Valentine’s Day in Buckinghamshire: Views, walks and places to visit
PUBLISHED: 10:17 06 February 2018
Buckinghamshire's beauty comes in many forms, from breathtaking views and luscious greenery to the glamour of pretty towns and historic sites. Enjoy it all this Valentine's Day
Our magical woodland will soon have you feeling far from the madding crowds. Buckinghamshire is blessed with greenery, and the crowning glory is the magnificent displays our trees provide throughout the seasons. And the woodland floors often delight us with snowdrops in February, followed within a couple of months by the bluebells. The woods are evocative of times past, and all have stories to tell. To the south of the county, ancient woodlands include Burnham Beeches, while Naphill Common is home to many veteran trees and is one of the most natural woodlands in the Chilterns. Hodgemoor Wood between Amersham and Beaconsfield is also ancient woodland which developed before beech became prevalent.
Head into the Chiltern Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, take a little lane or two and discover views from hilltops that will have you marvelling at our county. Bright, clear days reveal mile upon mile of hamlets and fields. Beacon Hill near Ellesborough, Coombe Hill, Whiteleaf, or the gentler climbs around West Wycombe all offer great viewing spots. Wendover itself has a lovely choice of cafes, shops and pubs and is on the Chiltern Railways line… so why not leave the car at home?
The magnificent gardens at Stowe, offering 250 acres including lakes, woods and temples are open throughout February. Plus, of course, there’s the visitor centre with its lovely café, shop and parlous rooms to keep you warm. Valentine’s also falls at the perfect time to enjoy ‘Stowedrop’ season and spot the first signs of spring.
Lights in the sky
There’s natural science behind the romantic display of dancing lights: collisions between particles in the Earth’s atmosphere and others released through solar winds from around the sun. The rare red ones are produced by high altitude oxygen, while blue or purplish colours come from nitrogen. When the lights put on a show over the UK it’s usually in the north, but every now and again we are all treated to a display. The trick is to know when it’s likely.
Although many of our windmills don’t open until later in the season, they provide an evocative backdrop, stunning photo opportunity and thoughts of times past at any time of year.
If you don’t want to step too far off the beaten track then Marlow ticks all the boxes. There’s the Thames – and perhaps lunch or dinner beside it at the Macdonald Compleat Angler – and the town has far more than its fair share of fascinating shops, cafes and restaurants. Take your pick of inns with cosy fires, and revel in the history of the town. Some of the houses and pubs date back to the 16th century and there are fine examples of Georgian design. All this with the glitz and glamour of ‘label shops’, often with some surprising bargain price tags to investigate.