Buckinghamshire is also a great place to visit for short-term breaks. Families and their little ones will enjoy the chance to learn more about Roald Dahl, who called this county his home. A good place to start is The Roald Dahl Museum & Story Centre, which contains some of the children’s author’s original documents and a replica of his writing hut. There are also a number of interactive exhibits on offer, including story-telling sessions and workshops for children.
For more Dahl, Aylesbury's Buckinghamshire County Museum contains the Roald Dahl Children's Gallery. The gallery is ideal for kids, with replicas of one of Willy Wonka’s laboratories, the Twits’ upside down room and models of the creatures who lived in James’s giant peach.
In July, Aylesbury hosts an annual Roald Dahl festival, which includes a themed parade of giant Dahl characters, street theatre, competitions and a free opening of the Roald Dahl Children's Gallery.
If you’ve had enough of topsy-turvy rooms and oversized insects, a quieter day out in Buckinghamshire can be found on The Grand Canal, on which Grebe Canal Cruises offers a number of boat trips. Visitors can take 90-minute boat trips, delightful 2 – 3 hour cream tea and afternoon tea cruises, or Halloween and Santa specials, according to the time of year. If scoffing clotted cream on a peaceful riverboat doesn’t sound like bliss, we don’t know what does.
For a more hands-on experience, Eton College Rowing Centre is a rowing and flat-water canoeing centre set in a 400-acre parkland near Windsor. Here, visitors can have a go in small boats on Dorney Lake.
If, after your time on the water, you yearn to learn more, the River and Rowing Museum in Henley on Thames is the place to be. Separate galleries are devoted to rowing, the river, and the town of Henley on Thames. A recent addition is the Wind in the Willows room, where 3-dimensional models, lighting and music bring the beloved book by Kenneth Grahame to life.
To get your feet firmly back on land again, why not stop by Silverstone racetrack? Visitors can watch car and motorcycle racing events, or try their hand at being a Formula 1 driver themselves at one of Silverstone’s driving experiences or track days.
To continue the adrenaline rush, you might want to visit one of two Go Ape! adventure park and playground sites in Buckinghamshire. Locations in Black Park and Wendover Woodland Park offer treetop ropes courses, wires, crossings and zip wires. Safety equipment is provided and visitors are given a safety briefing before participating in the activities. For the less vertically inclined, there are a number of scenic walking routes and bike paths within the parks as well.
For a bit of history, families will enjoy the Chiltern Open Air Museum, which takes you through the history of Buckinghamshire, from the Iron Age to World War II, by way of interactive exhibits and re-enactments. While most of the ‘village’ is reconstructed, there are also a number of original historic buildings on site, including a cottage believed to have been one of Henry VIII’s hunting lodges.
To continue your history tour, Hughenden Manor is another Bucks site that brings the past to life. Formerly the country home of Victorian prime minister Benjamin Disraeli, the house contains a collection of his personal memorabilia, as well as hands-on activities for children. The formal garden has been recreated based on the original designs of Mary Anne Disraeli and includes a number of woodland walks.
The Cowper and Newton Museum is another great place of historical interest, as it was the 18th century home of the poet, letter-writer and abolitionist William Cowper. The museum tells Cowper’s life story, highlighting his friendship with the ex-slave trader john Newton, author of the hymn Amazing Grace. The museum also contains the Three Hares Gallery, which is free to enter and displays local art and textiles for sale.
If you’re more of a television fan than history buff, the official Midsomer Murders Tour of Locations might be the Bucks activity for you. The tours start in London and take you through the Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire villages and towns featured in the TV programme. The tour promises behind-the-scenes information about the show, revealing details about the historical places that have appeared in numerous episodes.
With such a variety of activities and sites, you’re sure to find something to please everyone in Buckinghamshire.