Chesham is a ‘Walkers are Welcome’ town on the Metropolitan Line. Walk through the historic streets into the Chess Valley.
What to see
“Come with us to Metroland” – thus ran the slogan of the Metropolitan Railway, ferrying Londoners into the countryside beyond.
Today, you can still take a ride to Chesham and enjoy this ‘Walkers are Welcome’ town. This scheme encourages towns to provide information and attractive walks, maintain footpaths, and promote tourism. Visitors can fuel-up ready for their explorations in a choice of eating places, ranging from the picturesque Queens Head in Church Street to Rumbles Pantry, which serves scrumptious breakfasts into the afternoon.
Chesham’s Local Produce Market operates in the Market Square on the fourth Saturday of each month, selling an enticing range of farm-fresh produce, preserves, cakes, plants, gifts and crafts. It prides itself on its sustainability and green values.
Chesham’s theatre, The Elgiva, stages an excellent programme of professional live entertainment, which includes all kinds of music, ballet, drama and pantomime.
Lowndes Park is a major historical feature of Chesham that was donated to the town in 1953 by the wealthy Lowndes family. Reputed rivals of the neighbouring Skottowes family, the Lowndes bought their manor house on the site and pulled it down. Today, the expansive park includes play areas for children, a pond and wildlife habitats, as well as a Scheduled Ancient Monument, the Rolling Pin, which was likely to have been a Bronze Age burial mound.
Image: Cherry Blossom at Lowndes Park, Laura Collins
Chesham Town Council has created a series of guided walks around Chesham, with maps, route descriptions, points of interest and interesting facts.
Into the countryside
The historic Chess Valley links Chesham in the Chilterns with Rickmansworth just inside the M25.
This area has been impacted by human settlement for thousands of years – from Iron Age forts, to Roman arable farming, medieval settlements, to stately manor houses, the landscape is full of the evidence of human endeavour.
The Chess Valley Walk is a station-to-station, 10-mile linear walk following the valley of the River Chess from Chesham to Rickmansworth, passing through the villages of Latimer, Chenies (and Chenies Manor) and Sarratt.
The landscape is rich in wildlife; keep an eye out for kingfishers, water voles, brown trout and dragonflies.
Image: River Chess at Chenies, by Allen Beechey
For cyclists, the National Cycle Network Route 57 links Chesham with Thame via quiet lanes and some off-road sections. Between Thame and Princes Risborough, the Phoenix Trail section offers traffic-free cycling along a disused railway – ideal for families.
The Ashridge Estate is just 9 miles from Chesham and is a gem in the AONB’s crown. Comprising 2,000 hectares of wildlife-rich woodlands and chalk downland, it offers splendid walks and rides through outstanding scenery. For breathtaking views, scale the panoramic hilltop of Ivinghoe Beacon or climb to the top of the Bridgewater Monument, erected in 1832 in memory of the third Duke of Bridgewater.
Where to stay
Choices in and around Chesham include:
- De Vere Latimer Estate, overlooking the Chess Valley
- Lower Bassibones Farm at Lee Common
- Chiltern Ridge Farm at Chartridge
To find more places to stay, see Visit Buckinghamshire
Heading further afield
Amersham – 3 miles away
Amersham. With its half-timbered houses and handsome Market Hall, Old Amersham is one of the most photogenic markets towns in the Chilterns AONB. There’s an excellent choice of restaurants and pubs, and a tempting cluster of elegant shops.
Berkhamsted Castle – 5 miles away
Berkhamsted Castle. Dating from as far back as the 11th century, Berkhamsted Castle is a towering motte-and-bailey castle – an impressive reminder of a once-mighty Norman stronghold. Enjoy an atmospheric stroll around the place where William the Conqueror was formally offered the English crown following his defeat of the Saxons at the Battle of Hastings.
Image: Berkhamsted Castle, Sean Wallis
Chenies Manor – 5 miles away
Chenies Manor – 5 miles away. Tucked away down a winding country road, this charming Tudor manor house was visited by both Henry VIII and Elizabeth I. Once part of the Duke of Bedford’s estate, it was restored in the 1950s by the MacLeod Matthews family. Features include award-winning gardens, a tea room, a medieval wall and even a dungeon!
Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre – 5 miles away
Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre – 5 miles away. Established in Roald Dahl’s home village of Great Missenden, the centre inspires young visitors (aged 6-12) with hands-on story-telling activities and fun, fact-packed galleries, and a chance to visit Roald Dahl’s original Writing Hut, where all the magic happened!
Crestyl Watercress from E. Tyler & Sons – 6 miles away
Crestyl Watercress from E. Tyler & Sons – 6 miles away. A family run business, established in 1886, that produces naturally grown watercress. Pop over for tea and cake and the finest local watercress! [Read more on our blog].
Whipsnade Zoo – 9 miles away
Whipsnade Zoo – 9 miles away. Set on the slopes of the Chiltern Hills, the UK’s biggest zoo is home to more than 2,500 animals, many of which are endangered in the wild. Whipsnade is noted for creating interactive and inspiring exhibits and exciting events.
Getting here by train
Chesham is about 50 minutes from London. The Metropolitan Line runs direct from Aldgate to Chesham, via Baker Street.
Getting here by road
Chesham is 31 miles from London. It is situated just off the A413, which runs from Aylesbury down to the M40/A40 interchange at Denham, north-west London.