’ll find everything that you’d expect from a high-class establishment here, plus a little bit extra: Apple TV, super-king sized beds, bespoke mini Riva bars and Nespresso coffee machines elevate them above the norm and really make these rooms something to remember. The building is Grade II listed and is believed to date back to 1550, making it a little luxurious slice of history.

Rooms start at around £85 on a Sunday but can climb as high as £255 p/night during peak times.

Crazy Fox Hurley


For a while boutique hotels were all the rage. Although the wind from their sails has been taken somewhat by Restaurants with Rooms, there are still many of them in the UK doing good business and the Crazy Fox Hurley is just one of them. Neatly positioned in the charming village of Hurley, the four boutique rooms here are named after animal hideouts. The styling is simple yet elegant and if you’re a foodie you’re spoiled by choice with the nearby Hand and Flowers and Heston Blumenthal’s Fat Duck.

Best prices start at £155 for the three room all with king size beds, whilst the Garden View suite, The Warren, starts at £185.

The Stag and Huntsmen

Hambleden is one of many picture perfect villages in the Chilterns. In fact, it’s so well preserved that you may feel as if you’ve slipped back in time. A vast chestnut tree sits at the centre of this twee village which comes complete with a chocolate-box Post Office and museum-ready cottages. Whilst there are only 9 rooms to choose from at The Stag and Huntsmen, all of these rooms are gorgeously decorated with some truly idiosyncratic touches.

Good sized double rooms start here at £100 per night and you’ll also be close on hand to the excellent pub grub available in the dining room.

A Screen Buff’s Location Guide To The Chilterns

Four Movie Locations You Should Visit…

If a nuclear bomb were to drop on London tomorrow the chances of the Chilterns being saved from destruction would be rather slim.

After all, along with the destruction of hundreds of square miles of beautiful countryside, we’d also lose the rich cinematic history that goes with the area (as well as the possibility of any more films being made in the area. Then again, in a post-apocalyptic Britain, that perhaps wouldn’t be the biggest tragedy at hand).

Thankfully nuclear war seems to be a way off yet and with the advent of the Nuclear Event Detector we’re more likely than ever before to be prepared for it, although the countryside will still suffer the same dismal fate.

We digress.

For the last 60 years, the Chilterns have been used as a location for numerous productions on both big and small screens. Here’s a quick run down of just a few of the locations that you can visit on your next trip to the area:


Son of Rambow (2007)

Although director Garth Jennings has arguably moved on to bigger and better things in the shape of the Sing animated movies, he made his first feature in and around the Chilterns, whilst using the nearby settlement of Berkhamstead as a stand-in for the 1980s council estates in his coming of age tale, Son of Rambow.

West Wycombe House

Downton Abbey (2010-2015)

The Chilterns is well known for its plethora of country homes, so its unsurprising that many of these are often used as filming locations for period dramas, none of which have made more of a splash in recent years than the award winning Downton Abbey. West Wycombe House served as the home of Downton mainstay Lady Rosamund and was the home of real-life aristocrats the Dashwoods for more than 300 years.


Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968), Vicar of Dibley (1994-2007) and Midsomer Murders (1997-)

Any fan of ITV’s Midsomer Murders will find the idyllic environs of Turville instantly familiar, it’s been featured in countless episodes of the classic murder mystery series. The village also provided the location for the fictional village of Dibley, where Dawn French’s cheery Geraldine Granger would be constantly struggling with her weird and wonderful congregation. Baron Bomburst in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang also hovers menacingly over the village in the 1968 children’s classic.


101 Dalmatians (1996) and The Avengers (1998)

Widely regarded as one of the prettiest villages in the Chilterns, Hambledon has resisted the pull of modernity to such an extent that, if it weren’t for the modern vehicles driving through it, you would feel as if you’d travelled back in time. Such is the authenticity of this places that it has been frequently used as a location to depict the English countryside at its most idyllic – notably in Disney’s live-action remake of 101 Dalmatians.

These locations just scratch the surface of the locations in the Chilterns that have been used in works of TV and Film. If you’re a film buff planning on taking a trip to see us soon, you might want to think about coinciding your trip with one of the special showings put on by Vintage Cinema. This company projects new and classic films in particularly fitting locales, think: Night at the Museum at The Natural History Musuem in Tring or The Goonies in the eerie Hell-Fire Caves.

3 Quintessentially British Villages to Visit

Spend a long weekend in a comfortable Chilterns village…

Other than being a perfect destination to explore the great outdoors from the Chilterns are also famed for their chocolate-box villages.

For many city-dwellers the prospect of escaping the hustle of their metropolis’ for the weekend is always tempting, however some urbanites may worry that they won’t be able to find restaurants or hotels to match the standard set by their urban establishments. City folk can rest easy though as, thanks to the Chilterns’ close proximity with London (just an hour away by train), many top chefs and businessmen have set up shop in the relative peace of the countryside, raising the bar for hospitality across the area.

If you’re thinking about trialling life in the Chilterns then why not stop off at one of our many stunning villages for the night and grab a bite to eat while you’re at it?


There are fewer villages in the UK that have received as much attention as Hambleden. Used as a shooting location for major movie productions and television series, the village made headlines a over a decade ago when the estate was sold for a reported £38 million. You might think that no single village could ever be worth that much money, but one visit will be enough to convince you otherwise.

Where to Stay? Recently renovated under the watchful eye of famed architect Ptolemy Dean, The Stag and Huntmsen encapsulates the very best of British pub culture whilst adding a dash of upper-class decency to the whole affair. The handful of rooms on offer are stylish yet suitably old-school and as there are no other places to stay in the village you’ll feel like you’re very much a part of an exclusive set.

Where to Eat? Hambleden is a small village, so unless you want to travel further afield you may as well stay put and grab a plate of posh grub at The Stag. Although you could accuse the chef of pandering to the tastes of meat-lovers, the sheer variety of well-presented classics on the menu is enough to make anyone’s mouth water – regardless of dietary requirements.


You don’t get much more secluded that the village of Stonor. Named for the stately home that has been the home of the Stonor family for over 850 years, this village has always existed as a part of the family’s estate. There are no pubs or inns on the land but you can still stay in the general vicinity and grant yourself a glimpse into what life as a tenant of the family might have been like – excellent for fans of Downton Abbey.

Where to Stay? White Pond Farm is made up of three buildings. Two historical cottages have been sympathetically converted, preserving original features whilst opening up the previously pokey spaces. The Farmhouse wing dates back to the 17th Century and is perfect for a family of four to spend a long weekend in.

Where to Eat? A 45-minute walk away from White Pond Farm is The Five Horseshoes, a well put together boozer that serves a great selection meaty mains with just a few token veggie dishes. Sunday Roast are exceptional and the ale is pretty decent too.


It might not have the most attractive of names, but Skirmett is by far one of the prettiest hamlets in the Chilterns area. Not much goes on this part of the world which suits the handful of residents and visitors just fine. Like many of the settlements in the area, the majority of the buildings are built with flint which are incredibly easy on the eyes. Whilst it may be a pretty quiet place to settle down for the weekend, you’re guaranteed to get a peaceful night’s sleep here.

Where to Stay? The Frog At Skirmett is the village’s only pub. Well kept but not too smart for its own good, the relaxed charm of this pub with rooms makes for a great base camp for a long weekend. Three pleasant rooms offer a non-fussy alternative to a hotel and includes a bang-up breakfast to boot.

Where to Eat? Although you might be able to pick up a decent meal at The Frog, if you fancy a change of scenery then you can hop over to the nearby Bull & Butcher for a great value lunch or dinner. Mains cost around £12-15 and are generous in their size.

Outdoor Activities For All The Family

Get ready to get muddy on your next trip to the Chilterns!

Whilst the Chilterns is a great place to visit if you’re looking for a relaxing weekend break, there’s more than enough to satisfy the appetites of outdoor enthusiasts too.

By all means, come to the Chilterns to relax in an indulgent five-star hotel or take a load off at one of our many excellent pubs – but why not earn your pub lunch first?

Now you should be warned that these activities are more than likely to get you a little muddy. You’ll find that there won’t be too many laundromats in the Chilterns area, as setting up a cleaning business in the area has proven to be a challenge that not many entrepreneurs are up for taking on. So, before you jump headfirst into an activity it’s best to make sure that you’ve got a spare set of clothes at the ready and that wherever your staying has some sort of laundry facility.

These outdoor activities might get you muddy, but they’re also guaranteed to get your heart beating and build an appetite:

Chilterns Walking Festival

Each year the volunteers behind the Chilterns Walking Festival offer visitors the opportunity to take part in a wide programme of hikes and guided tours. You can either make some new friends by joining up with a group of walkers or set off by yourself on one of over 200 planned routes.

Discover the filming locations of the iconic Midsomer Murders in the Henley area or find your way onto a trail that takes you past one of our iconic chalk streams.

Go Ape

Coniferous and broadleaved trees make up the woodland near Wendover, you’ll have plenty time to admire the foliage whilst you’re tackling the high ropes, climbing walls and scrambling nets that Go Ape have to offer at one of their largest locations in the UK.

This is the only Go Ape site in the UK to offer an ‘Extreme’ route, so for those looking to live dangerously this might just be the ticket. With platforms reaching up to dizzying 13.5 metres and a total length of 685 metres, this is a great way to get a grips with lush woodland that the Chilterns has to offer.

Aston Hill Bike Park

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It should be noted that a handful of the routes at this acclaimed mountain bike park might be a little too gnarly for young ones, but considering that it only costs £7 to work up your courage for a whole day you might be surprised by the hairy down-hill routes that your kids are taking on by the end of the day.

You will need to bring all the necessary equipment with you that means mountain bikes and helmets.It’s worth thinking about bringing body armour too if you really fancy pushing your limits on one of the more extreme routes.

Chiltern Society Volunteering

Although you might only be visiting for a few days, there’s no reason why can’t try and make the Chilterns a better place whilst you’re here. The Chiltern Society are always looking for volunteers to lend a hand with litter picking, maintaining the box and repairing fences.

Doing outdoors DIY is not exactly what most people would consider a fun way of spending their spare time, but it’s a great way to give back and also meet some like minded people!

5 Must-Visit Gastro Pubs in the Chilterns

There’s nothing quite like a wholesome pub lunch or dinner and we reckon that our gastro pubs’ grub is the best in the country.

Whether you’re in the frosty depths of Winter looking for a safe refuge, or if you’re simply looking to take a load off during a day’s hiking, these gastro pubs all serve some of the best local ales as well as offering classy yet down-to-earth food that is guaranteed to put a smile on your face.

The Hand and Flowers

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Opened in 2005 by renowned chef Tom Kerridge, this was the first pub to be awarded two Michelin stars and the team here has continued to build on this reputation with an approachable (yet pricey) menu of carefully refined pub classics. Despite the plaudits and acclaim, The Hand and Flowers is first and foremost a pub in the most traditional of moulds. During the summer you’re more than welcome to drop in for a pint and there’s even a Set Lunch on offer for those wishing to get a more affordable taste of the Michelin-star standard on offer.

The Jolly Cricketers

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One of the most celebrated pubs in the Chilterns – The Jolly Cricketers is a real treat for any lover of the game itself or a just a well poured pint. The food (served Monday to Sunday) is of a high standard but the prices are notably affordable. Awarded the Bib Gourmand in 2012, the Michelin inspectors singled out The Jolly Cricketers as a favourite noting it as ‘offering good food at moderate prices’.

The Sir Charles Napier

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Named after the distinguished British officer of the same name (you would have seen a statue of him if you’ve visited London’s Trafalgar Square) this gastro pub is known for its quirky use of sculpture and wonderfully landscaped garden. Although you might have a bit of difficulty finding this charming spot, armed with a top of the range satnav you should be able to stumble across it alright.

The Crown Inn

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Dating back to the 17th Century, The Crown Inn encapsulates everything that you’d expect from a traditional English pub. Hand-carved wooden beams, roaring fireplaces and excellent ales all contribute to the spirit of old world charm that is at it’s strongest during the Autumn months. Stop by for food and you’ll be pleasantly surprised by both the value and the quality on offer. Mains start at around £12 whilst a pint of the excellent Rebbelion Beer Co. ale will only set you back around £4.

The Alford Arms

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One thing you can expect from a visit to The Alford Arms is an abundance of smiling faces, along with some truly excellent pub grub. The food here aims to comfort you whilst surprising you at the same time, that’s why you’ll find such varied items on the menus as Salt and Szechuan pepper squid sitting next to a char-grilled thyme and garlic pork chop. Prices are very reasonable, considering the quality of service on offer and you can guarantee a great pint in a a stunning location as well.