The Chilterns covers 324 square miles of English countryside marked as an Area of Outstanding Beauty (AONB), just outside of London. With excellent travel links it makes it the serene bolthole from everyday life, or a city-based business trip.
The Chilterns have long been home to the English gentries favourite pursuits for centuries and here at Humphreys of Henley we want to share our favourite finds, things we know you will love… make sure you read right to the end, because we have a top Concierge tip to make your luxury holiday in the English Countryside extra special!
1. Visit Stonor Park and Manor House – One of the oldest English family homes, Stonor is 850 years old. It is well worth a visit, to spend time in this beautiful historic manor and gardens, set with its own serving chapel.
If you are a bird watcher, then Stonor is a must, because they anticipate you may see between five and fifty Red Kites above the property on almost any given day. If you prefer deer, then Stonor has one of the most ancient fallow deer herds in Britain.
2. Take shooting lessons (clay or game) at E.J. Churchill – E.J. Churchill have a world class team of instructors waiting to help you learn this English countryside pursuit. Choose from clay pigeon, or game to immerse yourself in this sporting activity.
If you prefer a more personal shooting experience, we recommend a private shooting experience on a country estate where you will feel like lord and lady of the manor for the day while mastering your shooting skills.
3. Cheer on the rowers at Henley Regatta – Visit the only Royal Regatta and enjoy the five-day festival set on the beautiful River Thames. We recommend taking full opportunity to dress up and attend the Stewards Enclosure to watch the action and quaff champagne during this wonderful summer event.
4. Enjoy the National Trust’s Ashridge Estate – with 5,000 acres of woodland, the perfect time to see the Ashridge Estate is from April to May where you will witness an explosion of bluebells. With miles of bridleway it is a great place to visit by bike, as well as by foot.
5. Explore the home of the Codebreakers at Bletchley Park – Bletchley Park is the setting for World War II’s Interception and Intelligence gathering. Visit the home of the famous Enigma Code breaking machine and immerse yourself in the fight to free our great nation from impending invasion.
6. Experience a spectacle of culture at Garsington Opera – Garsington Opera summer festival is held over seven weeks from the end of May each year and is an intimate experience, with performances from the Philharmonic Orchestra, set in the grounds of a beautiful country house. Set in the stunning Wormsley Estate, it is a thoroughly quintessentially English experience.
7. Step back into literary history and visit John Milton’s cottage – Not far away from Cliveden House, Milton Cottage is the place where Milton completed one of his best known works, Paradise Lost.- What a perfect excuse to catch up on some classics whilst enjoying a relaxing break!
8. Indulge in a hidden woodland feast inspired by the nature you sit in – Nomadic is a dining experience like no other, because both the location and the menu are kept under secret wraps until you meet your transport and are delivered to a woodland setting!
The menus are curated and delivered by award winning chefs and you will help pick out ingredients with the resident forager from this beautiful Buckinghamshire Estate.
9. Enjoy the stunning views as you enjoy the Chiltern’s Walking Festival – Chilterns Walking Festival is held each May and is an exclusive tour taking in 5.5 miles (about 3 hours) of fairly strenuous walking through Watlington, famous for it’s TV filming locations for ‘Midsomer Murders’ and stunning English countryside views.
10. Take some respite at Cliveden House – Spa days are so restorative and Cliveden House is a wonderful way to take a moment to immerse yourself in some well-being practice. May we recommend the ‘Eternally Cliveden’ experience, where you will relax during a flotation experience, get a ‘OSKIA signature glow facial’, a nail treatment, lunch and full access to spa facilities, classes and of course access to the National Trust estate.
When you are planning to visit a new area, especially one with such a rich list of places and attractions to visit, we recommend first thinking about what makes the ‘perfect’ trip for you. Are you a history buff? Or wanting a romantic getaway? These finer details about you and the people you are travelling with will help you guide your way through the maze of creating the perfect itinerary.