Easily accessible both by car and London Underground, the attractive town boasts a long high street filled with unique restaurants for all prices, a great cafe culture, pubs dating back to 17C, craft brewery shops, many prized independent shops and no fewer than 23 Grade II listed buildings.
The Elgiva, a thriving theatre and cinema attracts many visitors. Chesham Old Town is a wonderful collection of buildings dating back to the 14C around St Mary’s Church which is a 13th century Grade I listed building. Chesham Moor Open Air Swimming Pool is unique, being over 100 years old and fed by spring water. The green heart of the town is the beautiful Lowndes Park - walk to the top for a wonderful view across the town and countryside.
Although Chesham has been occupied since 5000BCE, it was known for its four Bs; brushes, boots, beer and Baptists. Artefacts of the brick industry dating back to the 13th century have been found. Most of the buildings in the town and surrounding area were made of local bricks. Between the wars there were 23 brickworks in the Chesham area. Long known for religious dissent, there is still a memorial to Protestant martyr Thomas Harding on White Hill.
Chesham is nestled in the centre of four dry valleys in the Chilterns AONB. The River Chess is an internationally rare chalk stream once famous for watercress beds. It is a great place to walk from, or around, with many footpaths leading into the beautiful countryside like Captains Wood, Pednor Valley and Herberts Hole. The easy access by tube from London makes Chesham a great starting point for weekend walkers. The Chesham Riverside and Woodland Walk is a 2.5 mile walk through woodlands with a lovely view of the Chess Valley, one of a series of socially distanced walks avoiding the most crowded areas and narrow pathways where possible. You can also walk 10 miles through the Chess Valley between Chesham and Ricksmanworth, enjoying some of the best scenery the Chilterns has to offer.
The Metropolitan line comes right into the heart of Chesham with splendid views to welcome a visitor into the town. Chesham is a 15 minute drive from the M25 with plenty of parking close to the High Street.
Markets, Festivals & Events
Chesham still holds its traditional markets on Wednesday and Saturday, The celebrated Local Produce market runs on the fourth Saturday of each month, selling top quality food, drinks, plants and crafts. Buryfields, set in the grounds of the historic Bury mansion, is a thriving music and comedy festival held every June, attracting big comedy names. The Schools of Chesham Carnival has a grand procession of floats along the High Street ending up with a fair in Lowndes Park. Christmas In Chesham is the great start to the festive season with an evening full of fun fair rides, performances, craft and charity stalls and the Christmas Lights switch on, always held on the last Friday of November.
Claim to Fame
Many famous people have lived in Chesham including; Stephen Fry, DH Lawrence who wrote The Rainbow whilst staying in Chesham, Andrew Davis the acclaimed conductor, Nye Bevan, father of the NHS, and Sir Arthur Lasenby Liberty, founder of Liberty’s London, who was born here above his father’s drapery shop,
Chesham has become renowned for its links to the TV series Taskmaster. The host and divisor Alex Horne lives in the town and has set many tasks here, possibly the most famous being ‘Impress The Mayor’ and a number of tasks set in the football ground.
Benedict Cumberbatch and Kiera Knightley filmed scenes from The Imitation Game, the story of Alan Turing’s famous Enigma code-breaking breakthrough, in the historic old town. Midsomer Murders has used many locations in Chesham, as have Time Team, Dr Foster, Cuckoo, Inspector Morse and The Professionals.
Did you know?
Search the High Street to see if you can find the 10ft high topiary ‘Chicken with An Attitude’?
For more detailed information about Chesham and its surrounding villages, take a look at the Visit Chesham website.