Our market towns are great for foodies! Find out some of the top places to visit in the Chilterns AONB.
Known as the ‘larder of London’, the Chilterns is the destination for food and drink fanatics. There are market towns bustling with eateries, farmers’ markets and independent producers; villages and lanes dotted with ancient and historic inns; and magnificent country estates producing everything from artisan cheeses to organic grass-fed lamb. Serious foodies need look no further!
If you’re looking for somewhere to start your local and delicious food journey, we’ve picked out some of the best market towns below and highlighted what they have to offer. Or visit our interactive map to plan your own foodie trail.
Wendover is a delightful market town with numerous walks leading straight into the surrounding woodlands. The Ridgeway National Trail passes through the town and there’s plenty here to fill some gentle mooching time, from antiques to a galleries.
But food is where Wendover really shines. Stock up with picnic essentials from No.2 Pound Street, enjoy a warming hot chocolate at Rumsey’s Chocolaterie, or relax with afternoon tea at the cosy Lady Grey Tearoom. For refreshments bursting with history and local pride, visit the 17th-century Bel & The Dragon at The Red Lion hotel and pub.
The nearby Chiltern Brewery is the oldest independent brewery in the Chilterns, offering tours and a shop stuffed full of tempting locally-made goodies. Award-winning labels include John Hampden’s Ale, brewed in memory of ‘The Patriot’ of the Civil War who lived nearby, and Bodgers Barley Wine, a tribute to the craftsmen who worked in the beech woods of Buckinghamshire making furniture. Visit the Brewery Shop or buy online.
Since 1464, Wendover has had a Royal Charter enabling it to hold a weekly market. Every Thursday, a wide variety of stalls pop up to suit everyone’s needs, such as savoury and sweet bakes, fruit and veg, cheese, seafood, pet supplies, plants and fashion. An excellent local produce market also appears on the High Street on the third Saturday of every month.
Amersham is located at the end of the Metropolitan underground line, where train meets trail. Here, picturesque pubs rub shoulders with contemporary eateries. All nestled in a gateway to the Chiltern Hills and the stunning River Misbourne.
In the Old Town, a stop at Gilbey’s restaurant is a must. Situated in the 17th-century former grammar school, it serves ‘Modern British’ food, such as slow-cooked pork belly and sticky toffee pudding. Another great restaurant in this pretty part of town is the refined Artichoke, recently awarded a Michelin Star. It features the best of the seasons’ ingredients, many foraged from the surrounding area. For something a little more casual, stop off at Seasons Deli Café on the High Street – a coffee and cake here is the perfect reward after a rousing, scenic walk or cycle around the Chilterns countryside.
In the newer end of town, known as ‘Amersham-on-the-Hill’, chain stores and supermarkets sit alongside restaurants and takeaways, all easily accessible from the train station. Enjoy familiar food at high street restaurants, or visit one of the many independent places serving a host of interesting cuisine, such as Turkish at the Villa Mangal or Japanese at the sushi tapasu bar, Koyo.
Marlow grew up as a river crossing and its greatest landmark is still the 19th-century suspension bridge that spans the Thames here. Famous for its local eateries, diners travel from far and wide to enjoy the fine fare in Marlow, as well as in nearby Cookham and Bray.
Favourites in Marlow include Burgers Artisan Bakery down by the bridge – with its Swiss Heritage, it’s surely the tops for tea and cake! Tom Kerridge’s outstanding Hand & Flowers, with two Michelin Stars and four AA Rosettes, is perfect for fine dining, while the Royal Oak in adjacent Bovingdon Green boasts a beautiful woodland setting. A riverside walk followed by afternoon tea is a must with so many tempting options including the Macdonald Compleat Angler in the heart of Marlow.
Beer lovers should head for Rebellion Brewery in Marlow Bottom for great ale and a brewery shop selling local goodies. Wine lovers will like Chiltern Valley Winery & Brewery – with vineyards, Luxters Brewery, liqueur-making facilities and a cellar shop, this is a one-stop shop for local produce.
Not far from Marlow, and on well-trodden walking routes, lies Cookham. Stop for a bite to eat in the The Ferry, The Kings Arms or Bel & The Dragon, one of the oldest coaching inns in England. A little further still, Bray is known as ‘the culinary village’ for its exceptionally fine dining, Bray plays host to the culinary alchemy of Heston Blumenthal’s three restaurants: The Fat Duck with its three Michelin stars; The Crown, a 16th-century inn with low beams and open fires; and The Hinds Head, a Tudor building that retains its relaxing pub atmosphere, yet still boasts a Michelin Star. The Roux brothers also own the the Waterside Inn here; with three Michelin stars, it is a French restaurant par excellence.
Henley is a jewel in the Chilterns crown, famous for its rowing connections and the river that runs through it. There’s an excellent mix of shops, cafés and restaurants, boating and Thames-side walks to sate all tastes.
Get into the riverside vibe and sample Lovibonds craft beers at Henley Rowing Club. Afterwards, take a boat down the Thames to Hambleden lock with Hobbs of Henley. Travel the 1 mile 550 yards of the Regatta Course, continuing downstream to the pretty Hambleden Lock. After a hard day’s boating, pop into the Chocolate Café Henley just down the road.
Henley-based brewer and pub operator, Brakspear, has produced the Henley Ale Trail, which takes you through historic side streets of the town to seek out ancient inns. Stop a while at The Three Tuns on Market Place, where a friendly team will welcome you into a cosy and traditional pub. Then travel a little further afield to sample some of the best wines the Chiltern slopes have to offer at the Chiltern Valley Winery & Brewery. Award-winning wines, ales and liqueurs are produced here, high above the beautiful Hambleden Valley. There are tastings, tours of the vineyard and brewery, and a shop.
Not far from Henley, Stoke Row is a small village perched high in the Chiltern Hills. Here the Crooked Billet provides the ultimate Chilterns experience – an ancient inn tucked down a wooded country lane, with an excellent seasonal menu. Nearby, The Cherry Tree Inn is another popular choice and offers options to stay.