Start exploring the Chilterns AONB from one of our characterful market towns. Look out for independent shops, museums and trails.
There are myriad towns and villages to discover across the beautiful, rolling countryside of the Chilterns. Step back in time to historic markets, old English inns and ancient churches, or enjoy the comforts of today in stylish restaurants, boutique shops and up-market hotels. No matter on how you are travelling – by foot, train or car – there are plenty of options for getting around and seeing the highlights of these charming places
Each market town has a distinct character, influenced by its surroundings. Those alongside the River Thames offer sightseeing options on the water, while rural villages nestled in scenic spots make great stops along a hike. There are excellent local museums to visit and self-guided trails to help you get the best out of your trip. You won’t find the usual chain stores filling up the high streets, but lots of independently run shops and boutiques offering exquisite food and unique gifts.
Trip into town
With its half-timbered houses and handsome Market Hall, Amersham is one of the most photogenic market towns in the Chilterns.
Visit the elegant streets and coaching inns of Old Beaconsfield or enjoy a day out at nearby Bekonscot Model Village.
Chic restaurants, an art-deco cinema and a mix of familiar and independent shops give Berkhamsted's high street an uplifting buzz.
Chesham is a ‘Walkers are Welcome’ town on the Metropolitan Line. Walk through the historic streets into the Chess Valley.
Goring and Streatley sit on opposite sides of the River Thames as it carves its way through the Chiltern Hills.
Renowned children’s writer, Roald Dahl, lived in Great Missenden – visit the museum and come face-to-face with his fantastic creations.
Henley, the international home of rowing, enjoys a scenic setting on a broad and beautiful stretch of the River Thames.
Hitchin is a medieval market town with a compact centre, a pretty river frontage and streets bursting with history.
Marlow combines natural beauty with contemporary chic. Georgian buildings and a picturesque lock set the scene for shops and restaurants.
Follow the Thames Path and immerse yourself in Pangbourne's links with the idyllic world of The Wind in the Willows.
Princes Risborough is a pleasing country town, with a prosperous high street, traditional Market House and a working heritage railway.
The Rothschilds left their legacy across Tring, with distinctive buildings dotted among the shops and cafés of its intimate centre.
Familiar as the fictional town in Midsomer Murders, Wallingford grew up in the 9th century and is little changed today.
The Chiltern Hills rise behind Watlington, reputedly England's smallest town. Its ancient centre appears untouched by today’s pace of life.
Hills and woodlands are the peaceful backdrop to unspoilt Wendover town, where walking trails meet upmarket antique and chocolate shops.