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MONDAY, 11TH FEBRUARY 2013
Buckinghamshire Tourist Attractions

Encircled by sandy knolls and chalk-stone cliffs, the verdant county of Buckinghamshire yields unlimited opportunities for exploration. A patchwork of golden meadows and thick wooded forests, the narrow Vale of Aylesbury retains a quintessentially  English charm, famed for its agricultural heritage and myriad of 18th Century country estates.

The majestic Chiltern Hills to the South are a dramatic contrast to the sleepy Vale; a prime base for cyclists and kite-surfing junkies seeking out challenging terrain. Whether you prefer a vertical challenge in the shape of a towering cliff-face, or tracing the history of Buckinghamshire's many notable literary characters, such as Percy Shelley and Enid Blyton, you'll be spoiled for choice by the sheer volume of fascinating attractions scattered throughout 'old Mercia'.

 

Bekonscot Model Village - flckr - timo_w2sBekonscot Model Village, Beaconsfield
First unveiled to the public in 1929, Bekonscot Model Village is now the oldest of its kind in the world. Spanning just over 2 acres, this tiny land of make-believe is a huge hit with kids and adults alike - many of whom return to Bekonscot just for a glimpse of the world-class Gauge I garden railway. The 'village' actually comprises six small towns based on real locations, including Southpool, a former fishing village in Devon. Of course, some of the diminutive locations are entirely fictional, but include a few prominent English landmarks such as Enid Blyton's House and Hampton (Hanton) Court Maze. Save your feet and enjoy a tour of this fascinating hand-crafted village aboard the Bekonscot Light Steam Train, stopping off for cream tea at the outdoor café. Kids will find plenty to amuse themselves, including a pond with remote-controlled boats and village-themed play area, as well as bird of prey demonstrations during the summer months!  www.bekonscot.co.uk

 

The Hellfire Caves, High Wycombe
Commissioned by Chancellor of the Exchequer Sir Francis Dashwood in 1742, West Wycombe's curious Hellfire Caves are a true feat of 18th Century engineering. It is believed the caves were formerly a Neolithic worship site, later renovated under the order of Dashwood to provide a meeting place for the notorious Hellfire Club. Pick axe markings can still be seen today throughout the segueing tunnels and chambers 400 metres below West Wycombe Hill, along with various petroglyphs. Descending into the network of labyrinthine tunnels, it soon becomes apparent the Hellfire Caves weren't just intended to be a secret meeting place for those of rank. According to historians, the Hellfire Club regularly indulged in immoral practices and pagan rituals -  included satanic worship. Crossing the River Styx into the vast, temple-like Banqueting Hall, you can almost hear the whispers of satanic chants carrying on the cold, dank air. For the energetic, a trip to St. Lawrence's Church and Mausoleum atop the hill is a must. It was here the heart of former Club member Paul Whitehead was contained in an urn; later stolen by an Australian soldier as a Civil War prize and where subsequently, his spirit is said to wander for eternity!  www.hellfirecaves.co.uk

 

The County Museum and Roald Dahl Gallery, Aylesbury
The heart of picturesque Aylesbury is sprinkled with various buildings of national repute, yet few are as popular or intriguing as the County Museum and Roald Dahl Children's Gallery. Open daily from April until September, the County Museum houses a number of Anglo-Saxon and Roman collections which portray how life has evolved in the scenic riverside town. Innovative displays allow visitors to handle various treasures uncovered during archaeological digs, including vanity mirrors, agricultural tools and animal fossils. Housed within the former 18th Century Coach House, Roald Dahl's Gallery brings to life the bestselling stories of the UK's most celebrated children's' author. Discover numerous Willy Wonka inventions; hunt for Fantastic Mr. Fox in his lair and visit the Twits' Upside Down Room; with original illustrations, information points and even storytelling workshops, this iconic museum will integrate you with Roald Dahl's wildest imaginations!  www.buckscc.gov.uk/bcc/museum/county_museum.page

 

POSTED BY: LISA
AT 11:04

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