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The Chilterns & the Thames Valley - A view from our expert author


For us, the Chilterns means travelling along sunken lanes with dappled sunlight peeking through green tunnels of trees, marvelling at the magic carpets of bluebells which appear in the woods in the spring, followed by orchids on chalk grasslands in the summer.

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The beauty of the Chilterns & the Thames Valley is that it reveals something different to every holiday-goer willing to take it slow. Some people come for the wildlife hidden in the chalky Chiltern hills, from the red kites that wheel over head all year round to the carpets of orchids that cover the grasslands in the summer. Others arrive in the area to follow in the footsteps of the literary greats, tracing their creative imaginations from the childhood home of Graham Greene in Berkhamsted or the Land of Giants near Roald Dahl’s residence in Great Missenden, to the landscapes along the banks of the Thames that have inspired the likes of T S Elliot and Percy and Mary Shelley.

Away from the hills, the Thames Valley follows one of England’s most famous rivers away from the busy city of London towards more rural attractions. A meander along the Thames takes in highlights such as the royal residence at Windsor and the site of the world-famous Henley Regatta, as well as a sequence of lesser-known villages and market towns, each with its own unique history.

Helen and Neil Matthews, authors of Slow Travel Chilterns & the Thames Valley: the Bradt Guide

Bradt on Britain – our Slow Travel approach

Bradt’s coverage of Britain’s regions makes ‘Slow Travel’ its focus. To us, Slow Travel means ditching the tourist ticklists – deciding not to try to see ‘too much’ – and instead taking time to get properly under the skin of a special region. You don’t have to travel at a snail’s pace: you just have to allow yourself to savour the moment, appreciate the local differences that create a sense of place, and celebrate its food, people and traditions.

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The Chilterns & the Thames Valley articles

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Six reasons to visit the Chilterns & the Thames Valley

From literary and historical heritage to stunning landscapes and wildlife, the Chilterns & the Thames Valley offers plenty of reasons to visit. 

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The best historic houses in the Chilterns

The Chilterns is home to some of England's oldest and most spectacular historic houses, all of which boast famous residents and visitors.

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Getting outdoors in the Chilterns & the Thames Valley

Here are some of the best features of the great outdoors you can find in the Chilterns and the Thames Valley.

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Related guides and other books

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