High Wycombe Things to Do

  • Dashwood Mausoleum at dusk
    Dashwood Mausoleum at dusk
    by budapest8
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  • The Rye
    The Rye
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Most Recent Things to Do in High Wycombe

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    The Water Pole

    by SallyM Updated Jan 22, 2012

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    The water feature
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    In Cardiff, they have a huge water feature outside the Millennium Centre, which takes the form of a steel tower with water cascading down it. This iconic monument has achieved even greater fame since it featured in the BBC TV series Torchwood as the entrance to the secret Torchwood base.

    Wycombe's new Eden development has aimed for something similar. But smaller. Much smaller. Instead of a water tower, it is more of a water pole.

    In the early stages of planning Eden there were discussions about opening up the river Wye, which runs in a culvert through this part of town, but they ended up with this. Wycombe has a reputation for duff water features. Not long ago, the local council spent a lot of money on a 'fountain' for the Frogmoor area, but it never worked properly.

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    Hughenden Manor

    by SallyM Updated Feb 18, 2011

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    Hughenden Manor
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    Hughenden Manor is the former home of Victorian Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli, which he bought in 1848. It is located a mile or two outside the town.

    The house has typical Victorian decor and one room is a museum relating to Disraeli. The display relating to Disraeli was changed in 2008, so that instead of display cases in the centre of the room, there are lots of cabinets with drawers to pull out. This means that they can show a lot more material to visitors, but it doesn't work so well when the place is busy. Upstairs there is a room with memorabilia of the 1878 Congress of Berlin, including a wooden fan autographed by all the participants.

    If you are not interested in Disraeli, it is still worth a visit as an example of a Victorian country house. Another new development is the opening up of the 'below stairs' area.

    During the Second World War, the manor was used as a secret intelligence base code-named "Hillside". Occasionally, special tours relating to this period are offered - check the National Trust website for details.

    There is also a formal garden, orchard and parkland, as well as a National Trust shop and tea room. In 2010 a secondhand bookshop is being opened in the Stable Block. There is also a plant sale area. The National Trust often organise events during the year. Look out for 'Apple Day' in October.

    The Parish Church, where Disraeli is buried, is a short walk through the park. At weekends, you can get a cream tea at the Church House.

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    Red Lion

    by SallyM Updated Feb 18, 2011

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    The Red Lion

    Prime Ministers Winston Churchill and Benjamin Disraeli both made speeches at the Red Lion Hotel in Wycombe High Street.

    The lion now adorns what used to be Woolworth's* in the High Street.

    *Woolworth's is now occupied by Poundland and Iceland.

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    Bradenham

    by SallyM Updated Apr 18, 2010

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    Bradenham Manor front
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    The picturesque village of Bradenham, 4 miles north-west of High Wycombe is owned by the National Trust. Cottages cluster round a village green and cricket pitch, with a church and 17th century manor in the background.

    The manor house, which was the childhood home of Prime Minister and novelist Benjamin Disraeli, is now used as a conference and wedding venue and not generally open to the public, but the gardens are being restored by the National Trust and are opened to the public a few times each year. See the 'events' link on the National Trust website (below) for details.

    The house was built in 1655 by Sir Edmund Pye, on the site of an earlier house. The D'Israeli family lived there from 1828 to 1847. Although the manor was gifted to the National Trust in the 1950s, work to restore the gardens, which include a Victorian Summer Border, Parterre Garden, Wilderness Garden, Walled Garden and Orchard, only began in 2000.

    On open days, admission to the garden is £3 (NT members free) and tea and cakes are available.

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    Hell Fire Caves

    by budapest8 Written Nov 14, 2009
    Pumkin time is Halloween
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    Halloween is never something we had as a child.
    Bonfire night, November 5th with fireworks was the big day.
    Now the shops want to sell more and stretch out Christmas
    even further, so they can get people into the shops to buy
    more stuff.

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    Hell Fire Caves

    by budapest8 Written Nov 13, 2009
    Hell Fire Caves, High Wycombe
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    I lived in High Wycombe for the first 6 years of my life, and my very first memories
    all came flashing back when I visited High Wycombe a few weeks ago for the 1st time
    in 45 years.
    My absence from Britain for 3 years made the return more nostalgic, and every year as I get older it seems that one seeks harder back to ones childhood memories and places. I was staying the weekend with Philip an old dear friend from my kibbutz years in Israel back in the late 70's. He lived about half an hours drive away in Iver also situated in Buckinghamshire, the same county and his 2 daughters were also born in the same town as me. After a pit stop at Sainsbury's for supplies for a picnic with exotic foods we sought out the house where I was born
    on 484 High Wycombe Road. Accompanied by Clara my 11 year old daughter and Philip we found the house after a quick call to both my mother and father of it's exact location. The memories came flooding back as though I was somehow transported back in time.
    Walking with my younger sister and pushing the other sometimes in her pram
    to the hills just a few minutes walk down the road through West Wycombe Village.

    The place and the name conjures up dark images, and rightly so if one were to delve into it's history and even some of the rumours about what really happened there prove to be more terrifying than one could imagine with new facts coming to light. Even as a wee child I remember
    the market like stalls outside the caves entrance selling the strangest of knick-knacks, trinkets and evil looking souvenirs. I thought this place were the very gates of hell, the strange place with the trinkets dangling and sometimes tinkling in a slight breeze created a fascination that quelled any fear of horned devils or dragons coming out of the caves. It appeared more as a sort of Santa's Grotto with presents as people came from miles around, so I reasoned by the willingness of people coming and the complete lack of fear on adults faces that there was anything to be afraid of.
    We often had picnics on a Welsh wool blanket on the nearby the Chiltern hillside on warm days so remember the open spaces nearby and I have no recollection of actually going inside the caves. Just next to the caves is a pathway leading up the grassy chalk hillside on the left hand side, quite steep even as you reach the top of the hill where the Dashwood Mausoleum, a vast hexagonal monument built of Portland stone and flint built in 1765 for the final resting place for members of the Dashwood family. The top of the hill gives a wonderful view of the surrounding area and West Wycombe Park can be seen opposite in the distance. On a warm summers day one can sometimes see Red Kites soaring above the rolling hills seeking out prey of mice and voles below. Right behind the Mausoleum is the magnificent 18th century Church of St. Lawrence
    with its golden ball on the top of the spire. is a well-known landmark and is visible for many miles. It has a spectacular ornate painted interior. I wouldn't fancy having to have been one of it's congregation a hundred years ago on a snowy or rainy winter Sunday morning making the trek to this hill top place of worship. It's Ironic that the Hell Fire Caves situated below and the church right above as to symbolise heaven and hell.

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    Hellfire Caves

    by SallyM Updated Aug 3, 2008

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    The gothic entrance to the Hellfire Caves
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    These artificial caves were dug into the side of a hill at West Wycombe during in the 1740s, on the orders of the local landowner, the notorious Sir Francis Dashwood, who wanted to create employment for the locals during an economic slump following three failed harvests. The excavated chalk was used to build a road to the neighbouring town of High Wycombe, now the A40.

    at the time, creation of artificial landscapes and temples was popular among the nobility. The grounds of West Wycombe Park, Sir Francis' home provide a good example. Creating artificial caves was however taking this fashion to extremes. The design is supposed to reflect Greek myth, and the small stream at the end is known as the river Styx.

    The caves were later used for occasional meetings of the infamous Hellfire Club, of which Sir Francis was the founder. No one knows for sure what exactly went on at its meetings.

    When a much later Sir Francis Dashwood opened the caves as a tourist attraction in the twentieth century, he added some waxwork tableaux to provide extra interest. The end of the tour is the 'Inner Temple' where you can see an imagined recreation of a Hellfire meeting.

    I was first taken here over thirty years ago as a child, but had to be taken out again. I was surprised on revisiting to find that the caves seemed longer than I had remembered (the tunnels extend half a mile or so).

    The caves are quite dark in places, and the ground can be a little uneven. Wear sensible footwear and a jacket (it is cold in there).

    Admission is £5 (£4 concessions and National Trust members) - Summer 2008

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    Country Walk

    by SallyM Written Jun 8, 2008

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    The Ridgeway near Princes Risborough
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    Take the train to Little Kimble and walk back through the countryside to Princes Risborough passing Iron Age hill forts, medieval churches and Whiteleaf Cross (a large cross cut into the chalk hillside). Part of the route follows the ancient Ridgeway path.

    From Princes Risborough you can catch a train back to High Wycombe.

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    Wycombe Museum

    by SallyM Updated Apr 12, 2008

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    Wycombe Museum is a local history museum operated by the local council. It is based in an 18th-century house.

    There are hands-on activities for children, and permanent displays about the history of furniture making in the Wycombe area (including a reconstruction of a bodger's hut*), and other local history, as well as temporary exhibitions.

    At the moment (Spring 2008) there is a temporary exhibition of photographs of Wycombe's past. A video screen in the corner scrolls continuously through a selection of 15,000 images - it's strangely addictive.

    Limited refreshments are available in the kitchen.

    *"Bodgers" were people who worked in the local beechwoods, turning tree trunks into chair legs.

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    All Saints Parish Church

    by SallyM Written Mar 21, 2008

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    All Saints Parish Church, High Wycombe
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    There has been a church on this site since the 11th century. The current building dates from the late thirteenth century, with later additions. The existing tower was built in 1522, and the pinacles were added in 1755. The church was restored in Victorian times, and again in the late 20th century.

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    Frogmoor

    by SallyM Updated Mar 21, 2008

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    Easter funfair
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    Frogmoor is a square (well, paved area) towards the west of the town centre. It is notable for a failed attempt at a fountain, and some rather dodgy pubs.

    Sometimes a 'French Market' is held here.

    To celebrate the opening of the Eden development, they set up a ferris wheel, and for Easter they had old-fashioned funfair rides.

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    Chenies Manor

    by SallyM Updated Mar 20, 2008

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    Chenies Manor

    A little bit further afield, but still within easy driving distance of High Wycombe, Chenies Manor is a Tudor manor house (the oldest parts of the current building date back to 1460). Both Henry VIII and Elizabeth I visited the manor.

    As well as its historical interest, the manor is also famous for its beautiful gardens. It's particularly known for the displays of tulips from mid-April to mid-May.

    It is open April to October on Wednesdays and Thursdays and Bank Holiday Mondays from 2.00 p.m to 5.00 p.m.

    Refreshments, including homemade cakes are available.

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    Bekonscot

    by SallyM Written Mar 20, 2008

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    Miniature funfair at Bekonscot
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    OK, this is actually in Beaconsfield, not High Wycombe, but it's not far away (only one stop on Chiltern Railways if you don't have a car).

    Bekonscot is supposed to be the oldest model village in the world. It is actually more than just one village - there are six communities linked by miniature trains. I used to come here a lot when I was a child and was fascinated by the trains.

    It was created in the 1930s and provides a snapshot of what English life was like in that period. There have been later additions such as a model of 'Green Hedges', the Beaconsfield home of children's author Enid Blyton, which was demolished to make way for a housing estate.

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    Poohsticks in the park

    by SallyM Written Mar 17, 2008

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    View from the bridge

    Hughenden park is a good place for family picnics. If the stream is running (it is a chalk bourne, so sometimes it dries up), it is also good for paddling or playing poohsticks from one of the two little bridges.

    For those who are not familiar with Winnie the Pooh, the idea of poohsticks is that everyone drops a stick into the stream on the upstream side of the bridge, then dashes to the other to see whose comes out the other side first.

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    The Rye

    by SallyM Written Mar 15, 2008

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    The Rye

    The Rye is a large park area to the east of the town centre. The river Wye (well, it's more of a large stream, really) runs alongside, and there are football pitches and a children's play area. Occasionally a funfair or other event is held here.

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High Wycombe Things to Do

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Wycombe town centre has a 1,000 seat theatre, a multiplex cinema and a bowling alley, as well as shops, pubs and clubs. 

Seasonal things to do include the annual Mayor-weighing...

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