Car-free adventures aroundAylesburyBuckinghamshire

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Two people can visit Waddesdon Manor for the price of one when you arrive by train, where the opulent rooms and rolling gardens make a memorable day trip. Nearby Aylesbury is an interesting destination, with markets, museums and a monument to David Bowie. Frequent train services from London Marylebone through the Chilterns make this area perfect for a day out: an hour’s train ride from London and a half hour walk takes you high into the wooded hills. Here is a choice of car-free day trips in the area: the chateau-style manor house hung with 18th-century art, kids’ galleries celebrating Roald Dahl’s stories, simple strolls in the woods, hefty hikes along the Ridegway, or a pub crawl past the birthplace of the Paralympic movement. Scroll to the bottom for some tips on buses, bikes and places to stay if you’re planning a staycation in Aylesbury.

  • County: Buckinghamshire
  • Great for: architecture | art | culture | family | historic houses | literary connections | musical connections | walking |
  • Refreshments: cafes at Waddesdon and in Wendover woods; pubs along the Ridgeway and lots of choice in town.
  • Please note: researched/updated November 2023. If anything’s changed or you have tips to share, do get in touch:
Pub - Aylesbury car-free adventures
  1. 4. Stride along the Ridegway...

    The Chilterns is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, crossed by the ancient Ridgeway route and other long distance paths. This acorn-waymarked National Trail, an 85-mile walk from Avebury to Ivinghoe Beacon, passes along Wendover’s main street, making this town near Aylesbury an excellent base for sampling the route.

    • Wendover to Princes Risborough is a hilly seven-mile walk past Chequers, the Prime Minister’s country house. If you buy a day return to Aylesbury, you can use both stations. On a clear day there are great views and in spring the mossy woods are carpeted with bluebells. The Plough Inn makes a good stopping point and even offers a Ridgeway Menu.
    • The seven-mile stretch of Ridgeway from Wendover to Tring also passes through bluebell woods with great views of the hills around.
    • You can even extend the walk all the way to Ivinghoe Beacon and come back to Tring station via the lovely pub at Aldbury, but this will make a stonking 14 miles or so. A leaflet, outlining shorter walks from Wendover, gives directions for exploring Coombe Hill and Wendover Woods.
  1. 5. ... or stroll through Wendover Woods

    Wendover Woods, containing a huge iron age hill fort and the highest point in the Chiltern hills, are managed by the Forestry Commission with a series of way-marked trails, activities and a cafe. The woods are home to the rare firecrest, a tiny brightly coloured bird, which nests in evergreens like Wendover’s Norway spruce trees. Look out, too, for red kites wheeling overhead and carpets of spring bluebells under the beech trees. This two-miles-each-way route leads you deep into the heart of Wendover Woods.

    • From Wendover Railway station, turn left past the Shoulder of Mutton pub, heading down Wendover’s picturesque High Street. Just before the clock tower at the bottom, turn right by the Number One gift shop and follow the Ridgeway signs towards St Mary’s church (go inside to see the scratches on the pillars made by Cromwell’s soldiers when they camped here).
    • Turn left past the church and a school, still following the Ridgeway acorns, but leave the Ridgeway at the junction, turning sharp left up the road and right onto a lane signed The Hale.
    • After 1/3 mile, turn left at a track with a green sign, into Wendover Woods. Follow the main track uphill (look back for views), past Boddington iron age hill fort, its overgrown banks topping a steep sided spur of chalk.
    • Eventually, the track will lead you to the visitors’ complex, with a Go Ape high ropes course, a carved Gruffalo, and a woodland café for a well-deserved break.
  1. 5. Pub crawl by bus from Wendover

    Wendover may not have as many pubs as it once did, but there are still some fine watering holes here. The 17th-century Red Lion was once a coaching inn on the road to London: famous guests have included Oliver Cromwell, Robert Louis Stevenson and Rupert Brook. Don’t miss the cosy King and Queen, tucked away on South Street. The Shoulder of Mutton is closest to the station if you decide to wait for a later train; it can serve up local ales and rich chocolate brownies – something for everyone.

    • Bus 50 between Wendover and Aylesbury leaves regularly from the Clock Tower (regularly on Saturday, less on Sunday) until early evening. It passes through the village of Weston Turville with several thatched cottages and some more great pubs.
    • The Five Bells offers comfort food of the steak-and-mushroom-pie variety, while the Chequers is all about fine dining, from the in-house oak-smoked haddock to the spiced “hand-dived” king scallops.
    • A mile away by bus or foot is Stoke Mandeville, birthplace of the Paralympic movement. Inspired by the 2012 games, Buckinghamshire Disability Service recently opened the Stoke Mandeville Way, a three-mile accessible route from Aylesbury Railway Station to Stoke Mandeville stadium and beyond.
    • On the way into Aylesbury, the bus passes the wisteria-covered Broad Leys pub and the oak-beamed Aristocrat.
    • The Kings Head pub in the centre of Aylesbury is so old it’s owned by the National Trust. It serves draught ales from the Chiltern Brewery near Wendover, ciders from Somerset, and guest beers from London, Oakham, and Derbyshire. Luckily, Aylesbury Railway station is less than 1/4 mile away.
  1. Buses, bikes and places to stay

    Here’s a bit more practical info if you’re planning a staycation in Aylesbury.

    • If you’re taking several bus rides around town on the same day that you arrive by train, get a bargain PlusBus ticket. You could ride out to Broughton and walk back along the canal or connect with the ski and sports centre at Watermead, where there is also a Premier Inn.
    • Alternatively, for cycling the Greenway to Waddesdon, you can also hire bikes. They have recently introduced electric bikes for visitors in the area with a small docking station at Aylesbury Parkway.
    • There are various places to stay in Aylesbury, including the local Travelodge, with double rooms. It’s ten minutes’ stroll from the railway station and four minutes from the David Bowie statue.
  1. Discover more offers and days out in Buckinghamshire with Good Journey. For more money-saving tips see our handy guides to trains and buses.

  • Walking signs - Aylesbury car-free adventures
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  • Pub - Aylesbury car-free adventures