High Wycombe: shopping, sport and stand out shows...
PUBLISHED: 17:09 10 June 2013 | UPDATED: 17:09 10 June 2013
This Buckinghamshire town provides excellent modern shopping facilities and plenty to see and do, says Katy Eachus.
The name High Wycombe comes from the River Wye and Combe, meaning a wooded valley. This industrial and market town has undergone many reincarnations in its history. It has been known for its lace and linen manufacture in Medieval and Tudor times, its paper industry in the 17th and 18th centuries, and for furniture manufacture in the 19th and 20th centuries.
Some 18th and 19th century buildings remain in the High Street, which was predestrianised in the 1990s, including the colonnaded Guildhall built in 1757 and the small octagonal-shaped Cornmarket opposite, known as the Pepper Pot, which was rebuilt to designs by Robert Adam in 1761.
A large redevelopment five years ago saw the creation of the Eden Shopping Centre, as well as new housing and leisure facilities. More shops can be found in the Chilterns Centre and the Cressex business park. The town is easily reachable by train, there is plenty of town centre parking, as well as a park and ride service.
Things to do include visiting the Swan theatre or relaxing on the Rye, enjoying the parkland setting witgh both the River Wye and The Dyke, a lake with some permit fishing allowed. Wycombe Museum, which is set in beautiful grounds, is a great place to discover the history of the district and view the famous collection of Windsor chairs. Hughenden Manor on the town’s northern fringes, country home to Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli in the nineteenth century, is open to the public all year round. And West Wycombe is not to be missed. There’s the Palladian manor house, Hell Fire Caves and church with a golden ball on top, not to mention a fascinating and historic village centre with interesting shops.
So much to see at Eden
Eden Shopping Centre, High Wycombe has fast become the fashion shopping destination in Buckinghamshire. Conveniently located in the centre of town, it’s easy to get to and has ample parking. Anchored by House of Fraser and M&S, the centre has a great mix of favourite stores such as Superdry, Monsoon, Zara, Next, Pandora, L’Occitane and Lush. You can find a fantastic range of fashion brands and browse new collections at House of Fraser including Biba, White Stuff, Whistles, Ted Baker, NW3 by Hobbs, Mango and more.
After you’ve indulged in a little retail therapy you can eat in one of the many restaurants, including Wagamamas, Yo!Sushi, Nando’s and Zizzi. And top it off with a trip to the cinema or a spot of bowling.
DON’T MISS! Eden’s Summer Fashion Show Weekend on Saturday and Sunday, 11 and 12 May showcases this season’s hottest trends and uncovers the latest colours, shapes and styles from the catwalk. Enjoy four daily catwalk shows, expert fashion tips from Eden’s Style Advisor, competitions, giveaways and lots more.
Tel: 01494 768 068 www.edenshopping.co.uk
Did you know High Wycombe is within shooting distance of an award winning shooting ground? EJChurchill has a rich history that stretches back more than a century and is the only shooting business in the UK with a shooting ground, gun making operation, country clothing and gun shop, and sporting agency. It’s also home to West Wycombe Corporate Entertainment, which offers a comprehensive range of activities and facilities for any event from corporate functions to stag and hen parties.
Set amidst 40 acres of woodland on the West Wycombe Estate, the shooting ground comprises over 100 clay shooting stands and six clay shooting disciplines. With an established reputation for outstanding shooting and instruction, the school caters for everyone from absolute beginners, right through to experienced shots. There is even a Young Guns Academy for children aged 8-18 years.
Tel: 01494 883 227 www.ejchurchill.com
Pick of the crop
Established since 1988, The Apple Orchard in the nearby village of West Wycombe sells fine furniture and intriguing gifts in its 13 showrooms, housed in two wonderful 17th century buildings. Ranges include bedroom furniture, bookcases, cabinets, kitchen island units, tables and dressers. The business is run by husband and wife team, Huw and Carolyn Meyrick. Carolyn does all the buying and merchandising whilst Huw handles deliveries, and assists Carolyn with the day-to-day running of The Apple Orchard. An interior design service is offered in conjunction with Helen Jane Interiors.
Tel: 01494-528-328 www.the appleorchard.com www.Facebook.com/TheAppleOrchardshop
Imbue Kitchens in Cressex Business Park create highly original kitchens, bedrooms and living spaces. With over 20 years of experience in the industry, the team has the expertise and contacts to make choosing, designing and installing a project as simple and enjoyable as possible. At the beginning of the process, one of the designers will work with you to create a three dimensional CAD drawing of a kitchen or bedroom that perfectly matches your personal style, lifestyle and your budget. Ranges include Aspire British kitchens, Couture bespoke, and Leicht German contemporary kitchens.
Tel: 01494 888010 www.imbue.co.uk
Stand out shows
The Wycombe Swan theatre in St Mary Street opened in 1992 and is one the UK’s leading regional theatres, hosting many shows before or after their appearance in the West End. There’s a packed programme for May, including the Midnight Tango dance show starring Vincent Simone & Flavia Cacace, and bitesize ballet from The Birmingham Royal Ballet. Children will love The Gruffalos’s Child. Other shows include Evil Blyton’s The Fearless Four, and Hormonal Housewives. There’s stand-up comedy from Sean Lock, Julian Clary, Greg Davies, The Lumberjacks and Josh Widdicombe. And music, from the That’ll Be The Day rock and roll variety show, to the Wycombe Orpheus Male Voice Choir. Gift vouchers are available and are valid at any HQ theatre for 12 months. The theatre is also home to the Wycombe Swan Youth Theatre, which runs workshops and presents an annual show.
Tel: 01494 512000 www.wycombeswan.co.uk
Fired Earth’s High Wycombe showroom in Crest Road has comprehensive and inspiring displays of the beautiful wall and floor tiles for which the company is renowned. There are tiles for every style of home and budget, from low-maintenance porcelain, and decorative English craft tiles, to jewel-like glass mosaics and timeless stone and marble collections. All three Fired Earth paint ranges are available instore, offering an extensive and versatile palette of colours, and there’s a fantastic selection of wallpapers too. The showroom also includes kitchen displays, as well as contemporary and traditional bathrooms. Friendly and knowledgeable staff are on hand to provide expert advice and to talk through schemes, so whether you’re planning a large renovation project or you simply want to give a room a quick update, you’ll find all the inspiration you need at Fired Earth in High Wycombe.
Tel: 01494 769 150 www.firedearth.com
New-look John Lewis
John Lewis High Wycombe in Cressex Business Park opened its doors in October 1988. It was the first of their stores to be built in an out of town location, which has the advantage of easy access and ample parking. Having experienced great success over the years, the store is undergoing a multi-million pound refurbishment this year, which will allow it introduce fashion, footwear and beauty to ever expanding product range.
The first phase of the £16million refurbishment began in April. Lisa Williams, managing director, John Lewis High Wycombe said: “It seems apt that in our 25th year we are investing to guarantee our long term presence in the region. Our multi-million pound investment will benefit local shoppers and will also contribute significantly to the vitality of the region with the creation of around 200 new jobs.”
John Lewis High Wycombe will be open throughout the refurbishment and activity will be carefully managed to minimise any impact on customers. The upgrade is due for completion in October 2013.
Tel: 01494 462666 www.johnlewis.com
High Wycombe has become synonomous with English professional rugby union team, London Wasps, famous for their black and yellow strip. Their history dates back to 1867. Notable players have included former England captain, Laurence Dallaglio. London Wasps play at Wycombe’s Adams Park. Traffic is usually very heavy around the stadium on match days but free park and ride and train and ride services are available. There is a Wasps Club shop selling kit and leisurewear in the Eden Centre.
Tel: 020 89938298 www.wasps.co.uk
If you’re looking for stylish lighting solutions, you’ll be pleased to hear about High Quality Lighting in London Road. In the new 3,000 sq ft showroom you’ll find a stunning selection of table lamps, ceiling lights, floor lamps, chandeliers, wall lights and bathroom lighting. The prestigious brands on sale include Wofi, Action, Metalux, Swarovski, Schonbek, Elstead and Kolarz. With over 20 years of experience, the company has in-depth knowledge of the industry. Home consultations, free local delivery and free fitting are available, and there is a full after sales service.
Tel: 01494 442264 www.highquality lighting.co.uk
It’s festival time
Wycombe Arts Festival runs for six weeks from April 27 with a host of exciting events in and around High Wycombe and Marlow.
Get directly involved, perhaps with a Design and Prop-Making workshop given by Garsington Opera, Digital Photography course with members of Wycombe Photographic Society, or a Creative Writing workshop for children, run by South Bucks Children’s Book Group. Also on offer are exclusive guided tours of Hughenden Manor and historic West Wycombe.
Musical events include the Festival Jazz Spectacular featuring the 5 Star Swing Band. With something for all tastes, there’s a recital by celebrated pianist Kathron Sturrock; folk music from Moonrakers; orchestral concerts given by the Chiltern Camerata, High Wycombe Choral Society, West Wycombe Sinfonia, young musicians from Wycombe’s Music Centre, a harp recital at Bradenham Manor, as well as a substantial series of lunchtime concerts.
Theatre productions include Blackbird, premiered at the Edinburgh International Festival in 2005 and awarded the Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Play in 2007; 84 Charing Cross Road, performed by Gabriel Woolf and Linda Hart, based on correspondence between an impecunious writer in New York, and a second hand bookseller in London; and also performances of Twelfth Night, The Hound of the Baskervilles and The Darling Buds of May.
See www.wycombeartsfestival.org, Twitter @WycombeArtsFestival, ticket hotline 01628 483597.
A realistic aircraft cabin and check-ins, for use by Air Transport students, is just one of the plans of Buckinghamshire New University as it begins a major overhaul of facilities and buildings.
The university also intends to add 108 bedrooms in two blocks at its three-acre Hughenden Park Student Village in Hughenden Road by September next year. Glass panels are to be installed in front of insulated walling on the side of its South Wing on Queen Alexandra Road, to complement its award-winning Gateway building and present a much more attractive face to the hospital. The university’s top floor will also be redeveloped, social space outside the University’s Students’ Union Venue near Lily’s Walk is set for expansion and upgraded facilities are planned for the Brook Street Halls of Residence.
Derek Godfrey, Deputy Vice Chancellor, said: “It is four years since Bucks New University opened our flagship Gateway building and we are delighted to have been given the green light to invest in further improving our facilities.”
Wycombe Abbey’s new altar
Prestigious independent school Wycombe Abbey commissioned furniture lecturers and graduates of Buckinghamshire New University to create a moveable oak altar. The table has now been blessed by the Rt Rev Dr Alan Wilson, Bishop of Buckingham, and is used for Communion each week.
It has hinged leaves and a dressing rail and handle with plates representing a feature of the school’s crest. Two wrought iron crosses, in the pattern of the crest, are attached to the front legs of the table.
School Chaplain, the Rev Jane Chaffey, said: “This is a perfect fit for the chapel and is both beautiful and useful. Wycombe Abbey School and Bucks New University are near neighbours and it is fantastic that we are able to work together to produce something like this.”
The altar table was designed and made by lecturers David Gillett and Alex Hellum, and BA (Hons) Furniture: Conservation Restoration & Decorative Arts graduate, Sam Hutchings.
Wycombe Abbey School has also agreed to pay a £100 annual bursary for five years for use by the BA (Hons) Furniture: Conservation, Restoration and Decorative Arts course.