Car-free adventures aroundHigh WycombeBuckinghamshire

Just twenty minutes train ride from London’s Marylebone Station, the market town of High Wycombe is an excellent hub for car-free adventures in the wooded Chiltern hills. The handsome village of West Wycombe, ten minutes away by bus, is lined with Tudor buildings, pubs and cafés. The Dashwood family built the stately pile in West Wycombe park, the mausoleum on the hill above, and the maze of underground caves that visitors can wander through – cool and dark on even the hottest summer day.

  • County: Buckinghamshire
  • Great for: architecture | art | bird watching | caves | family | gardens | history | wildlife |
  • Refreshments: pubs, cafes and restaurants including cafe at Hellfire Caves and Hughenden Manor
  • Please note: researched/updated July 2018. If anything’s changed or you have tips to share, do get in touch: features@goodjourney.org.uk
  1. 4. West Wycombe

    Across the main road from the caves and hill, West Wycombe Park covers 45 meandering acres, dotted with neoclassical temples, bridges, lakes and islands.

    • Inside the Palladian house, you can visit the eight rooms downstairs, decorated in a range of styles: from trompe-l’oeil ceilings and faux-marble columns in the atrium to Flemish tapestries and copies of Raphael’s frescoes. The blue drawing room has appeared in Downton Abbey.
    • Meanwhile, outside, there are temples and statues, cascades and lodges scattered across the landscaped park. Wander through the water gardens or along the woodland walk, around the lake or up the sloping lawns.
    • Finally, don’t miss the jumble of listed buildings lining the busy village street. There are no longer seventeen pubs to choose from as there were in the stage-coaching glory days, but there are still a couple of lovely old inns and a café or two to refresh you. A short village trail leads you through the sights and up onto the hill.
  1. 5. Hughenden Manor

    Born in Bloomsbury in 1804, novelist and Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli bought Hughenden Manor in 1848, becoming a country gent to suit his new role as leader of the Tories and the house is stuffed with gifts from Queen Victoria.

    • Later, during World War II, Hughenden was the base for a secret map-making operation that only recently came to light when one of the house volunteers overheard a man telling his grandson he’d been stationed here during the war.
    • Codenamed ‘Hillside’, map-makers at Hughenden created the plans that helped the dambusters in a dark room in the ice house, which has now been recreated.
    • If you’re very energetic, it is possible to walk all the way to Hughenden from West Wycombe. On the way, the walk takes you through the Bradenham Estate, with its manor house and village green and through several National Trust woods (great for bluebells) and open spaces like Naphill Common. On the way back, there are some great views across the valley towards the Dashwood Mausoleum.
    • But if you want to make sure you have enough energy to explore Hughenden’s sprawling gardens, there is a regular bus service. The Max 300 route runs from High Wycombe bus station three times an hour (hourly on Sundays) and takes just ten minutes to reach Hughenden, stopping near All Saints church on Valley Road, just outside the gates.
    • Arriva buses do a day rover ticket for £4.60, which covers West Wycombe and Hughenden. The 300 also stops near Bradenham and Naphill so you can walk among the woods and commons and explore the Chiltern villages.

Look out for the Good Journey Mark – where car-free visitors are welcome and enjoy a discount

Visit car-free in 2019!