The small county town of Princes Risborough lies between the Vale of Aylesbury and the Western Escarpment of the Chiltern Hills, on the route of the pre-Roman Upper Icknield Way.
The town is dominated by a chalk hill carving, the Whiteleaf Cross, that is once again clearly seen for many miles on the approaches to the town, following a restoration project in 2003. There are beautiful views of the Vale of Aylesbury from the top and the Ridgeway National Trail runs nearby. The town itself is well-served with a variety of shops, cafes and pubs, many independent, and a street market every Thursday with a fantastic mix of stalls to browse.
The town has a story which stretches back over 5,500 years with Neolithic farmers, Saxons and Romans all having left their mark on this ancient landscape. The countryside around the town is studded with prehistoric sites including the Icknield Way that travels from East Anglia to Wessex. The name Princes Risborough relates to an important moment in medieval history when in 1343 Edward III appointed his eldest son, Edward the Black Prince, as custodian of the manor of Rysburg (at the time the town was called ‘Great Rysburg). The new title ‘Princes Rysburg’ was in recognition of its new status
before becoming Princes Risborough in the 1600s which is a Saxon reference to the brushcovered hills.
You can reach Princes Risborough from J6 of the M40 via the B4009 or from Junction 4 of the M40 via the A4010 High Wycombe to Aylesbury Road. By Rail, Princes Risborough station is just over half a mile from the town centre and sits on the Chiltern Railways London Marylebone to Birmingham line. Trains to London are frequent and take approximately 40 minutes. There is also a 45 minute rail connection to Oxford Parkway via Haddenham and Thame. A bus service travels between High Wycombe and Aylesbury, stopping at Princes Risborough. High Wycombe bus station, which is a 25 minute journey from Princes Risborough, is well served with regular bus links to surrounding towns and villages and National Express coach services to Oxford and Luton and Stansted airports.
Markets, Festivals & Events
The two week long Bucks Art Weeks, a county-wide event, is well represented in Princes Risborough with local artists exhibiting their creative talents at various locations in the town. The annual town festival in July offers a host of music and arts events including concerts, local history exhibitions, guided walks and a street fair. August sees the celebration of the historic cherry harvest with entertainment for all, usually held on the first Sunday each August at the Plough public house in Cadsden. The Kop Hill Climb is a major fixture on the historic motorsport calendar. A September weekend of family fun, this event showcases vintage vehicles and raises money for local charities. November sees the town gather for a firework display and December heralds the Christmas light switch-on festive event.
Claim To Fame
Monks Staithe (Amy Johnson’s house) is opposite Princes Risborough's Manor House. This pretty 17th Century half- timbered house has a supposed connection with nearby Notley Abbey and it was briefly occupied by the famous aviatrix of the 1930’s, Amy Johnson.
The Chinnor & Princes Risborough Heritage Railway is a preserved steam railway operating passenger services between the stations at Chinnor and Princes Risborough on part of the old Great Western Railway line branch and has been used in numerous film and TV shows. You can take a ride through the stunning scenery and be transported to a bygone age.
Did You Know?
In 1943, Clyde ‘Sparky’ Cosper of the US Air Force saved the town when he steered his stricken bomber away from Princes Risborough. He is commemorated on a plaque outside the library.
Download the mini-guide to Princes Risborough.