PUBLISHED: 17:59 17 September 2008 | UPDATED: 08:57 21 February 2013
In a recent survey, it's the richest town in Britain. No wonder it's got some very exclusive shops, says Tessa Harris...
Images: Russell Witherington
Old Beaconsfield is an historic market town that's held on to its lovely architecture and wide main streets. It still holds a market every Tuesday morning where you can buy fresh fish, fruit, clothes and gifts. A farmers' market is also held every fourth Saturday of the month.
So why is Old Beaconsfield worth a visit?
Think upmarket, individual shops with some great places to eat, coupled with on-street parking - bliss!
What will we find?
If you want the bigger chains, head for the new town a couple of miles down the road. In Old Beaconsfield they go for quality rather than quantity, so in the main street, Windsor End, you'll find quite a few small shops that cater for the exclusive end of the market as well as the essentials, such as a pharmacy and a newsagent.
How do we get there?
The Old Town lies just off junction of the M40, or just north of Slough on the A355.
Where can we park?
The good thing about parking in the Old Town is that it's unrestricted except for a small piece in Wycombe End side. The down side of this is that office workers tend to leave their cars parked all day, making it harder for shoppers to find a space.
What's on offer?
If you're looking for things for your home you've come to the right place. Start off in London End where you'll find Peter Knight housed in an imposing black Georgian building. The company has been furnishing the homes of the rich and famous for several decades (It holds a Royal warrant.) The store was given a complete makeover last year and now covers two floors of furniture and accessories.
Also in London End you'll find Cox & Cox, another Aladdin's cave of gorgeous things for the home. Six rooms on two floors of the showroom display an impressive range of fabrics, from Ralph Lauren and Pierre Frey to Ian Sanderson, Mulberry and Manuel Canovas. Handmade upholstered chairs and sofas, curtains, blinds and loose covers are made in their own workshops.
If you're thinking about a new fireplace this winter, head for The Beacon Fireplace Company. They stock a huge range of fireplaces in all styles, both contemporary and traditional. They are also an official stockist for Chesney's stone and marble reproduction fireplaces, which are recognised for their authenticity and quality by leading conservationists. As well as offering baskets, grates and firedogs, they will advise on planning and installation.
And if a new kitchen is on the cards, We Love Kitchens offers a design service from start to finish that's been established in the town for four years. They deal with big names such as Alno, Blanco, Gaggenau and Miele and have a huge range of styles, from hand-painted to glossy units. Their designers specialise in solving tricky design problems.
Forever Green is a delightful shop whose owner Debby Connell certainly has a love of flowers and an eye for design detail. The shop has two or three deliveries of fresh flowers a day and specialises in creating the country look, so you'll find lovely long-stemmed roses, delphiniums and snowberries alongside tropical blooms like Debby's gift ranges are also popular. Scented candles, lanterns and items for the garden all make super presents.
Musicians from all over the country go to Rosehill Instruments. "Our last two customers this afternoon came from Colchester and near Bournemouth," says proprietor Paul Austin, who took over the reins from his father Trevor who started the business 40 years ago. The shop specialises in brass instruments, so if you're after a tuba, trombone or trumpet, Paul's your man.
Another destination shop is Norton and Newby in Windsor End. It's a favourite with riders from all over the area and stocks everything from riding wear to saddles.
Surprisingly, ladies' fashion isn't well-catered for in this very chic small town, but you will find hats at Felicity Hat Hire. Dinah Roberts runs the franchise and whole her busiest time of the year is just prior to Royal Ascot, she is always busy throughout the summer with wedding hat hire. She has three major deliveries a year, but regularly updates her supply of fascinators. There are also some designs that are exclusive to Felicity. Prices start at £19.50 and go up to £69.95.
When we've shopped till we've dropped?
The Old Tea House at Windsor End is popular for a light lunch or a cream tea, while nearby The Saracen's Head offers a pleasant environment for a coffee.