16 things to do this summer in Buckinghamshire
PUBLISHED: 16:05 24 July 2015 | UPDATED: 16:05 24 July 2015
Get those diaries out and plan some marvellous days in Buckinghamshire to enjoy with friends and family. Sandra Smith picks her favourites
Wonder at Windmills
Our county’s windmills provide a wonderful connection with the past. Although many have been lost and others converted to homes over the years, it’s still possible to visit some outstanding examples. Plan a great day out with lunch in a local pub.
Lacey Green Windmill, the oldest smock windmill in the country and situated on the Chilterns Hills escarpment, is open to the public every Sunday afternoon throughout July and August.
The 17th century windmill was saved from dereliction when it was acquired by Chiltern Society volunteers in 1971 and fully restored. Over 200 people took advantage of guided tours around it over a May weekend when it opened to mark the Society’s Golden Jubilee and as part of National Mills Weekend.
There were competitions and games for families, special celebrations cakes baked by Princes Risborough’s Pretty Perfect Cakes and a visit from MP David Lidington, on his first official visit since being re-elected in the general election. See www.laceygreenwindmill.org.uk.
Quainton Windmill near Aylesbury is a great place for kids to learn about the history of windmills, and this one in particular. It was originally restored in the 1970s and is undergoing further restoration at the moment, (the sails have been removed) but it is still an interesting place to visit. There are six floors to explore, each with something different to discover from the knowledgeable and friendly volunteers. Entry is £3 for adults, £1 for children, under 5s free.
Quainton Windmill is on The Village Green, Quainton, Aylesbury HP22 4AY, www.quaintonwindmill.org.uk.
In last month’s issue we told how the 17th century Grade 2 listed l Brill windmill had been handed over to villagers by the county council. The windmill opens to the public with the support of Brill Society Volunteers from 2pm to 5pm every Sunday until the last Sunday in September, admission: adults £2, children 50p, concessions £1.
Pitstone Windmill, one of the oldest survivors in Britain, is now owned by the National Trust and opens on summer Sundays between 2.30 and 6pm. See www.nationaltrust.org.uk/pitstone-windmill.
RSPCA Blackberry Farm - 26 July
Even your pet dog is invited along to this summer treat when Blackberry Farm hosts a Fun Day and Dog Show. As well as doggie games there’ll be craft stalls and refreshments.
Monks Risborough Horticultural Show - 1 August
Vegetables, cakes, floral art and handicrafts are some of the items which will be judged and displayed at this annual show, taking place on Risborough Rangers Football Field.
Chalfont St Giles Show - 5 September
This year’s show, at Cameron Farm, includes a Falconry Centre, Sheep Show and hundreds of traders. There is ample on site parking but shuttle buses will also run from the village centre.
Summer Collection - 10 July to 16 August
English summer meadows, beaches and the British coastline are the inspiration behind Obsidian Art’s Summer Collection which includes a range of media from over 50 British artists and makers.
Craft Market - 26 July
Local artists and ethically sourced goods come together for Dakini Craft Market in Wendover Woods. Products for sale include jewellery, photographic art, jams and chutneys. Be sure to put the date in your diary.
Head into Town
Spice things up
It’s Frosts Garden Centre’s famous Chilli Festival in Milton Keynes from August 29 to 31. Now in its sixth year and one of the biggest Chilli Festivals in the country, there will be a variety of exhibitors selling a huge variety of chilli and non-chilli related products, plus there’s the largest and hottest ranges of chilli plants available anywhere in the UK. There’s a small charge of £3 per person this year, but it’s free to under 16s.
Frosts Garden Centre, Newport Road, Woburn Sands, Milton Keynes MK17 8UE.
Marlow Carnival - 19 September
Such is the success of this annual event, it is now a Marlow tradition that boasts an enviable community spirit and 2015’s carnival looks set to be bigger and better than ever.
Step back in time
Take a trip back to rural England in the l930s at Bekonscot Model Village in Beaconsfield. Discover the ultimate train set, as well as a sit-on railway (not a model one), remote controlled boats, kiddie rides and a pirate water feature. There’s also a tearoom, gift shop, playground and lots of picnic areas, disabled facilities. For adults, entry costs £9.80, children £5.80, a family ticket is £28 and children under two free.
Beckonscot Model Village, Warwick Road, Beaconsfield HP9 2PL.
Tel 01494 672919, www.bekonscot.co.uk
Odds Farm Park
Meet the farmers and get close to the animals at Odds Farm Park, Wooburn Common. Stroke bunnies, hand feed goats and sheep, meet cheeky pigs and more and take part in the daily animal activities and demonstration programme. If the weather takes a turn, head to the Indoor Playbarn with its massive adventure play area, swinging ropes and lots more.
Tickets are £9.95 for adults, children £8.95, seniors £8.95 and under twos free.
Odds Farm Park, Wooburn Common Road, Wooburn Common, High Wycombe HP10 0LX. Tel 01628 520188, www.oddsfarm.co.uk.
You can Go Ape at Swinley Forest near Bracknell, at Black Park Country Park between Iver Heath and Slough, or head up to the northern crest of the Chilterns where Wendover Woods offers a very unique challenge for those feeling brave enough, with the Go Ape new ‘Extreme’ route. It includes a scrambling net and climbing wall before your tree top adventure even begins. Enjoy the sweeping views across Aylesbury Vale while sailing down a 140m zip wire or treading carefully along a 20m long crossing. Various ticket prices depending on age, what you do and how long you stay, see goape.co.uk.
Big Camping Weekend - 17 to 19 July
Stowe Landscape Gardens’ camping weekend features campfire treats by the Temple of Friendship, open water swimming, garden games and a night time glow worm walk. And why not also take the opportunity to explore the 250 acres of landscape gardens?
Take to the water at Longridge
Kayaking, bell boats, canoeing, dragonboats, sailing, rafting, climbing, fencing and gokarts. Set in a unique riverside location near Marlow, Longridge Activity Centre provides a range of exciting water sports and land-based activities. Run by a team of enthusiastic and dedicated volunteers and paid staff, they are approved by the BCU (British Canoe Union), RYA (Royal Yacht Association) and British Rowing. Go online for pricing and to see the many activities available at www.longridge.org.uk or call 033 0303 0101.
Longridge, Quarry Wood Road, Marlow SL7 1RE
Bucks County Show - 27 August
The Bolddog Lings Freestyle Stunt Team is one of the many attractions at Weedon Park along with a Home and Garden marquee, dancing sheep and 200 trade stands. Tickets cost just £12 if booked in advance and £15 on the day.
Wycombe Rye Lido
Just a short walk from High Wycombe town centre is Wycombe Rye Lido, which has been in use since the 1950s. As well as the outdoor pool there is a state of the art gym, 60 classes a week, an indoor cycling studio, tennis courts an outdoor pitches. Tickets to go swimming are £6 adults, children £4, students and concessions £4, family £16 and £1 for spectators.
The Rye, off Bassetsbury Lane, High Wycombe HP11 1QX. Tel 01494 769472.
Kids will love the Woodland Playground and Explorer Trail which takes you around two routes in the gardens at Waddesdon. Don’t forget to visit the aviary; built for Baron Ferdinand in 1889, it has some 150 birds including 38 different species. There are lots of events happening throughout the summer, including outdoor theatre and photography workshops.
Entry is £18 for adults, £9 children and £45 for a family ticket. Children under 5 free.
Waddesdon manor, Aylesbury HP18 0JH. Tel. 01296 653226, www.waddesdon.org.uk.