Buckinghamshire – a great destination for a short break in a holiday cottage

Buckinghamshire is one of the loveliest of the Home Counties, with a rich variety of landscapes; soft rolling hills and lush wooded valleys, wide, open vales, the meandering River Thames and dark dense forests.

A Buckinghamshire cottage provides the perfect base for exploring this county, over a third of which is covered by the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The Chilterns themselves stretch 75 miles from Bedfordshire through Buckinghamshire to Oxfordshire and are covered in impressive beech woods which are spectacular in the autumn, making the county a great destination for a short break in a holiday cottage.

To appreciate the vernacular heritage of the area a visit to The Chiltern Open Air Museum is recommended. It was established over 30 years ago with the aim of preserving some of the historic buildings unique to the Chilterns. Visitors can explore more than 30 buildings that span 200 years of history, all rescued from demolition.

Whilst travelling around the Chilterns dont miss the village of Turville which has been the location for many film and television scenes and most recently was Dibley in The Vicar Of Dibley. Nearby Hambleden was the home of William Henry Smith, founder of the book and newspaper chain W H Smith. He died in 1891 and is buried in the new cemetery. Lord Cardigan, famous for his role in leading the ill-fated Charge of the Light Brigade, was born in the Manor House. The sea chest that he took to the Crimea can be seen in the church.

Lovers of historic houses are spoilt for choice with perhaps the finest Waddesdon Manor and Cliveden. Waddesdon is considered one of the best examples of a Victorian garden in Britain with a parterre, seasonal displays, colourful shrubs, carpet bedding, statuary, fountains and parkland. At its heart lies the rococo-style aviary housing exotic birds and known for breeding endangered species. The aviary glade is the location of a new acquisition called Perceval by Sarah Lucas, a life-sized, bronze horse and cart.

Once the home of the fabulous Astors, Clivedens Grade I listed garden has recently undergone, and continues to receive, major conservation and restoration works. The spectacular south-facing parterre has been completely replanted and offers magnificent views over the Thames Valley and beyond. The lawns to the front of the Italianate mansion are flanked by great herbaceous borders providing summer-long colour.

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