Best Things to Do in Buckinghamshire

Best Things to Do in Buckinghamshire

Sandwiched between the country’s capital and glorious flowing countryside, the county of Buckinghamshire in South East England is the perfect base for all kinds of escapes. Whether you’re looking to dip in and out of city life and immerse yourself in history and culture, or head off into bucolic countryside for a dose of R&R amongst the beauty of Mother Nature, Buckinghamshire has somewhere for you.

If you’re planning your trip to Buckinghamshire and are looking forward to visiting the county’s highlights, we’ve put together just the guide featuring some of the very best things to do, from modern attractions to historic gems.

Explore Chiltern Open Air Museum

A WW2 Nissen Hut at Chiltern Open Air Museum in Buckinghamshire

A brilliant family-friendly, dog-friendly attraction in Chalfont St Giles in Buckinghamshire, the Chiltern Open Air Museum is home to a visitor centre, gardens and a collection of more than 30 reconstructed historical buildings. Giving you the chance to literally walk through time, the museum’s architectural array includes everything from an Iron Age roundhouse to a Victorian tollhouse to an Arts and Crafts garden – all set within 45 acres of gorgeous Chilterns countryside. Accompanied by a year-round catalogue of extraordinary events, activities and opportunities for outdoor play, it has all the ingredients you could need and more for a fun-filled day out for all generations. It also has a dog-friendly café too, housed in a former-furniture factory.

Stroll through Black Park Country Park

Sun streaming through the trees at Black Park Country Park in Buckinghamshire

The 500-acre-Black Park in Slough, South Buckinghamshire, is one of the best places to go in the county for its picturesque setting and wealth of things to do. Encompassing an enormous patchwork of woodland, heathland and open fields, it’s a real magnet for walkers and nature-lovers and is woven with lots of different paths that you can follow at your own pace. As well as its back-to-nature appeal, the Black Park also features a number of family-friendly attractions, including a children’s playground and a Go Ape centre. Boasting a range of treetop trails and challenges for both big and little adventurers alike, Black Park Go Ape takes you up into the canopies for an experience that is simply unforgettable.

Go Back in Time at Bletchley Park

Looking across the lake at the beautiful house at Bletchley Park in Buckinghamshire

The home of the Enigma codebreakers, Bletchley Park near Milton Keynes is one of the most important buildings in both British and European history. Once a top-secret MI6 base during World War Two, Bletchley Park’s team (led by Alan Turing) were instrumental in developing a technique called Banburismus, which enabled the British military to decipher encrypted German messages. Thanks to this victory, many believe that the war was shortened by as much as 2 years. These days, the former home of spies and codebreakers at Bletchley Park is now a superb family-friendly visitor attraction and museum, and showcases interactive displays and exhibitions about the history of Bletchley, technology and the war.

Visit Waddesdon Manor

The impressive building and formal gardens at Waddesdon Manor in Buckinghamshire

Waddesdon Manor in Aylesbury is a 19th Century stately home surrounded by a beautiful 800-acre estate in the Buckinghamshire countryside. Completed in 1885, it was originally built by Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild to house a collection of fine arts and entertain the social elite. Retaining its former splendour, the house is managed by the Rothschild Foundation and National Trust and is open to visitors today, sharing its stunning Rothschild Collections of paintings, sculpture and arts. Explore the house at your leisure or take to the grounds to wander its manicured gardens, wildlife areas, aviaries, woodland playground and more. Weaving through all of Waddesdon’s garden highlights are a series of trails winding around the estate, from short routes to lengthy paths.

Walk the Chiltern Hills National Landscape

A bird's eye view of the rolling countryside of the Chiltern Hills AONB

The beautiful Chiltern Hills cover a vast area of 660 square miles – 324 squares miles of which is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Shaped by striking chalk escarpments, rolling hills and flower-rich downland, all interspersed with picture-postcard flint and brick villages, it’s the kind of place that’ll easily capture your imagination as you fall for its beauty and charm. And you wouldn’t be the first to fall either. Indeed, the Chilterns has stolen many hearts and imaginations over the years, including literary royalty Oscar Wilde and Enid Blyton, as well as actual Royalty, including Queen Elizabeth I. For some of the best views and scenery in the Chilterns, visit the beauty spots of Ivinghoe Beacon, Coombe Hill and Hambleden Valley. Haddington Hill is also well worth the jaunt, being the highest point in Buckinghamshire.

Revisit Childhood Friends at Roald Dahl Museum

The BFG painted on the exterior of the Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre

One of the country’s greatest ever storytellers, Roald Dahl has inspired countless legions of children (and grown-ups) over the decades with his fantastical tales. Be it through the page or screen, most of us are familiar with his most famous works, including Matilda, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, the BFG and the Witches. For your golden ticket and the chance to revisit childhood friends, venture over to the Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre in Great Missenden, Buckinghamshire. Based in the village where he lived and wrote for 36 years, the museum shares an invaluable insight into Dahl’s creative world and the characters he rose from the page. Brilliant for all family members, there are over 40 hands-on activities in the galleries, as well as indoor and outdoor spaces for exploration too.

Downsize at Bekonscot Model Village

Looking out over the beautiful model village at Bekonscot Model Village in Buckinghamshire

A little world for big imaginations, Bekonscot Model Village and Railway is one of the most popular attractions in Buckinghamshire amongst visitors of all ages. A perfectly pint-sized realm, it is the oldest original model village in the world, first opened in 1929. Composed of seven little towns from the 1930s, the whole model has been lovingly and painstakingly built to feature over 3,000 residents, 1,000 animals, 200 buildings and hundreds of vehicles. Head on over to gaze upon this miniature marvel, admiring the level of detail and looking out for some of its quirky characters. Among the medley you can see coal mines, castles, aerodromes, farms, docks, racecourses and more. You can even see escaped convicts making an exceedingly slow dash to freedom – but don’t worry, these mini foes won’t get very far.

See the Animals at Hogshaw Farm & Wildlife Park

A bobcat lying in the grass at Hogshaw Farm and Wildlife Farm

Dive straight into the best of British farm and country life at Hogshaw Farm and Wildlife Park in Hogshaw and channel your wild vibes for the day. One of the top things to do in Buckinghamshire, this open farm is home to all kinds of rare breed farm animals and European wildlife species, as well as native habitats, children’s play areas and more. Allowing you to easily while away the hours, it invites you to follow farm trails and meet its residents, take part in a range of activities and blow off steam through their onsite games and attractions (Go Karts and bouncy pillows, anyone?). With over 44 acres of green space to explore and lots of different barns, wildlife zones and play spaces to discover, all generations will be simply spoiled for choice here.

Discover the National Trust’s Stowe House

Looking across the lake and up the lawns at the historical Stowe House in Buckinghamshire

One of the prettiest places to visit in Buckinghamshire, the National Trust-run Stowe House is a stunning Grade I-listed country home in Stowe. The result of a pioneering renovation project, Stowe House was extensively restored during one of the most ambitious projects of its kind in the 21st Century, and today is open to the public to reveal secrets of its historic past. To walk the chapters of time, visit Stowe House and wander its corridors, uncovering fascinating rooms imitating ancient worlds and classical ruins and providing sanctuary for relaxation and socialisation. You can also branch out into Stowe’s 18th Century gardens too – the gardens that launched the career of Lancelot 'Capability' Brown and set his reputation as one of the most famous British landscape architects in history.

Go Underground at the Hellfire Caves

Looking down a low-lit tunnel at Hellfire Cave in Buckinghamshire

For a completely novel way to explore Buckinghamshire, a trip to the county’s Hellfire Caves is a must. Located just outside of the village of West Wycombe at the southern reaches of the Chiltern Hills, this series of man-made chalk and flint caves in Buckinghamshire extends 300ft underground in a thrilling labyrinth – setting the scene for intriguing exploration. Less than an hour’s drive from London, they can be easily overlooked if you don’t know where to find them, yet are a real hidden gem that provide an insight into the mysterious 18th Century high-society clubs who used them to hold secret meetings. Take part in a tour of the caves and follow the passages past the Banqueting Hall and across the River Styx – a river that, according to legend, separates the living world from the dead.

Take a Dip at Westhorpe Lake

The pontoon and glassy waters at Westhorpe Lake

If you are looking to dive straight into the action during your holiday in Buckinghamshire, then a trip to Westhorpe Lake will provide a fully immersive experience. One of the best things to do in Marlow, a picturesque Georgian town perched beside the River Thames, Westhorpe Lake calls to water-lovers of all ages for its wild swimming and watersports opportunities. Led by the family-run Westhorpe Watersports, this popular lakeside hub offers everything from cold-water bathing to paddleboarding, and from kayaking to jet-skiing. Bring your own kit or hire equipment from the onsite rental shop and look forward to hours of care-free fun. You can even have a go at boating on the lake too – and if your skills need refreshing, nearby Bisham Abbey Sailing and Navigation School offer courses for all abilities.

Feeling inspired to explore Buckinghamshire? Take a look at our luxury cottages here.

Sign up to receive our boutique stories…

Stay connected with retreat magic and be the first to know about our new additions. We promise to only fill your inbox with the dreamiest staycation stories and luxury travel moments.