With so many museums closed and festivals cancelled, it's been a sad year for culture since March. Fortunately, Autumn is shaping up to be a whole lot better with cultural institutions re-opening and plenty of festivals, albeit with much online, in the offing.
Amersham Museum is now open where you can enjoy the story of Amersham’s people and the surrounding villages over the generations. You can listen to stories from the 1930s, get a sense of life in a Tudor home in 1580 and delve into their Metro Land exhibition featuring images and the voices of local people. Their popular programme of guided walks also resumed in August. Tudor walks will take place every Saturday until the end of September and town walks every Sunday until the end of October.
The Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre in Great Missenden celebrates the life and works of the brilliant author who made his home in Buckinghamshire. Opening on September 10th, you can enjoy a new experience at the museum: guided tours with your family or bubble. You'll learn all sorts of interesting facts and hear some fantastic stories as you get to progress through the museum in your own private group and see the exhibits like never before.
Bletchley Park, once the home to the codebreakers of World War 2, is a fascinating museum which includes historic buildings, lovely grounds, restored codebreakers' huts and all sorts of exhibits. Discover the secret work that was done here that helped win the war and began the story of modern computing as you step back in time to the 1940s.
The Chiltern Open Air Museum has a fascinating collection of over 30 reconstructed historic buildings from the Chilterns including an Iron Age roundhouse, 1940s prefab, blacksmith’s forge, Victorian toll house, tin chapel, wartime Nissen huts, an earthen cottage and an historic farm which is still worked today. Currently the historic buildings will not be open but visitors can explore the period gardens, ‘Dig for Victory’ allotment, fruit orchards, bodgers area and woodland. On Tuesdays and Thursdays until the end of October, they are also offering over 65s accompanied walks round the grounds with a friendly and knowledgeable volunteer.
Milton's Cottage in Chalfont St Giles is the only surviving residence of poet and parlimentarian John Milton and was where he finished 'Paradise Lost.' A beautiful 16th century house with a Grade II Registered Historic Garden, it has been a museum since 1887 and is filled with books, paintings and prints that give a unqiue insight into MIlton's life.
The Silverstone Experience is a fabulous interactive attraction which is a must for car enthusiasts, taking you on a 3 hour journey through the history of motorsport, concluding with an immersive show 'The Ultimate Lap of Silverstone', commented by Murray Walker himself.
Chiltern Arts is presenting 2 concerts in October - Vivaldi's Four Seasons on Monday 5th with violinist Fenella Humphreys, and a program of Schubert, Hadyn and Beethoven performed by the Consone String Quartet on Tuesday 6th (with dinner). The former will take place at St Mary's Church in Henley with the latter at The Gatsby in Berkhamsted.
Garsington Opera is also holding an actual event - Fidelio in Concert - from 12th to 20th September. Bring your own picnic and drinks to the beautiful Wormsley Estate and enjoy socially distanced Beethoven in the stunning grounds.
Chiltern Society Heritage Festival from 19th September to 4th October is a mix of online and in person talks, tours, walks and even gin tastings that delve into the heritage of the Chilterns.
A Chilterns Celebration is a month long (whole of October) programme of activities and events, including a family heritage trail, orchard storytelling evening and a Chilterns Champions Conference with broadcaster and naturalist Chris Packham as keynote speaker. The Chilterns Conservation Board also have a comprehensive guide to walks and cycle trails on their website, including a list of social distance friendly walks!
The Chilterns Walking Festival will take place from 17th October until 1st November and will include over 40 guided walks, tours and events covering nature reserves, filming locations, churches, farms and iron age hillforts led by knowledgeable guides.
Heritage Open Days takes place 11th - 20th September and is England's largest festival of history and culture and is a great opportunity to see places usually closed to the public. In Bucks, options include a tour round Penn House with Earl and Countess Howe, a tour of the Ring of Steel at Stadium MK, a guided tour round Woburn Sands and a backstage tour of Milton Keynes Theatre.
You may also like to know that Midsomer Tours have returned to Thame. Fans of the ITV show 'Midsomer Murders' can tour the many locations featured in the long-running drama led by a specially trained guide.