BOUTIQUE HOTELS IN BUCKINGHAMSHIRE
Buckinghamshire is a stone’s throw from London and the Chic Retreats recommended boutique hotels in Buckinghamshire are both less than an hour away. The first is Stoke Place, a 40-room country house hotel surrounded by over 20 acres of lovely parkland in Stoke Poges, with an award-winning restaurant, a gym in the former stables and a lake where guests can go fishing. If you prefer a contemporary coaching inn, stay at The Crown in Amersham (sister inn to The Olde Bell in Hurley, Berkshire, which is also one of our recommended retreats) where rooms are designed by celebrated interiors guru Ilse Crawford and the food is second to none. These two hotels in Buckinghamshire are very different but equally lovely and have both been chosen by the team for their spot-on service and style.
For shoppers, no visit to Buckinghamshire would be complete without stopping off at the market towns of Aylesbury and High Wycombe, where you’ll find an interesting selection of small, independent shops (for bargains, pay a visit to the designer fashion outlet stores at Bicester Village). Aylesbury is also home to Waddesdon Manor, which was built by Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild in the 19th-century and today has beautiful gardens and stables which have been transformed into a contemporary art gallery. High Wycombe has a pedestrianised Georgian high street and hosts a market every Tuesday, Friday and Saturday. The Thames flows through Marlow, another lovely Georgian market town, which has inspired great literary writers such as Mary Shelley and T.S. Eliot and where you can hire rowing boats for a gentle putter along the river.
What to do in Buckinghamshire
More literary references are to be found at the Old Thatch Gardens in Bourne End, once the home of Enid Blyton, now two acres of internationally acclaimed gardens and The Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre in the village of Great Missenden, where the author lived and wrote for over 30 years. Here, two interactive galleries tell the story of his life and there’s a downloadable Roald Dahl Trail of the most ‘absolutely squiffing’ family days out in nearby villages and the countryside.
A third of Buckinghamshire is covered by the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty so expect plenty of National Trails, from the Thames Path to the ancient ridgeway where you can cycle or walk through leafy lanes, wooded valleys and lush rolling hills (for panoramic views of the Vale of Aylesbury, stop at the gigantic Whiteleaf Cross carved into the chalk). Bird watchers should make a beeline for Boughton Lake; Bacombe Hill is known for its orchids and butterflies, and there’s nothing nicer than a stroll along the Grand Union Canal on a sunny spring day.
Where to eat
Both our recommended boutique hotels in Buckinghamshire have truly excellent restaurants but for something different, treat yourself to dinner at Hand & Flower in Marlow, a Michelin-star pub run by chef Tom Kerridge who serves up a mix of British and rustic French dishes.