Events and things to do in Buckinghamshire this summer
PUBLISHED: 16:55 17 June 2014
Copyright Maureen McLean
Your essential guide to a season of fun outings, celebrations and must-not-miss events
Bekonscot Model Village
It’s Bekonscot’s 85th anniversary this year and they will be celebrating over the weekend of 9 and 10 August. The village and railway is the world’s oldest and original model village. £9.50 for adults, £5.50 for children and under twos, free. www.bekonscot.co.uk
Odds Farm Park
Some of the animals at Odds Farm, Wooburn Common, are as rare as the Sumatran Tiger or Giant Panda. The Castlemilk Moorit Sheep is on the vulnerable list, with only around 700 breeding ewes left. See them and other animals, plus there are tractor rides, an adventure maze, crazy golf and go karts. £12.50 for adults and £11.50 for children. www.oddsfarm.co.uk
Roald Dahl Museum
Fans of Roald Dahl will love the Museum and Story Centre in Great Missenden, the author’s hometown. Admittedly the museum is aimed at six to 12 year olds, but adults will also enjoy interactive galleries and free drop-in crafts workshops. £6.60 for adults and £4.40 for children. www.roalddahl.com
The Hellfire Caves at West Wycombe were once the meeting place of The Hell-Fire Club. For the first time in over 100 years, thanks to the high water table, access to the last 20m of the caves may be restricted. £5 for adults, £4 for children and free for under threes. www.hellfirecaves.co.uk
Chiltern Open Air Museum
If you have a love of old and unusual buildings then visit the Open Air Museum in Chalfont St Giles. They also have over 5,000 artefacts on display, an archive library and the Green Museum. There’s a lot to see, so an annual pass could be a good idea (£25). www.coam.org.uk
Chinnor & Princes Risborough Railway
All aboard for a delicious Ploughman’s Lunch on the Chinnor and Princes Risborough Railway on selected Sundays during the summer. It costs an extra £9 and is available on 8 June, 6 July, 31 August and 28 September. Visit the shop, or even have a driver experience morning. £11 for adults, £10 seniors and £6 for children. www.chinnorrailway.co.uk
Essentially Tiggywinkles is an animal hospital, doing a brilliant job of looking after hedgehogs, badgers, foxes, even reptiles and amphibians. They also have a visitor centre open at weekends. Learn about their specialist work and upstairs there is the world’s only hedgehog memorabilia museum. £5.10 for adults and £3.20 for children – with proceeds going to the hospital. www.stiggywinkes.org.uk
Set up high in the Northern Crest of the Chilterns, Go Ape at Wendover Woods offers spectacular views across Aylesbury Vale. There’s also a go Ape at Black Park, Zoom down the zip wire, balance on the high rope crossings and jump onto cargo nets – you’ll have so much fun you’ll want to go round again. Adults £30, children £24. goape.co.uk
Visit on 7 September for Heritage Day. Find out about a forthcoming First World War exhibition. It’s half price entry to the museum, adults £1.25 and five to 15 year olds just 50p. www.amershammuseum.org
Did you know there is 170 miles of cycle route through the beautiful Chilterns? See historic villages, market towns, visit a country pub (or two), stop off at National Trust properties or simply enjoy the wonderful views. Split the route, or take a leisurely one-week tour, just go online to pick a route that suits at www.chilternsaonb.org
‘Aylesbury on Sea’
On 6t July ‘Aylesbury on Sea’ is a free day of beach-related fun from 11am to 4pm. There will be everything from bouncy castles and donkey rides to balloon modeling and face painting. This year, be warned, even the pirates are coming. Just remember the sun cream.
If you haven’t attempted to solve the Marlow Murder Mystery yet, go online to www.treasuretrails.co.uk and download the challenge for £6.99. Oarsman Ivor Rowlock has been found dead at the Marlow Regatta and you have to find the villain who committed the crime. On the same website there are another 24 trails and mysteries to solve, from Amersham through to Wokingham.
The little ones will be entertained for hours at Gulliver’s in Milton Keynes. There are over 70 rides, attractions and shows. Then there’s the Dinosaur and Farm Park with boat trips, the Lost World Tour, Caveman Challenge and Cretaceous Crawl. Fully inclusive tickets cost £26 (adults and children). www.gulliversfun.co.uk
Bucks Railway Centre
Set in a 25-acre steam museum, Buckinghamshire Railway Centre is one of the UK’s largest collections of locomotives, memorabilia and rolling stock. As well as a 1890s station there’s a visitor centre with refreshment rooms, gift shop and dining coach from 1901. Days Out with Thomas are on 4, 5 and 6 July and 6 and 7 September. Entry prices vary, Steaming Open Days cost £11 for adults, £10 seniors and £8 for children. www.bucksrailwaycentre.org
BY THE WATER
Wycombe Rye Lido
The Lido offers much more than just outdoor pools, which are open until October. Recently refurbished, this is a great place for families to cool off. There’s a pool timetable online and prices are £5 for adults and £3 for children. www.fusion-lifestyle.com
Longridge Activity Centre
Try kayaking, dragon boating, rowing, bell boating, rafting, power boating and sailing before going on land to experience lots more activities at the Marlow centre. www.longridge.org.uk
One of the best places to watch birds is at Tring reservoirs. You can spot ospreys, yellow wagtails, bitterns, snipes, plus many more.
The site is of Special Scientific Interest. hertswildlifetrust.org.uk
Willen Lake and Park
The Parks Trust owns Willen Lake and Park and there’s a host of land and water-based activities to try. Perhaps sailing, windsurfing, archery, the high ropes adventure – or simply sit back and relax with a picnic and watch everyone else playing hard. Don’t forget the Dragon Boat Festival at the Park on 22 June. Visit www.theparkstrust.com
Salters operate cruises in Marlow, Henley, Windsor and Reading. Trips can last just over an hour depending on which you choose, plus they have outings such as the picnic cruise, jazz cruise and even an Alice in Wonderland event. 01865 243421, www.salterssteamers.co.uk
If you visit www.waddesdon.org.uk and go to the what’s on listing you will be able to pick and choose from a plethora of events, from theatre including Romeo and Juliet and Sense and Sensibility to summer night screenings of Skyfall and Some Like it Hot.
Just outside High Wycombe, the former home of Victorian Prime Minister Disraeli has beautiful gardens and a house to explore. There’s a theatrical treat on 28 June with Macbeth in the formal garden, adults £16, children £12. www.nationaltrust.org.uk/hughenden
With so many significant anniversaries, this is a big year for Bletchley Park, open daily from 9.30 to 5pm throughout the summer. It’s 60 years since the death of computer pioneer Alan Turing, and his nephew, Dermot Turing, will provide a family perspective on 15 June. There are many family events throughout the summer. www.bletchleypark.org.uk
Stowe Landscape Gardens
Follow in the footsteps of 18th century tourists and marvel at Stowe’s gardens for almost 350 years. They stretch over 250 acres and include lawns, lakes, woods and temples. www.nationaltrust.org.uk/stowe
Milton Keynes City Discovery Centre
The picturesque Scheduled Ancient Monument at Bradwell Abbey is home to the visitor centre that reveals all about Milton Keynes’s urban geography and the town’s historical and natural heritage. Tour the site on the first Sunday of each month until October. Other plans include Archaeology Week from 25 to 27 July and a Medieval Fair on 14 September. www.mkcdc.org.uk
Always worth visiting, Woburn Abbey hosts ‘The Gardener’s Garden Show’ on 21 and 22 June. Learn new skills and buy plants and garden items. Pippa Greenwood, a regular contributor on BBC Radio 4’s Gardener’s Question Time is among the experts attending. www.woburnabbey.co.uk
Buckingham Old Gaol
The castle-like former prison built in 1748 is now a museum, gift shop and bookstore, open Monday to Saturday. The little market town is a great place to tour. Civic Day, organised by the Buckingham Society, is on 21 June, and celebrates the town. www.buckinghamoldgaol.org.uk
BACK TO NATURE
To the east of High Wycombe there is a wide expanse of grassland called ‘The Rye’. There is an artificial lake, bounded by hanging beech woods, a nature trail, fishing and boating on the lake. To get there, put HP11 1AD in your sat nav.
One of the best ways to see outstanding scenery is a walk, cycle or ride along The Ridgeway. Make your way from the Chilterns to the Vale of the White Horse. www.nationaltrail.co.uk/ridgeway
Time out with the Trust
At College Lake Nature Reserve near Tring the Wildlife Trust are hosting a Solstice evening guided walk from 6.30pm on 21 June. Learn all about the wildfowl, wildlife and the management of the site. Book on 01442 826774. www.bbowt.org.uk
ARTS & CULTURE
Garsington Opera at Wormsley
This season marks Wormsley’s 25th anniversary. The season begins on Friday, 6 June and features a revival of Beethoven’s Fidelio, the British premiere of Wert-Vert and Janacek’s 20th century masterpiece The Cunning Little Vixen. Ticket prices start from £102 on weekdays and £112 weekends. www.garsingtonopera.org
Evita at Aylesbury
The wonderful West End show Evita is at the Waterside Theatre from 14 to 19 July. Tickets cost from £11.90 to £35.90. www.atgtickets.com
Midsomer Murder tours
If you’re a fan of the TV series, then you need to take a guided tour of the locations. There are different types to try, some involving a four night all inclusive package visiting historic hotels and locations, others are simply a day in the villages, with no site admissions. www.visitmidsomer.com
THE BIG EVENTS
Stoke Park concerts
Two world stars are coming to play in the beautiful hotel’s grounds, beginning with Sir Elton John, in aid of Sportsaid, the charity which helps young sports people achieve their ambitions, on 28 June. Then it’s the turn of Katherine Jenkins OBE, performing on Sunday, 29 June, her birthday. See www.stokepark.com.
Henley Royal Regatta
The place to be from 2 to 6 July with its mix of top class competition on the river and a feast of entertainment in the historic and picturesque town. See www.hrr.co.uk.
With a line up including Bryan Ferry, Joss Stone, Burt Bacharach, The Jacksons and Rebecca Ferguson, Henley continues its summer of fun from 9 to 13 July. See www.henley-festival.co.uk.
Antiques Roadshow at Chenies Manor
On 3 July, take along your family heirlooms and valuables to Chenies Manor to have them valued by the experts from the Antiques Roadshow. Doors open at 9.30am and entry is free. Even if you don’t want anything valued, you can go along to watch the action unfold. www.cheniesmanorhouse.co.uk
Betty Boo, Robin S, Ce Ce Peniston, Dub Pistols and Whigfield. If you remember all those artists, then you can see them again at the Penn Festival at The Big Park between 13 and 20 July. There’s a camping field available, as well as food and drink. Weekend tickets are £60 for adults and £19 for children. penn.gigantic.com
Beaconsfield Country Fayre
In the last seven years, the country fayre has raised over £100,000 for local charities and this August Bank Holiday they are hoping to add to that. The Stretcher Race is the main event, other attractions include an inflatable slide, climbing wall and balloon race. The fun starts at 11am. www.beaconsfieldcountryfair.org
The Bucks County Show
This year’s show takes place on Thursday, 28 August at Weedon Park, near Aylesbury. Just some of the things to look forward to are The Sheep Show, and rural demonstrations, plus there will be a shopping marquee, food hall, countryside area and over 200 trade stalls. Tickets in advance cost £11.50 for adults, £5 for children and under-5s are free. www.buckscountyshow.co.uk
This warm-up for Wimbledon at Stoke Park takes place from 17 to 21 June, with the final day featuring a top class exhibition match for the Boodles Trophy. A chance to enjoy tennis and some food and drink treats in superb surroundings. See www.stokepark.com.
There are some major events at Silverstone, including the Formula 1 Santander British Grand Prix from 4 to 6 July. There’s a concert by the Kaiser Chiefs too, on 3 July. Tickets to see the Chiefs cost £37.50 online and tickets for the Grand Prix vary. www.silverstone.co.uk
Heading closer to autumn now, the carnival takes place on Saturday, 20 September at Higginson Park. This year’s promises to entertain everyone with live musical entertainment, food stalls, adventure boot camp and children’s fairground rides. marlowcarnival.co.uk
Thame Food Festival
Mark your diaries for Saturday, 27 September for the last big event before autumn kicks in. This really is a feast of food and drink treats and grows every year. www.thamefoodfestival.co.uk
The polo season
A day at the polo means you can watch exciting competition while enjoying all the treats, whether it’s one of the big days attracting glamorous stars, or a local tournament where rivalries are clear to see on the field.
In Bucks, Lacey Green Polo Club has fixtures throughout the summer, see www.laceygreenpoloclub.com. Guards Polo Club at Smiths Lawn, Windsor, hosts the prestigious Cartier Queen’s Cup Final on 15 June. Book grandstand tickets and parking at www.guardspoloclub.com.
From 17 to 21 June Ascot will be full of ladies and gents on their way to the races. Spoil yourself and experience lunch in the fine dining restaurant. Grandstand admission on the day costs £65-£75 (Silver Ring £25-37). www.ascot.co.uk.
The Pavilion Spa at Cliveden is a perfect place to relax, rain or shine. It has an outdoor heated pool, outdoor Canadian hot tubs and sunbeds in the walled garden. Inside you can try whirlpool spas, steam room and sauna. A day of luxury costs from £99. www.clivedenhouse.co.uk
Book a tour at Daws Hill Vineyard, Radnage, and spend two to three hours in beautiful scenery, visiting the winery to discover how it’s all turned into the perfect fizz, and tastings of course. Just £10 a head, with £5 off any purchased wine. www.dawshillvineyard.co.uk
Spend a day by or on the river at Boulter’s Lock near Maidenhead. Start with crazy golf before popping by Jenners Riverside café for well-deserved refreshment. Just across the river is Ray Mill Island and Boulters Restaurant serving great food with great views. At the park on the island there are lovely walks as well as an aviary and guinea pig enclosure.
Combine a romantic lunch with a gentle shopping stroll in our pretty towns and villages. Try the nibbles at local farmer’s markets such as those at Beaconsfield on the fourth Saturday of the month, Little Chalfont on the second Saturday of the month, High Wycombe on the second Wednesday of the month and Princes Risborough on the third Thursday of the month. www.local-farmers-markets.co.uk