The centre of Aylesbury began life, like many similar towns in Buckinghamshire, as a small market town. It has developed into a more commercial area over the last fifty years or so which has brought with it much cheap housing which sprawls out over the areas towards the edge of the town that were once greener and used for small scale farming. The sheer number of roundabouts as you enter Aylesbury is a giveaway to how recently and rapidly much of the building has been done, although the buildings in the centre hark back to a very different age. Aylesbury is also a vale, which includes a handful of villages, hamlets and small settlements; such as Stoke Mandeville. This village is famous for its hospital that was both very active during the Second World War and now has specialist plastic surgery and spinal injury wards. The area was Parliamentarian during the Civil War and the villages out towards Royalist Oxford suffered heavily owing to the constant conflict that raged. John Hampden notoriously defended Aylesbury at the Battle of Holmon’s Bridge in 1642. The area attracts many visitors not only for its history, but also for the great high street shopping in Aylesbury town and the personal accommodation within the quaint villages that are doted throughout the beautiful countryside.


Old Town – The city centre is dominated by the ugly 1960s council building, which is so hideous it has been featured on television renovation programs. The more historic Old Town is made up of small quiet streets and understated Georgian architecture which is home to some good antiques and craft shops. Parking can be impossible in this area, but it is far more pleasant to explore on foot and you’ll have no trouble finding somewhere to stop for a cup of tea.

[http://www.buckscc.gov.uk/museum/dahl/about_rdgallery.stm The Roald Dahl Children’s Gallery] – The Gallery is steeped in the Old Town which is rather fitting given this heroic writer’s reputation for not suffering fools lightly and shying from the mainstream. The gallery is an educational trip through the world and works of one the country’s most bizarre and captivating writers. The museum is very popular with visitors and school trips so it may be worth booking in advance as the exhibition has limited capacity.

[http://www.waddesdon.org.uk/ Waddesdon Manor] – Just a short drive from Aylesbury can be found this impressive stately home, built to entertain the guests of and showcase the possessions of Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild. The subsequent generations of inhabitants have accumulated further items which make up what is now one of the most extensive collections of eighteenth century decorative arts and English portraits worldwide. The gardens are equally impressive, famed for their Parterre, statues and sheltered paths. Events take place throughout the year ranging from educational trips and exhibitions to grand dinners. Those interested in horticulture might also like to visit [http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/main/w-vh/w-visits/w-findaplace/w-stowegardens/ Stowe Landscape Gardens] which also has spectacular grounds that are littered with structures and intricacies.


Aylesbury is the centre for shopping in Buckinghamshire. The main high street is fairly generic, and has fairly similar outlets to those in the two shopping centres. Friar’s Square shopping centre has around 70 shops and a handful of eateries, Hale Leys is slightly smaller and aimed at more upmarket clientele with foreign coffee and expensive clothing. The roads through the Chilterns that lead towards Aylesbury are dotted with signs offering locally grown produce. A town market takes place Tuesday, Friday and Saturday with a Flea Market Tuesdays selling everything from fruit and vegetables to cheap batteries and towels. The Market Square also sees a monthly local Farmers Market where you can buy products such as the famed Aylesbury Duck.

Nightlife and Eating Out

Aylesbury has a very broad range of international restaurants for its size. El Halal offers excellent takeaway Indian food but there are a wealth of other options. The same goes for Chinese, with The Bamboo being hailed as the favourite by most. Upmarket places in the centre may well disappoint; the restaurant at the stately home Hartwell House being a prime culprit for not delivering value for money. For those wishing to splash out, a trip to one of the nearby villages could well be far more rewarding. The Woolpack Inn at Stoke Mandeville is just one example of a well-executed gastro pub menu with idyllic settings.

In terms of nightlife Aylesbury is one of the most popular places in its area. The main contenders are Milton Keynes and Luton, and driving through Buckinghamshire it is hard to ignore the neon posters that adorn the lampposts and signs at every junction advertising the most recent happy hardcore and drum and bass raves. The bars in the city centre are equally popular with queues spilling out the door of Yates’ and Chicago Rock Café even on weekdays. St James offers slightly more credible music than most, and the over 21 policy makes for a slightly more discerning atmosphere. There is a growing alternative crowd, although there is little to cater to anything other than the mainstream.

Tourist Information

Tourist Information Centre The Kings Head Kings Head Passage off Market Square Aylesbury BuckinghamshireEngland HP20 2RW

  • Telephone: 01296 330 559
  • Fax: 01296 330 559
  • Email: tic@aylesburyvaledc.gov.uk
  • Web: [http://www.aylesburyvale.net www.aylesburyvale.net]


The nearest airport is [http://www.luton-airport-guide.co.uk/ London Luton] at 20 miles flights across Europe, the majority of which through chartered flights or budget airlines. Direct buses from Aylesbury to the airport run throughout the day and night as to trains to Luton station from which a shuttle bus ferries passengers to the airport. For a greater choice of destinations, [http://www.heathrow-airport-guide.co.uk/ Heathrow airport] is only a further 12 miles and is equally well served by public transport.

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