With the Easter holidays almost upon us, we are all looking forward to enjoying the warmer weather and the opportunity to meet family and friends outdoors.
The “rule of six” comes into effect as of today (29 March) which means two households or, up to six people from different households, can meet outside. Some outdoor leisure attractions will be re-opening, however most tourism attractions, hospitality and retail will remain closed until 12 April.
But never fear, there are still lots of opportunities to enjoy the Chilterns countryside, from walking or cycling, to relaxing in nature or hiring a boat on the river. Here is our guide with some of the best ways to enjoy the Chilterns safely, as we enter stage one of the government’s roadmap to ease lockdown.
Grab your boots (or bike!) for a walk or ride
There are lots of routes in the Chilterns, from short stile-free walks to more challenging trails, plus opportunities for cycling. Here are just a few of some of the best, including some lesser known routes to help you avoid very busy areas:
- The Phoenix Trail is a seven-mile traffic-free cycle route between Thame and Princes Risborough which is ideal for families: SEE HERE
- Walks from market towns into the surrounding Chiltern Hills – there are some fabulous walks from the Chilterns many market towns. They are perfect for families and walkers providing ample parking as well as all the other facilities on hand such as toilets, take-away coffee and cake…surely an essential part of any walk! All the walks below are under five miles and are part of our “social distancing friendly” series, meaning they have few or no bottlenecks, and lots of wide paths.
- Chesham Riverside & Woodland Walk SEE HERE
- Tring Park circular walk SEE HERE
- Great Missenden stile-free walk SEE HERE
- Watlington circular chalk pits and ancient routes SEE HERE
- Berkhamsted and Ashridge Walk SEE HERE
- Another great walk away from the crowds is the Studley Green Red Kite walk SEE HERE
Explore the River Thames
If rivers and boating is your thing, or you’re looking to try something new, there are lots of opportunities for exploring the Thames by boat, canoe, swimming or even paddle boarding!
- From 1 April up to six people (rule of six or two households) will be able to hire a self-drive motor boat from Hobbs of Henley, and one hour river cruises will begin again on 12 April. https://www.hobbsofhenley.com/
- If you fancy getting some exercise while on the water, then Henley Canoe Hire are offering 1-hour, 3-hour and full-day hires of their Canadian or open canoes. Pre-booking essential! https://henleycanoehire.com/
- Pure Boating in Wallingford have self-drive electric boats available for hire, the perfect way to enjoy this amazing stretch of the river Thames. Full instructions are given and there’s lots of information on their website.
- From 2 April Caversham Lakes will be reopening for SEE HERE open water swimming, stand up paddleboarding and bring your own kayak or canoe.
Celebrate the Chilterns
From 8 to 15 April our Chalk, Cherries and Chairs team is holding a spring celebration, with some great family friendly online events, volunteering taster sessions, walks, talks and much more! Find out more and book here.
Have an adventure
If adventures and quizzes appeal, you might want to have a look at Treasure Trails which promise “awesome, socially distanced adventure”. You can download the trail, or have it sent to you in hard copy if you’re really organised (you can even personalise it!) and there are loads to choose from – Tring, Chesham, Berkhamsted, Amersham, Princes Risborough, Marlow, Henley, Goring, Wallingford and even a couple of walk/drive options taking in several parts of the Chilterns. You could even combine a trail with one of our socially distanced walks, see above for details.
Go Ape is also opening up again on 29 March, pre-booking essential. They have a base at Wendover Woods, in the heart of the Chilterns.
Experience the best of the Chilterns Parks and gardens
- Chiltern Open Air Museum is reopening its grounds for exercise from 26th March, tickets must be prebooked online. Although you won’t be able to go inside the historic buildings, the doors will be open so you can peek inside, there will be takeaway refreshments available and the loos will be open too. The museum shop will reopen on 12th April.
- Stonor Park is running its Easter trail from 2nd April, with guaranteed refunds in case of cancellation and their new play area “Tumblestone Hollow” is also set to open on this date. Tickets must be prebooked online: https://www.stonor.com/events/easter-trail-at-tumblestone-hollow-and-stonor-gardens/
- National Trust gardens are open but visits and parking must be prebooked from the venue’s website, and many are operating timed entry slots. Many National Trust properties are also offering takeaway refreshments currently plus outdoor seating from 12 April and indoor seating from 17 May, subject to the government’s roadmap staying on course.
Relax in a pub garden
Lots of places are offering takeaway refreshments currently, but as restrictions ease we can expect pubs to open (for outside service) on 12 April then the “rule of six” inside from 17 May. As you can imagine this is a great thing for our local pubs so please do support them!
- Check out this handy pub re-opening guide for Marlow
- Visit Henley also has a list of the current status of various outlets
Whatever you choose to do this spring, please always plan ahead by prebooking all attractions and meals, and respect and protect the enjoy the Chilterns by following the countryside code.