The Rothschilds left their legacy across Tring, with distinctive buildings dotted among the shops and cafés of its intimate centre.
What to see
In 2015, Tring celebrated its 700th year as a market town. A visit to this pretty town would not be complete without a meander along the High Street with its wealth of independently run shops, cafés, bars and restaurants, each renowned for their warm Chilterns welcome. The farmers’ market in Church Square is where you will find many local products; free range and rare breed meats, heritage sourdough breads, honey from local hives, and juice from the many apple orchards dotted around the surrounding countryside. You can also find many of these products in the shops around Tring. Perfect for your picnic!
One of the highlights of Tring is its branch of the Natural History Museum. Built in 1889, it houses the incredible private collections of Walter Rothschild, a keen zoologist, eccentric and determined character. When he died, the building and collections were gifted to the nation, and became part of the Natural History Museum based in London. While much of the interior retains its unique Victorian charm, the museum has a regular programme of inspiring exhibitions and events.
Tring’s Memorial Garden, located at the east end of the High Street, was formed from a small town-side section of Lord Rothschild’s 300-acre Tring Park. It was originally created to commemorate those lost in the Second World War, but now it is for all wars. Holding Green Flag status since 2012, the garden features a giant redwood, fishpond and fountain and rivers of bulbs in spring.
First recorded in The Doomsday Book in 1089 as a church and belfry, the lovely church of St Peter and St Paul’s on the High Street is open to visitors. It is a magnificent example of medieval architecture, and holds information on the Tring Tiles – a set of wall tiles with an unknown history that are likely a religious comic strip depicting a young Christ.
The Tring Local History Museum just off the High Street sets the scene in Tring from prehistoric to modern times, through the days of the Peasants Revolt, the coming of the canals and railways, the cottage industry of straw plaiting, and the huge changes made by the wealthy Rothschild family. The museum is also the starting point for the Tring Heritage Trail, which can be followed on an app or as a free printed guide.
For something a little different, enjoy the buyers’ buzz at Tring Market Auctions where sale rooms house fine art, pottery, furniture, collectables and much more; or head over to Tring Brewery, a local, independent and award-winning brewer proudly offering a huge selection of cask, keg and bottled beer.
“Mama, Papa, I’m going to make a museum…”
You’ll find natural history at its Victorian best at the quirky Natural History Museum at Tring. Read more about the museum and town here.
Into the countryside
Tring Park is expansive green space with a rich mosaic of important habitats, including chalk grassland, mixed woodland and open parkland, all landscaped by Charles Bridgeman at the turn of the 18th century. Take this circular walk around Tring Park and take in most of the sights of Tring.
Tread carefully among lady’s bedstraw, yellow rattle, saxifrage and salad burnet in summer, while clouds of butterflies flutter by. Just 10 minutes’ walk from the High Street, the Park includes a stretch of the Ridgeway National Trail, which passes through a handsome avenue of lime trees knows as King Charles Ride.
Explore the waterways around this old market town, enjoying the serenity and aspect of and the Grand Union Canal. Throughout the seasons, the reservoirs are a birdwatcher’s paradise as they attract large numbers of breeding and migratory birds, such as common terns, swifts, pochard, wigeon and teal.
College Lake Nature Reserve is Tring’s best kept secret. Situated just outside town, this former chalk quarry has been transformed by the Berks, Bucks and Oxon Wildlife Trust into a haven for wildlife, complete with visitor centre, café, shop and easy access trails. The reserve has an exciting geological history and beautiful summer backdrop of orchids and cornfield flowers. Enjoy birdwatching from the many the hides.
Tring is a gateway town to the 173-mile circular Chilterns Cycleway, which takes many highlights of the Chilterns AONB. The route can be tackled via different loops, or enjoyed in part over shorter rides.
Starting at Tring Railway Station, follows either a 4- or 6-mile circular route through farmland, woodland and common land into the Ashridge Estate. Comprising 2,000 hectares of wildlife-rich woodlands and chalk downland, the Estate offers splendid walks and rides through outstanding scenery. For breathtaking views, 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 Tring include:
To find more places to stay, visit Tring Information Centre or Visit Herts
Heading further afield
Dancersend with Pavis Woods Nature Reserve – 5 miles away
Dancersend with Pavis woods Nature Reserve. Nestling within two sheltered valleys, this wonderfully rich BBOWT reserve is made up of mixed woodlands and chalk grassland. Full of primroses in spring, butterflies in summer, fungi in autumn and lush moss in winter, there is something see all year-round.
Berkhamsted – 5 miles away
Berkhamsted. Chic restaurants, an art-deco cinema and an engrossing mix of familiar and independent shops combine to give Berkhamsted’s high street an uplifting buzz. Look out for the castle and the collegiate buildings of Berkhamsted School, whose Graham Greene festival honours its most famous pupil.
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.
Wendover – 5 miles away
Wendover. Hills and rich woodlands are the peaceful backdrop to this unspoilt town. The Ridgeway National Trail passes through the town, but stay for a while to enjoy the 17th-century Bel & The Dragon at The Red Lion hotel and pub, and shops selling antiques, gifts and chocolate. There’s even more adventures to be had in nearby Wendover Woods.
Getting here by train
The fastest journey time to Tring from London Euston is 34 minutes using London Northwestern Railway.
Getting here by road
Tring is 38 miles from London. It is just off the A41, which runs north from the M25 at Watford.