Green fields and farmland broken up with hedges and hills in the distance

The Best Things to do in the Chiltern Hills

With vast areas of countryside and beautiful scenery, the Chiltern Hills is a fantastic place for walking or exploring by bike, sampling delicious local produce and enjoying all that Mother Nature has to offer. With National Trust estates and private historic homes to discover too, you have all the ingredients for a relaxing luxury cottage holiday in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Discover our top picks of the best things to do in the Chiltern Hills.

When you are ready to book your perfect place to stay, choose from our handpicked collection of luxury cottages in the Chiltern Hills.

A group of dairy cows in a green field

Savour local produce at a farm shop

With such beautiful countryside and rich soil, the Chiltern Hills has fantastic farm shops. Stop for a coffee, treat yourself to some local goodies for a picnic lunch, or select some home-grown ingredients to cook a delicious meal back at your cottage.

To get you started, there’s Blue Tin Produce, a small, free-range farm in Ipsden, Oxfordshire. This one is particularly good for meat-eaters as it specialises in rare breed beef and pork, but there is much more to buy, a coffee shop and events including ‘Rum ‘n Ribs’ nights.

If you’re a cheese lover, The Nettlebed Creamery, sells artisan cheeses including the delicious Bix Cheese, plus milk and kefir. All are produce of the organic dairy herd on the farm and can be bought from The Shed Shop that’s open daily.

For something a little different, The Barn at Turville Heath, situated at the edge of Turville Heath Common, can only be reached by foot or bike. At its heart is a farm with a conservation approach, but there is a fantastic café and shop where you can sample everything from homemade burgers to pasties, while even the tables are made from local fallen trees. The countryside views from here are spectacular too.

Wine being poured into glasses at a wine tasting event

Chiltern Valley Winery & Brewery

If you fancy trying one or two local tipples, head to Chiltern Valley Winery & Brewery. Here, history meets the modern in the old farm buildings that house the bottling facilities and cellar shop, while the setting overlooks the stunning Hambleden Valley.

From award-winning English wines to traditionally brewed real ales to fruity liqueurs, there is plenty to appreciate. Pick up some drinks to enjoy back at the cottage, or pre-book a tour to discover more.

Tour and Tasting sessions run throughout the year and offer an educational yet fun insight into the traditional and modern methods used. At the end of your tour, there is a tasting lesson with the opportunity to try some of the wines, ales and liqueurs for yourself.

River at Henley-on-Thames

Boat trip with Hobbs of Henley

Hobbs of Henley have over 150 years of boating experience and one of the best things to do in the Chiltern Hills is join one of their pleasure cruises. These depart from the Station Road Boat Yard in Henley-on-Thames and from April to the end of September there are daily 1-hour scenic cruises to Hambleden Lock. Or on selected days in July and August, 2.5-hour-long cruises operate and allow you to see more of the countryside.

There are also themed cruises including jazz, afternoon tea and murder mystery cruises, plus special Henley Regatta cruises so you can watch all the rowing action in style.

If you prefer something more intimate, from April to the end of September, traditional rowing boats and small motor boats can be hired for you to skipper yourself. Perfect for everything from a romantic paddle along the Thames to an exciting family adventure.

Carpet of bluebells in full bloom in Ashridge Estate

Discover the Ashridge Estate

The National Trust’s Ashridge Estate, in Hertfordshire, is a fantastic place if you like to combine gentle walks and nature with some historical points thrown in for good measure.

Here, ancient woodlands, rolling chalk downlands and rich meadows create the perfect habitat for an array of flora and fauna. Marvel at the display of wildflowers including bluebells in spring, admire the array of butterflies, and from June keep an eye out for Fallow Deer fawns hiding in the long grass.

Meanwhile, historic points of interest include Pinstone Windmill (open Sundays from May to September) and the Bridgewater Monument (open from April to September). The latter is a column with 172 steps, but rest assured the climb will reward you with spectacular views.

A piece of cake alongside a pot of tea and cup

Visit the National Trust’s Greys Court

Enjoy a day out to the National Trust’s Greys Court in Oxfordshire a country manor house with origins dating to the 14th century, that’s set in beautiful grounds. Inside, there is an interesting mix of styles, all legacies of former residents, and particular points of interest include a 16th-century stained glass window and the elegant drawing room.

Outside, there are delightful walled gardens to explore, while other highlights include the octagonal fountain, the red Chinese-style moon bridge and a maze. Meanwhile, the wider estate covers 280 acres and includes woodland and waymarked walks, perfect for a stroll.

With a café, a gift shop, family-friendly events and something different to see in the gardens as the seasons change, including a spectacular wisteria arch in late spring, Greys Court is a great day out at any time of the year.

Uffington White Horse carving of the white horse etched into the hillside in the Chiltern Hills

Explore the countryside trails

Whether you prefer walking or cycling, getting out in the countryside is one of the best things to do in the Chiltern Hills. There are plenty of dedicated trails, so you won’t ever be far from a great starting point.

The Chiltern Way passes through the stunning Hambleden Valley, while the circular Thames & Chilterns Walk links Hambleden with the River Thames.

Or how about the Ridgeway National Trail? About 40 miles of it traverses the Chiltern Hills and (about 5 miles from Wantage) you will see the famous Uffington White Horse engraved in the hillside.

Meanwhile, the Phoenix Trail from Princes Risborough and Thame is a 5-mile multi-use trail that follows an old railway line and is suitable for pushchairs and wheelchairs.

Two people on horseback jousting at an open air event

Visit the historic house and gardens at Stonor Park

Stonor Park is a privately owned home, close to Henley-on-Thames and Marlow in Oxfordshire. For 850 years it has been the family home of the Stonor family who still live here today. On selected weekend days during July, August and September it is open to the public to glimpse its many treasures, which is a real treat. However, the gardens are open more frequently, on selected days from April to September.

At the heart of the estate is the house which is an architectural gem filled with fascinating things including a Gothic revival hall and a family collection of artwork and artefacts curated over many, many years. Meanwhile, the grounds include three beautiful gardens, a deer park, a historic stone circle, a chapel and beautiful views across the Chilterns.

There is also a programme of summertime events with everything from medieval jousting displays and car shows, to a Proms Spectacular and musical tribute concerts. So, why not book tickets and make a day, or night, of it, in the most beautiful of settings? It’s one of the best things to do in the Chiltern Hills, if you’re looking for entertainment.

Monument at the viewing point on the top of Coombe Hill in the Chiltern Hills, Buckinghamshire

Go birdwatching at Coombe Hill

Coombe Hill, in Buckinghamshire, is the highest part of the Chiltern Hills. So, this is a fantastic place to visit in the Chiltern Hills for sweeping views across the countryside and watching birds glide by.

It’s very popular with birdwatchers, as well as walkers and visitors wishing to see the gorgeous swathes of wildflowers in the summer. In particular, it’s a very good place to spot birds of prey including buzzards and Red Kite. There’s a thriving population of Red Kites across the Chiltern Hills and with their trademark forked tails they are easy to spot in this wide, open space.

Model Railway Station And Train

Play at being a giant at Bekonscot Model Village

For children, and grown-ups alike, Bekonscot Model Village & Railway in Beaconsfield, is a lot of fun. At this popular and historic tourist attraction in the Chiltern Hills, you will discover over 90 years of heritage with the model village capturing a snapshot of 1930s life in England.

Enjoy the sights and sounds of the village and the model railway that runs through it, and don’t forget to take pictures as you pretend to be a giant towering over the tiny houses and streets – you won’t be the only one!

You can also journey on the miniature railway behind the model village for a dash through the site’s gardens. Plus, there’s a kids’ play area and during the school holidays there are educational but creative activities for children to get stuck into.

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