A quick escape from city life is often called for, especially for this Earth-vibing girl, and with The Chilterns being less than an hour away, they seemed the perfect place for an overnight stay to get some fresh country air and a dosage of country walks, pubs and activities, the only thing missing really was the requisite dog to be a true local.
Where we stayed: Air B'n'B Hawridge
This was not one for a huge culinary experience for us, sadly a few spots we were keen to check out were fully booked out, closed for renovation or had met an untimely & unfortunate experience which meant unforeseen closures. Being a quick trip, we really only had a chance for two meals, opting to whip up a homecooked sunday breaky at our accommodation with some delicious local produce (hello free Rhubarb from friendly locals!) and potter around to some local pubs in the area.
Rumsey's Chocolatier Wendover
In an area renowned for its 'Chocolate box' towns it would've been a crime to not have dropped by this famous Chocolatier for a taste of the local produce! Running for 25 years, this little chocolate heaven sources local cream & ingrediants to provide top quality chocolate to the area. A very sweet little nook,it took a fair amount of restraint not to devour the entire chocolate display, however I did fulfill some cravings with an amazing Mocha. Deliciously naughty as a nice little weekend treat - it's called balance remember!
The Crown - Ley Hill
A real local pub, across the road from the cricket pitch and filled with the usual types of old sports, WAGs and towns folk rolling in post game. Whilst it didn't seem much at first, this was the spot for an amazing pub meal - just as it should be with fresh produce and home style cooking. Delicious country pies and ales that satisfied our appetites to hearty effect!
The Full Moon
As the start and finish point for our long Sunday walk, a traditional roast was always going to be on the cards at this small tavern set alone within Hawsbridge Common. We had been told not to expect much from this little pub in terms of gastropub fare, but with the sun shining on a gorgeous patch of greenery in a nice beer garden, the basic roast headed our way, much anticipated by our hunger from the 2 hour walk across the countryside hit the spot well!
Monument Coombe Hill
On a good day, this is the place to go for amazing, Instagram worthy panoramic views across the entire Chilterns area. Sadly, we were met with low fog and cloud cover, however I suppose we can call it atmospheric! With a nice short walking trail to and from the monument (only about 30 mins), this is set high above Chequers - you know, where the Prime Minister resides when in the area, and really does give you a beautiful sense of how vast the region is. It's a nice spot to settle for a moment and feel the open space, immersed in nature and with some fresh air.
What is more typical English country town that a local Parish Fete, with games, a dog show, horse jumping and a Pimms tent. Being in Vicar of Dibley country (St. Leonards) stumbling across the fete could not have been more of an out-take from an episode if it tried. A true taste of the english countryside, played by those who live in the affluent commuter belt so well, decked out in hunter wellies, the excitement of a Vegetarian BBQ for the first time in history and even a brief visit from a counterfeit Queen....all the excitement of the village!
One of the larger towns in the area, this was a nice one for a stroll and easy to jump back on the train for a 30 minute journey back into London late Sunday afternoon. This town is known as part of the wealthy commuter belt into London and does have more of an influence of city life - I mean there is a Carluccio's and Bills on the High Street, so perhaps not the first place to rush to if you really are looking to escape the chain vibes. However, a convienent gateway point and some pretty little areas along the main canal!
Long country walks were the theme of this weekend! Long rambles through country fields and exploring the area meant we covered a great range of miles and a healthy dosage of LISS completed without feeling like we were "working out".
The main walk of the trip was a 5 mile round trip that begun and finished at The Full Moon in Hawridge. Fortunately, there are free local maps inside the pub to offer directions through the country lanes and fields. Unfortunately, we still managed to get lost and somehow created our own ramble through some rather muddy woods and hillsides. However in the name of positive thinking, its good to go off path and find your own way, case in point, we somehow stumbled upon a bizarre conservation area filled with Dinosaurs and tiny fairies suspended from the trees and arrange around the forest floor. Very interesting.
The varying terrain, hills and valleys led to a decent walk perfect for a little bit of fat burning and filling the lungs with clean air - just what the doctor ordered and of course, there was moments for prime photo opportunities!
If you are looking for a quick country escape, this is easily managed within 24 hours to get a dose of the slower pace of life and return to the city refreshed! Look for a clear weekend and hopefully sunny skies and you can unwind with the country commuters!