From wine tastings, to beautiful manor houses, to museums, to nights away, now is a great time to explore Buckinghamshire without the kids.
A Night Away
There's no better way to treat yourself than a night away in a lovely hotel or B&B and in Buckinghamshire, you're spoilt for choice. If it's luxury you're after, then book in to Danesfield House Hotel & Spa with its classically stylish rooms and restaurant, beautiful grounds and fabulous spa. With Marlow on your doorstep, you can enjoy the many independent shops, cafes, bars and restaurants or take a wander along the Thames. Or close to the vibrant market town of Aylesbury and many picturesque Buckinghamshire villages, you could opt for Hartwell House Hotel & Spa. A spectacular grade I listed Jacobean and Georgian house with over 90 acres of parkland. Home to many illustrious families over the generations, it was even the residence of exiled King Louis XVIII of France for a while. Another house of historical interest where you can stay is Missenden Abbey. This 12th century Medieval abbey is now a B&B and conference centre and is a great base for exploring Amersham, Great Missenden and the surrounding countryside loved by local author Roald Dahl. Or if you like a pub, then a stay at the 4 star The Nag's Head with its individually designed rooms and award-winning restaurant is a must. Search for more accommodation here.
A Tasting Tour
It may surprise you to know that Buckinghamshire has several vineyards where you can take a tour, walk amongst the vines and learn all about the wine-making process. Daws Hill Vineyard makes award-winning sparkling wine, hand-crafted to create a quality product that is aged for a minimum of 3 years in their converted stables. Chafor Wine Estate has a hand-built tasting room with mezzanine art gallery. You can take a self-guided nature trail with lakeside seating, ideal for picnics with a glass of their fizz or wine. If gin's more your thing, then the Griffiths Brothers Distillery in the Chilterns is a small batch operation making cold-distilled gins which draws out the essential oils of each botanical. The Puddingstone Distillery is home to Campfire gin. Made in small batches all distillation takes place on site with all bottling and labelling done by hand. Or if you prefer beer, you will not be disappointed. Both The Chiltern Brewery and Malt the Brewery produce a selection of quality craft beers and you can visit the breweries and see them in action. Find more inspiration here.
A Garden Tour
Take a tour of the walled garden at Eythrope. This world renowned garden supplies the Rothschild family, Waddesdon's restaurants, hotel and artisan market. The tour includes a light meal with ingredients from the produce and the opportunity to buy their apple juice. If you'd rather do a self-guided tour, then Buckinghamshire's historic houses all have wonderful gardens and parklands to explore with gorgeous autumn colours. For example, Hughenden, once home to Victorian prime minister Benjamin Disraeli, is exploring the hidden world of fungi this autumn. Carved giant mushrooms will be dotted around the estate, which will be dressed in autumn colours and fungi-themed decorations. The gardens and parkland at Canons Ashby are a delight in autumn and you can enjoy their Autumn Owl Trail from mid-September. An Apple Harvest weekend takes place on 25th and 26th September where you can enjoy some traditional seasonal fun and beautiful decorations in the house and church, as well as a small selection of seasonal stalls, activities and crafts, suitable for all the family. The grounds at Waddesdon, Stowe and Cliveden are also a must-see in autumn. Find more walks and tours here.
A Trip to a Museum
Chiltern Open Air Museum in Chalfont St Giles has a wonderful collection of historic buildings, a working farm, 'Dig for Victory' allotment, orchard and gardens around which to wander. They also hold many events and this autumn you can enjoy their Rural Life weekend on 26th and 27th Sept and learn all about tradtional skills in the Chilterns; then on the weekend of 25th and 26th Oct, their 'Wild about Wool' weekend is for all knitters and wool crafters. With workshops and expert help, this is the perfect event for experienced knitters and beginners alike. Bletchley Park was the home to the WW2 codebreakers and is now a museum and attraction with permanent displays, multimedia installations and exhibitions. Visit the codebreaking huts, the mansion and stroll around the grounds for an authentic step back in time to the 1940s. The Amersham Museum in Amersham Old Town gives a fascinating view into the history of the town from rural village to Metroland status with the arrival of the tube. For more on Buckinghamshire towns and its history and culture, head to Aylesbury to the Discover Bucks Museum. This October, new galleries are opening and you can enjoy refreshments in the courtyard garden. Close to Aylesbury in Stoke Mandeville is the National Paralympic Heritage Centre. The birthplace of the paralympics from its modest beginnings at Stoke Mandeville Hospital in the 1940s to its present day global success, learn all about its founder Professor Guttmann and the development of wheelchair sports.