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The Chilterns are an underrated part of England in our opinion and offer a perfect landscape for a gentle walking tour. Just as pretty as The Cotswolds but nowhere near as touristy, you really feel like you’ve got away from it all - and yet it’s only a short train ride away from London. Designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the Chilterns are comprised of chalk downland, dry valleys, pastoral and arable fields, sweeping hills and ancient beech woodland. Choose to visit in May and you are likely to catch the breathtaking bluebells in the woods. Majestic red kites are an increasingly famous resident after a successful reintroduction programme and are now frequently joined by buzzards wheeling overhead.

The Chilterns are fairly sparsely populated but peppered along the route are some very old and very charming towns and villages. At the southern end, The Thames cuts through the landscape making for some extremely dramatic and beautiful scenery. To the north, this gentle walking tour takes you to Wendover Woods, the highest point of the Chilterns and a different scene. Your route takes you past Chequers - country seat of the encumbent British Prime Minister and to Waddesdon Manor, a Rothschild family home and one of the most original country houses in England. Many parts of the region will be recognisable as film locations most notably as DI Barnaby's Midsomer County. Sample some very traditional hostelries and of course an excellent cheese shop, and you will see why we are so pleased to offer Chilterns Chalk and Cheese.



Holiday details

Price

Classic

from £995 per person
Based on Friday start - other start days available

Luxury

from £1,755 per person
Based on Friday start - other start days available

Based on two people sharing a room

What’s included?

House and garden tickets to Waddesdon Manor.  See what’s included as standard

Duration

6 nights

Start & Finish

Start Fridays from Aylesbury Station. Other start days available

Hotels

Classic

Hand picked accommodation in traditional village inns

Luxury

One five star hotel with spa and an elegant 4 star hotel with sweeping river views.

Holiday type

Self-guided

This tour is priced without a guide and you are free to explore on your own.  If you would like a guide for part or all of your trip, we are happy to provide a knowledgeable, local guide

Activity level

Gentle walking (3) More info...

Mileage

5 days of 6 - 9.5 miles (10 - 15 km)

Terrain

Rolling hills with some short steep sections and river path

Options

  • Spend an extra day and cycle around some of the 'Midsomer Murders' filming locations


Itinerary day-by-day


Classic

  1. 1. Day one

    Arrive in the Chilterns

    Arrive by train and we will meet you at the station and transfer you to your hotel for the first of your nights in the glorious Chiltern Hills. Spend the evening unwinding over dinner in a traditional inn.

  2. 2. Day two

    Wandering to Waddesdon

    Take a pretty walking route to Waddesdon Manor along bridleways and footpaths, across fields and over chalk streams and arrive in time for lunch at either the Five Arrows or a choice of cafes within the estate itself. Built in the 1870’s by Baron Ferdinand Rothschild this is probably the only French style chateau in the rural English countryside! With its Aviary, gardens and exhibitions in the grounds, and a very special collection of objets d’art within the house Waddesdon is a unique place in which to spend the afternoon before we transfer you back to your hotel.

    6 miles (10 km)

  3. 3. Day three

    Ellesborough to Wendover

    We will drop you in Ellesborough for the start of today’s walk which will take you past Chequers – country home of the encumbent British Prime Minister, and a fairly gentle walk along parts of the Ridgeway and through ancient box woodland, past Ellesborough church and to a cosy village owned inn for a well-deserved lunch. A further 2 mile stroll will see you in the pretty town of Wendover and a chance to explore - visit our favourite cheese shop and a chocolate den to die for before finding your hotel for the evening.

    8.5 miles (13.5 km)

  4. 4. Day four

    Wendover to Tring

    A slightly more challenging walk today as you follow the ancient Ridgeway footpath up and into Wendover Woods and the highest point in the Chiltern Hills. The chalk hills of the region are home to glorious beech woods, and in spring billions of bluebells carpet the slopes. Follow the route into Tring Park and down past the Natural History Museum into the bustling small town of Tring. Spend a little time exploring before choosing one of the many cafes and restaurants in Tring for a little refreshment! We will meet you here and take you to a different side of the Chilterns for your next 3 nights.

    6.5 miles (11 km)

  5. 5. Day five

    The Hambleden Valley

    Start your day with a short transfer to Hambleden to see the English Countryside at its best. The Hambleden Valley incorporates pretty villages, historic churches, cosy pubs, abundant wildlife, amazing walking and riding, quirky places to visit, top-class events to attend and interesting craftspeople producing ceramics, art, wine, beer and delicious farm produce. You cannot miss the ubiquitous red kites that have made a home here and you may also see buzzards wheeling above you - hard to believe you are just 30 miles from London! Your route passes a choice of hostelries for coffee, lunch or tea and we will meet you at the end to bring you back to the elegant small riverside town of Marlow.

    9.5 miles (15 km)

  6. 6. Day six

    The Thames from Henley to Marlow

    Today’s walk allows you time to explore Henley as we transfer you there after breakfast. Enjoy this charming Thameside town bursting with character and history and famous for its regatta and the River and Rowing Museum. The Thames Path takes you beside the course of the Henley rowing regatta, past the old mill and weir at Hambleden to the charms of Hurley village. With great views of the Chiltern hills and plenty of wildlife to enjoy, your hotel in Marlow adjacent to the old suspension bridge and weir will all too soon come into view.

    8 miles (13 km)

  7. 7. Day seven

    Depart Marlow

    We will transfer you after breakfast back to the station for your return trip to reality!

Luxury

  1. 1. Day one

    Arrive in The Chilterns

    Arrive by train and we will meet you at the station and transfer you to your hotel for the first of your nights in the glorious Chiltern Hills. Spend the evening unwinding over dinner in your National Trust, Grade 1 listed Jacobean Country House Hotel - once home to King Louis XVIII of France.

  2. 2. Day two

    Wandering to Waddesdon

    Take a pretty walking route to Waddesdon Manor along bridleways and footpaths, across fields and over chalk streams and arrive in time for lunch at either the Five Arrows or a choice of cafes within the estate itself. Built in the 1870’s by Baron Ferdinand Rothschild this is probably the only French style chateau in the rural English countryside! With its Aviary, gardens and exhibitions in the grounds, and a very special collection of objets d’art within the house Waddesdon is a unique place in which to spend the afternoon before we transfer you back to your hotel.

    6 miles (10 km)

  3. 3. Day three

    Ellesborough to Wendover

    We will drop you in Ellesborough for the start of today’s walk which will take you past Chequers – country home of the encumbent British Prime Minister, and a fairly gentle walk along parts of the Ridgeway and through ancient box woodland, past Ellesborough church and to a cosy village owned inn for a well-deserved lunch. A further 2 mile stroll will see you in the pretty town of Wendover and a chance to explore - visit our favourite cheese shop and a chocolate den to die for before we transfer you back to Hartwell House.

    8.5 miles (13.5 km)

  4. 4. Day four

    Wendover to Tring

    A slightly more challenging walk today as we transfer you back to Wendover to follow the ancient Ridgeway footpath up and into Wendover Woods and the highest point in the Chiltern Hills. The chalk hills of the region are home to glorious beech woods, and in spring billions of bluebells carpet the slopes. Follow the route into Tring Park and down past the Natural History Museum into the bustling small town of Tring. Spend a little time exploring before choosing one of the many cafes and restaurants in Tring for a little refreshment! We will meet you here and take you to a different side of the Chilterns for your next 3 nights.

    6.5 miles (11 km)

  5. 5. Day five

    The Hambleden Valley

    Start your day with a short transfer to Hambleden to see the English Countryside at its best. The Hambleden Valley incorporates pretty villages, historic churches, cosy pubs, abundant wildlife, amazing walking and riding, quirky places to visit, top-class events to attend and interesting craftspeople producing ceramics, art, wine, beer and delicious farm produce. You cannot miss the ubiquitous red kites that have made a home here and you may also see buzzards wheeling above you - hard to believe you are just 30 miles from London! Your route passes a choice of hostelries for coffee, lunch or tea and we will meet you at the end to bring you back to the elegant small riverside town of Marlow.

    9.5 miles (15 km)

  6. 6. Day six

    The Thames from Henley to Marlow

    Today’s walk allows you time to explore Henley as we transfer you there after breakfast. Enjoy this charming Thameside town bursting with character and history and famous for its regatta and the River and Rowing Museum. The Thames Path takes you beside the course of the Henley rowing regatta, past the old mill and weir at Hambleden to the charms of Hurley village. With great views of the Chiltern hills and plenty of wildlife to enjoy, your hotel in Marlow adjacent to the old suspension bridge and weir will all too soon come into view.

    8 miles (13 km)

  7. 7. Day seven

    Depart Marlow

    We will transfer you after breakfast back to the station for your return trip to reality!