If you are looking for a short day trip from London, Old Amersham is the perfect destination for a great day out with the kids.
A day out in Buckinghamshire
Mark always tells me as we live in London we should travel less and be tourists in the city more often. I’ve never been against this concept, so this summer (as always) we will devote ourselves a little more to London and its various surroundings.
Staying in the city in the summer months is something that I always liked a lot, even when I lived in Rome. I never left in July and August. Rome in August is empty, only the tourists remain in the city center and it seems to live in a big country … a different story from London where the concept of a vacation does not exist only in August.
There are other reasons that make me appreciate the London summer, first of all the weather is more forgiving, sometimes even warm, to allow me to enjoy dinner in the garden after the children are in bed!
Amersham was the first place we decided to explore a few days after returning from a short holiday in Malta, to have a little taste of life in the country side.
Amersham is a small village in Buckinghamshire, an old market town just outside London but still included in the London underground network being in zone 9 (I don’t think I ever took the metro to zone 9)
So let’s clarify that I am not suggesting to those who come for a weekend in London for the first time to include Amersham in their itinerary, But if you live in London or if you are here for a longer holiday it is definitely a stop to consider.
Amersham: a cheap day trip from London
Amersham can be reached from London very easily:
- you can take the Metropolitan line to one of the terminus (Amersham in fact) or
- get on one of the regional Chiltern trains from Marylebone to Amersham and in about half an hour you will be at your destination. Trains to Amersham from London run quite frequently, usually at least 2 every hour
Amersham tube station and Amersham train station share the same platform, so be careful if you have a preference. The ticket price is the same either if you buy a ticket at the station or use your oyster/contactless card.
When you leave Amersham station don’t get confused: you have to follow the signs for Old Amersham or you will probably end up in the new part of Amersham. Nothing wrong with that,it is a nice commercial high street, but you certainly don’t come here to see a smaller nicer version of Finchley road.
An outline of how to get to Old Amersham:
- leaving Amersham station turn to the left going downhill, as soon as you pass under the bridge then turn right onto a small footpath between some houses and the railway.
- You will come out in a very pleasant tree-lined area, the start of a small wood. Obviously the terrain becomes rougher, but even with a stroller you can still proceed safely.
- Following the path to the left among the trees you will walk parallel to the road going downhill, until after about 10/15 minutes you will come out on the side of a wheat field that in summer is the perfect background for all Instagram fanatics.
- Continuing along the field you arrive at a T-junction
- Turn to the left and follow the small river on the right that runs along the St. Mary’s Church, but which is actually the river Misbourne.
- At this point you will arrive back on the road, and on the left you start to see Old Amersham.
Things to do in Amersham
After the walk which, on a beautiful sunny day, is very pleasant in itself and entertains children with free rides and discoveries in nature, you can immerse yourself in a completely different reality from the one you are used to in London.
Old Amersham will make you feel catapulted into an old English postcard village, there are super picturesque corners and you will come home with tons of photos that no one will believe are taken just at the end of the tube line.
St. Mary’s Church
Upon arriving you will have been captivated by the beauty of medieval St. Mary’s Church. The Church from 1200 (but altered during the 1890 renovation) stands out solemnly near the Misbourne river, and is surrounded by monumental tombs which nevertheless make the space inviting for a relaxing break.
Old Amersham market
Following our directions, arriving on the high street, you will immediately find on the right the historic Old Amersham market hall, still in use where you will find relatively few but pretty stalls selling antiquities.
Shortly afterwards you come across the Amersham museum, reopened a couple of years ago in the original 15th century house. The museum hosts a very interesting exhibition to get an idea of how Amersham has developed over time.
Continuing on the high street you can see the decidedly well-off level of the shops. Mostly fashion stores and not just chains, but independent shops where, if your partner will entertain the children, you can enter for a little niche shopping.
Amersham Servicemen garden
Also on the high street when you are ready for a break, just enter the garden dedicated to Amersham’s Servicemen. Flowerbeds full of flowers and benches to relax are arranged all around and children here have plenty of room to run around safely.
Old Amersham Pubs
Mark initially attracted me here mentioning the presence of country pubs that I really like. Well there is definitely no shortage of options.
Being summer I definitely wanted a place with outdoor space. The place that captured me was the Elephant and Castle pub. You enter a normal well-kept pub, but at the back there is a large sunny garden where you can eat with your feet on the grass.
This detail is what made me prefer it to, for example, the perhaps more fashionable Kings Arms hotel pub, which only seems to have outside space in the internal courtyard beside the car park.
The food was good, but I can’t comment too much, because due to the imminent change of menu, many dishes were not available, We’ll have to go back to try the new menu!
The atmosphere is enchanting, a real country pub, with simple wooden benches and tables, but really inviting for an outdoor lunch during good weather.
If you prefer something lighter the nearby Green Grocer cafe, seemed to have very inviting salads and sandwiches.
Next time, instead, I may be tempted by one of the really posh restaurants in the space of a few metres: The Artichoke where you can try modern European cuisine, or the Hawkyns where to taste Indian cuisine from an ex Michelin star chef.
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Old Amersham hotels
If Amersham is on your itinerary during a road trip (and it definitely should be) stop for the night, it will really give you the chance to savor the English life you could never see in London.
While walking on the high street you will certainly have admired the facade of the half-timbered King’s Arms hotel beautiful Tudor building used as a location for 4 Weddings and a Funeral. If you want to stay in a four-poster bed this place is definitely for you, you can check here the price.
However if you want to see where the interior scenes of the same film were shot you need to walk a few metres down the road to the Crown hotel.
Walking around the Chiltern Hills
If your children are used to walking, another very beautiful thing to do in the summer is one of the many walks between the countryside and the woods.
There are many of various difficulties and all of them usually offer stops along the way where you can eat and drink something.
Next time I will definitely try the route n. 2 suggested in this leaflet.
Visiting Amersham is one of the many things to do in Buckinghamshire and one of the best day trip from London. If you had any doubt I hope I helped you to clear them out