High Wycombe Things to Do

  • Dashwood Mausoleum at dusk
    Dashwood Mausoleum at dusk
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    The Rye
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Best Rated Things to Do in High Wycombe

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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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    West Wycombe Park

    by SallyM Written Mar 11, 2007

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    West Wycombe Park house

    West Wycombe Park is an 18th century house, built for Sir Francis Dashwood, a founder member of the Hellfire Club. The house has often been used in films and television series.

    The surrounding grounds are landscaped with Greek Temples.

    The village of West Wycombe, containing cottages and inns dating from the 16th to 18th centuries, is owned by the National Trust.

    Other things to see in the village include the man-made Hellfire Caves, the Dashwood family mausoleum and the church, which has a golden ball on the top.

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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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    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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    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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    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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    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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    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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    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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    Wycombe Swan Theatre

    by SallyM Written Mar 15, 2008

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    View of Wycombe Swan from High Street

    Wycombe Swan is a 1000-seat theatre in the centre of High Wycombe. It host a range of touring productions and acts from plays to stand-up comedy and musical tribute acts.

    As well as the main auditorium, the adjacent Town Hall also forms part of the venue and is used for smaller productions/events.

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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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    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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    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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    Not exactly the Trevi fountain is it ?

    by sourbugger Written May 6, 2004

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    Water water everywhere...

    It comes to something when the most interesting thing in the town is a windsept piece of pedestrianised road with a fountain coming up out of the pavement.

    It looks nice enough, but due to lack of maintenance (I presume) the jets of water are not all balanced, which rather spoils the effect.

    I presume that the fountains are put to good use on rowdy Saturday nights for impromptu wet tee-shirt competions - but I'm only guessing !

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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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