Quest for culture
The Chilterns’ thriving cultural scene offers everything from museums to music festivals, so discover your history and find your rhythm.
With 16 market towns, a wealth of attractions, and outdoor places full of heritage, there is plenty to do if you are questing for culture in the Chilterns AONB. Our landscapes are full of prehistory: from burial mounds to hillforts and ancient animals, discovery is on the doorstep – both outside and in our fantastic museums. The towns are thriving and vibrant, brimming with markets, artisan products and independent shopping, alongside theatre, music and cinema. In between, sleepy and quaint villages host old English pubs and interesting filming locations. Festivals pop up throughout the year, with the Chilterns Walking Festival and Chilterns Food and Drink Festival just two of the calendar highlights.
Pop along to a museum
The Chilterns hosts a massive number of museums, covering a rich and diverse set of subjects. Many of the market towns have their own settings, showcasing their unique histories, while other attractions take on specific subjects, such as the River Thames and Victorian collections.
Located in the Tudor hall house on the High Street, this recently renovated museum tells the story of local events, places and people, with exhibits and information covering an intriguing range of topics from Amersham’s religious martyrs to Dinky Toys. It also offers excellent guided walks of the Old Town and its surroundings.Read more
Discover Bucks Museum
A space to explore, learn and wonder about all things Buckinghamshire! There are permanent galleries and hands-on fun, as well as lots of events and exhibitions, including everything from giant Lego models to embroidered birds. Right next door, the Roald Dahl Children’s Gallery offers discovery and science based on his wonderful world.Read more
Natural History Museum
A splendid Victorian building in the heart of Tring houses the incredible collections of the keen zoologist, Walter Rothschild, which are now part of the world-renowned Natural History Museum of London. While much of the interior retains its unique Victorian charm, the museum has a regular programme of inspiring exhibitions and events.Read more
River & Rowing Museum
Follow the story of rowing and the River Thames at this museum based in Henley-on-Thames. Special exhibitions include a focus on Kenneth Grahame’s family favourite, The Wind in the Willows; and the Piper Gallery, displaying works by one of Britain’s most prolific artists, John Piper.Read more
This intimate museum features The Wallingford Story, which takes a walk along Wallingford’s timeline from the Romans and Saxons to the Civil War. There is also a miniature recreation of Wallingford’s huge royal castle.Read more
Enjoy cinema, music, theatre and art
Whether you are looking for a laugh at a comedy show or wanting to place a prized picture on your wall, there’s a huge choice of arts to immerse yourself in throughout the Chilterns AONB.
In the centre of Henley-on-Thames, the Kenton Theatre is the fourth-oldest working theatre in the UK. Today, the programme covers comedy, drama, music, talks and more. Sit back and enjoy a performance from some of the best in the business, such as Michael McIntyre, Hayley Mills, Dara O’Briain, Diana Rigg and Russell Brand.Read more
Sally Evans Artists and Makers Fairs
Sally Evans has been organising craft fairs in Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire since 2003. Each fair is an opportunity to meet incredible local talent and enjoy beautiful craftsmanship. From prints to ceramics, and stained glass to silversmithing, a diverse and impressive shopping experience awaits you!Read more
Stanley Spencer Gallery
Located in Cookham, this gallery is dedicated to the life and work of the highly acclaimed artist, Sir Stanley Spencer RA (1891-1959), who lived in this picturesque village. It has a regular programme of expertly curated exhibitions.Read more
The Rex Cinema
“Possibly Britain’s most beautiful cinema” (BBC), the Rex has one huge screen set in a glorious 1938 art-deco proscenium arch. The whole experience is delightfully civilized; sink into large, comfortable seats with your choice of cheese and drink to accompany the film.Read more
Wycombe Arts Centre
A local hub for everything creative, Wycombe Arts Centre is a collaborative and participatory centre that offers a wide range of events from pottery workshops to evenings of jazz, open mic nights to musical therapy sessions.Read more
Time for a fiesta!
Fill your days with fun! Look out for regattas that celebrate our links with the River Thames, foodie festivals that showcase the amazing local produce on offer, and literary trails that will take you through a world not your own.
Chiltern Arts Festival
Chiltern Arts is an exciting initiative that brings music, literature and art to the Chiltern Hills. Their festival is nine days of the highest quality music and art throughout the beautiful towns and villages of the region.Read more
Chilterns Food and Drink Festival
A huge celebration of food and drink in the region, this festival highlights both its heritage and its future. Find out more about local food and drink producers with guided walks and tours taking in vineyards, farm shops, cafés, pubs, breweries and restaurants. Bring along family and friends and tuck in!Read more
Chilterns Heritage Festival
The Chilterns AONB hosts some of the best examples of our country’s heritage. The annual Heritage Festival aims to raise awareness of our historic sites and beautiful landscape through visits to these fascinating places and a wide variety of heritage-themed activities across the region.
Chilterns Walking Festival
Over a two-week period, twice a year, the Chilterns Conservation Board organises more than 60 countryside walks and events, showcasing nature reserves, iron age hillforts, farms, churches, filming locations and more. Many of the walks include refreshment stops at cafés, pubs and farm shops, allowing you to enjoy local produce from the beautiful Chilterns landscape.Read more