Located in the Chiltern Hills, Old Amersham is one of the most beautiful market towns in Buckinghamshire. From stunning walks & beautiful high street to excellent British pubs – there are so many great things to do in Amersham!
Amersham is one of the poshest and leafiest suburbs around London. If you stroll along the streets between the old town and the newer sections on top of the hill, you will pass homes that have an average value of £1million.
This ancient town is sometimes known as Old Amersham, as its roots go as far back as 796AD.
Now, it attracts tourists to its picturesque Georgian streets, the wide selection of shopping and leisure outlets and the highest concentration of listed buildings in Buckinghamshire.
Amersham can be easily considered as of the most beautiful English towns and it’s a perfect choice for a day trip from London!
Where is Amersham in England?
Amersham is nestled amongst the Chilterns in Buckinghamshire. That means that it is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, surrounded by the undulating landscape of the Chiltern Hills.
It sits on the banks of the River Misbourne. The high-quality agricultural land that surrounds it is what led it to become a bustling market town.
The town lies a little way outside to the M25 to the north-west of London. It’s roughly halfway between High Wycombe and Hemel Hempstead, in what is considered the commuter belt for London.
What is Amersham famous for?
Amersham has a few claims to fame in popular culture. It’s most notable movie appearance is probably ‘Four Weddings and a Funeral’. One of the suites from the Crown Hotel was used during the filming as was the exterior of The King’s Arms.
The town is also mentioned in Geroge Orwell’s 1984 as well as Good Omens, by Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman.
How to get to Amersham from London?
The easiest way to get to Amersham from central London is by taking the Chiltern Railway. You can board at Marylebone and be in Amersham in around 35 minutes.
By car, there are several different routes you can take. The most straightforward is to leave the M25 at junction 18. From there it takes a little over 10 minutes to reach Amersham.
Where to stay in Old Amersham?
Amersham is a relatively small town, so there is not a large number of hotels. The ones you will find are all small local and independent hotels.
Kings Arms Hotel
Of your options in the centre of town, the Kings Arms Hotel is one of the most distinctive. The building is in the traditional Tudor style and looks fabulous. It has played host to a range of famous names throughout history, including Oliver Cromwell. While the building has maintained its historic charm, the amenities are all up to date.
It is an excellent value four-star hotel right in the heart of Old Amersham.
Things to see in Old Amersham:
Old Amersham is the part of the town at the base of the hill. This is where you will find the majority of the attractions to visit and see. If you arrive by train you will come into the new part of the town so will have to stroll down the hill to find the majority of these spots.
1. Old Amersham High Street
As you wander along the High Street in Old Amersham, you will be flanked on either side by amazing Medieval houses. As you walk the streets, you will be able to see how building styles have changed over the years, with the old and new nestled together.
If you look hard enough, you can find buildings from every major period since the 13th Century.
2. Gardens of Remembrance Amersham
At the back of the High Street, you will find a small but touching garden. It has been dedicated to the servicemen and women from Amersham who died during the First and Second World Wars. There is a fountain in the centre of the garden, where the paths meet.
All around the edges of the garden, you will see bright flower beds. The flowers are planted in thoughtful and intricate designs each year. If you can visit during the spring or summer, you will not regret it.
Every other Sunday in May through to September the garden hosts a concert of brass and jazz bands.
3. Amersham War Memorial
In the Remembrance Gardens, there is a stone cross. It is in the fleur-de-lys style. It was placed to commemorate those who were lost in World War I.
There is an inscription to the fallen as well as a list of names. A small section has also been added to commemorate the fallen of World War II.
4. The River Misbourne
The River Misbourne is an interesting river. It was formed as a result of the Chiltern railway creating a viaduct. As such, it requires a lot of care and maintenance to keep it running. It runs over sections of non-porous materials which is why it can be seen. If these materials are disturbed, the river will sink underground and be lost from sight.
It is not uncommon for the river to run very low or even stop from time to time. The people of Amersham take great pains to keep the river flowing as it is a part of their town.
5. Amersham walks
Amersham is ideally located in the Chilterns for anyone who likes to walk in the countryside.
There is a beautiful circular walk that takes in the nearby village of Chalfont St Giles and allows you to explore the Misbourne valley. The route takes you along riverside paths and through woodland trails. The somewhat challenging hill climbs are worth it for the views at the top. Looking out over the Chilterns is well worth the effort.
The whole loop is around 9 miles and is a great way to work up an appetite for a good meal in one of the local pubs.
6. The Elephant and Castle
The Elephant and Castle is a local pub in the heart of Amersham. It is a refurbished 17th-century pub, so it is full of character. There is a log fire to enjoy in winter and a walled garden for the summer.
They serve great British comfort food and often play host to live music.
7. St Mary’s Church
St Mary’s Church is a medieval church. The main part of the building was constructed in the 1200s, with some additions made later on. While the structure remains, the exterior was changed during a restoration in 1890. At this time it was dressed with limestone and knapped flint, this is what you will see if you visit today.
To the north side of the church is a chapel for the Drake family. This is where you can find a selection of relics and sculptures. The graveyard is also the site of the (now unmarked) grave of the last woman executed in the UK.
8. Church mead
Just along from the gardens of remembrance, you will find Church Mead. This is a quiet green space. There is a good-sized piece of lawn here and plenty of shady tree cover. It makes a lovely spot to sit and eat a picnic with views of the church in the distance.
If you are there on a Saturday morning, you might see a surprisingly large number of people as this is the start of Amersham’s Parkrun.
9. The Eagle
The Eagle pub is currently between owners but is worth mentioning as the building has a fascinating history. You find it on the High Street in Old Amersham. The 18th-century fronting is delightful but one of the newer features, as the building itself is much older.
It officially became a beer house in 1856, when it was licensed to sell beer, cider and perry. However, there are suspicions that you could buy a pint long before then as the building was home to the Weller, brewing family.
10. Cottages in Old Amersham
A large part of the charm of Old Amersham is the fantastic variety of homes and building you can find on its streets. As more people have moved into the area, every building no matter its original use has been lovingly converted into the most lovely homes.
As you wander the streets of Old Amersham, take a moment to look at the old coach houses. You will be able to see that what was once a stable is now a delightful cottage. This has lead to a dizzying mixture of homes in shapes, sizes, ages and design.
11. The Griffin
The Griffin is another excellent pub building that is currently looking for a landlord. The building is a perfect example of a coaching inn. Right in the middle of the ground floor, there is a large arched gateway leading through the building to a cobbled yard.
Interestingly, the rear of the building is from the Tudor period while the front is from the 17th Century.
12. Amersham Market
If you can plan your visit for a Tuesday, then you will be able to take a wander through the weekly market on Sycamore Road. As you wander up the hill, you can explore the wide variety of wares.
If you want a more traditional experience, you can come on a Saturday. Then the market will be in the Market Hall. It is a much smaller affair, but there is something wonderful about seeing the space still used for its intended purpose over 300 years after it was built.
There are only around ten stalls to explore, but there is a real country feel to the experience that you won’t get from a bigger market.
13. Old Amersham Market Hall
In 1683, Sir William Drake gifted the money to build the Amersham Market Hall. When you visit, you can see his coat of arms on the side of the building.
he upper floors are for hosting meetings. While the lower level was, and still is, used for markets. Above the door is a warning to mischief makers that read ‘Commit no nuisance’.
For those who did not heed the advice, there is a lock-up on the side of the market.
14. The Market Hall Water Pump Amersham
On the eastern side of the Market Hall is a historic water pump. The pump bears the date 1785. This was when it was gifted to the people of Amersham. In those times, homes had to rely on well water. As most homes did not have their own well, a pump in the centre of town was a huge boon.
Even if it were still working, it would not be advisable to drink from it now, as the tank is made from lead, so the water would not do you any good. Although they are now gone, the local stocks used to stand opposite the pump, in easy reach of the lock-up.
15. The Swan
The Swan is a contemporary option in a town swimming in history. The modern styling makes it stand out in this quaint village.
While still a quintessentially British pub, they offer a modern twist on the classic. It’s a great place to stop for a drink and a bite to eat.
16. Free apples from locals
Do you fancy free fruits? If you visit the high street in Old Amersham very early on Sunday, you might find some.
Yes, this is a very friendly town! 🙂
17. Amersham Museum
A visit to the Amersham Museum gives you a chance to enter one of the ancient buildings that you have been walking past. The museum is inside a half-timbered house dated to the 15th Century.
The museum lets you explore the town’s history over the years. There is a mix of hands-on activities and multimedia tablets. The whole museum takes you from Tudor life in the 1580s through the arrival of the Metropolitan Railway then right up to modern-day.
If you need a little rest after this whistle-stop tour, you can sit awhile in the tranquil herb garden at the back of the museum.
18. Cobbled Lanes
Cobbled streets are an endearing feature of many British historic towns. Amersham is no different. As you wander the town, you can spot the cobbled forecourts that were common at the entrance to all the old coaching inns. There are also small sections of cobbled lanes to walk along dispersed through the town.
Cobbles in the Chilterns are unusual as the chalky land is not a good source of cobblestones. It is only thanks to a local source of Sandstone in Prestwood that it was possible to have any cobbles in Amersham at all.
Is Amersham a good place to live?
Amersham is a beautiful mix of the old and the new. The most prized places to live are the homes that line the streets on the hill between the old town and the new. Here the residents can enjoy the best of both worlds.
The locals regularly rate Amersham as one of the best places to live in the country, so it certainly seems like a wonderful place to live.
However, it may not be accessible to all with house prices averaging at around £1million, not many of us will get the chance to experience living in this idyllic rural spot. We’ll just have to make do with visiting.
Is Old Amersham worth visiting?
Old Amersham is a gorgeous spot. It is filled with history and amazing old buildings.
The location is a perfect setting off point for some lovely walks. All the amenities ensure that you will enjoy some excellent shopping and a great meal afterwards.
It’s an ideal spot for a day trip, especially if you are based in London. It gives you a real taste of the best that the London Suburbs has to offer.
Places to visit nearby Old Amersham:
- Little and Great Missenden: 3-6 miles away from Amersham
- Wendover: 10 miles away from Amersham
- Windsor: 15 miles away from Amersham
- Marlow: 16 miles away from Amersham
- Turville: 17 miles away from Amersham
- St. Albans: 18 miles away from Amersham
- Henley-on-Thames: 21 miles away from Amersham
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