Not to be confused with Buckingham Palace in Westminster, London.

Buckingham is a small historic market town in South East England. It is in the northern half of Buckinghamshire close to the borders of Northamptonshire and Oxfordshire. It is 17 miles (25 km) north of the county town Aylesbury, 13 miles west of central Milton Keynes and 58 miles (100 km) north west of London.

Understand edit

History edit

Read edit

The Larkrise to Candleford books by Flora Thompson tell the story of rural Britain at the end of the 19th century, and Buckingham formed the basis of the fictional Candleford. Exhibits from the BBC dramatisation of the books can be seen at the Buckingham Old Gaol museum.

Visitor information edit

Get in edit

By car edit

Buckingham sits on the convergence of the A413 (north-south), A421 and A422 (east-west) roads. The town was by-passed in the early 1980s by creating a new section of the A421 to the south. From the east the A421 connects from the M1 at junction 13, with roads to the north 15 or 15a, with junctions 9,10 and 11 providing access to the M40 in the west. Taxis serve the town and surrounding villages, and can provide connections to Milton Keynes.

By bus edit

Buckingham is easily accessible by bus, with direct links to Milton Keynes, Bedford, Bicester and Oxford with the express Stagecoach X5, Aylesbury and Winslow via the 60, and Milton Keynes and Bletchely via the X60.

By train edit

Buckingham's train station closed in 1964 and the closest stations are to the east in Milton Keynes Central for the West Coast Main Line (London Midland, Southern and Virgin services) for fast frequent services from London Euston, Northampton, Birmingham, Manchester and Glasgow. There are also stations at Wolverton and Bletchley (for local services to London and Northampton), Bicester North (for London Marylebone and Birmingham Snow Hill) and Bicester Town (for Oxford). Winslow railway station is scheduled to re-open in 2019 as part of the new East-West rail project.

By cycle edit

Buckingham is on the National Cycle Route 50 that runs from Buckingham to Daventry. A new off-road cycleway connects Buckingham to Winslow via Padbury and Adstock, following the route of the A413. A number of cycle paths run though the town parks.

Get around edit

Most of the town is easily accessible by foot, with the majority of the visitor attractions within the town centre and the adjoining historic Prebend End. There are numerous walks that provide gentle perambulations around the town including a town trail (map available from the tourist information centre), the circular walk and the railway walk. A town bus service provides connections between the outlying housing areas, the town centre and Maids Moreton. The town has a number of taxi companies where journeys can be pre-booked by telephone, and some taxis that can be occasionally found in the town centre taxi ranks.

See edit

Buckingham Old Gaol Museum in the heart of the town centre

Buckingham's town centre is a traditional Georgian market town which is pleasant to wander. A street market fills the Market Hill on Tuesday and Saturday and a flea market takes place in the picturesque High Street in the old cattle pens area.

Directly linked to the town centre is the River Great Ouse which winds its way through the town, through Bourton Park to the east, and to Chandos Park to the west. Swans, ducks and moorhens can be seen by the small boardwalk and riverbank by the town centre car park.

Specific sites that merit a visit include:

  • 1 Buckingham Old Gaol, Market Hill, MK18 1JX (right in the heart of the town centre, looking like a small castle), +44 1280 823020, . M-Sa 10AM-4PM. The purpose-built 1748 prison, extended by the famous architect George Gilbert Scott in 1839 is now the town museum (including a Flora Thompson exhibition) and houses tourist information centre. Adults £3.50, children £2.00 (under 5s free), family ticket £9.00 (2 adults and up to 3 children).    
  • 2 Chantry Chapel, Market Hill, MK18 1JX (opposite the post office in between Market Hill and West Street), +44 1296 730349, . Tu-Sa 10AM-3PM. A 15th-century chapel, restored by Gilbert Scott in 1875, now home to a National Trust second-hand bookshop. Free.    
  • 3 Stowe Landscaped Gardens, New Inn Farm, Stowe, MK18 5EQ (2 miles north of Buckingham, access via Stowe Avenue), +44 1280 817156, . Daily 10AM-4PM (winter) and 10AM-6PM (summer). Very significant 18th-century gardens now owned by the National Trust, covering 250 acres with many follies and sculpture. Adult £8.00, child £4.10.
  • 4 St Peter and St Paul Parish Church, Castle Hill, MK18 1BS (on top of the old castle hill between Castle Street and Church Street), +44 1280 821509. Daily 10AM-5PM (approx). Built in 1780, and significantly altered and extended in the 1860s by Sir George Gilbert Scott with impressive gothic interior and chancel. Free entry.    

Do edit

There are a number of events organised during the year by the town council and many voluntary organisations. The local paper Buckingham and Winslow Advertiser is published weekly every Friday and is a good source of information.

  • 1 The Film Place, University of Buckingham Chandos Road Building, Station Road, MK18 1EG (on the corner of Station Road and Chandos Road, free parking across the street), . Buckingham's local community cinema shows blockbusters, art and foreign films on a regular basis in the University of Buckingham's upgraded theatre.
  • 2 Swan Pool & Leisure Centre, London Road, MK18 1AE, +44 1280 817500. M-F 6:30AM–10PM, Sa Su 8AM-6PM. Refurbished and expanded leisure centre with swimming pool, gym, squash and climbing wall.
  • Buckingham Summer Festival, Various locations around Buckingham, . A week-long festival of music, normally held first week of July.
  • 3 Silverstone Circuit, Silverstone Circuit, Dadford Road, NN12 8TN (6 miles north of Buckingham via Dadford), +44 844 3750 740. Home of the British Grand Prix, and the host of many major motor and bike racing in the UK throughout most of the year. Numerous driving experiences available from Silverstone or the on-site Porsche Centre.    

Buy edit

Buckingham used to be famous for its lace and wool industries, but these ceased to exist by the start of the 20th century. There are now many artists, small crafts and food companies that are in the locality, and their products such as honey and soap can be found in the tourist information centre and gift shops.

The only bank branch in Buckingham is Lloyds, located in the town centre. Currency exchange is available at the post office. There are ATMs at both Lloyds and the Post Office.

Bookshops edit

Local food edit

Home and gifts edit

Eat edit

Buckingham has a wide range of food options from fast food to fine dining. Most establishments are within the town centre. For picnics in the park there is a Waitrose supermarket with deli counters and fresh bread, and take out food such as fish and chips, Subway sandwiches and Kebabs can be obtained in the town centre. On market days there are usually stalls selling bread, cakes, olives and fresh fruit and vegetables.

  • 1 Buckingham Fort, 17 West Street, MK18 1HE (close to the town centre), +44 1280 822842. Daily noon-2:30PM, 6-11PM. Indian restaurant with popular Wednesday and Sunday banquet specials.
  • 2 Cheng Du, Meadow Walk (located in the Meadow Walk pedestrian precinct between the main town car park and Market Hill), +44 1280 815898. Su-Th 5:30-10:30PM, F Sa 5:30-11:30PM. Chinese, very popular for the Chinese New Year special menu. Mains £7 to £10.
  • 3 Louis', 53/54 Nelson Street, MK18 1BT (a 3-minute walk from Castle Street, no adjacent on-street parking), +44 1280 815556, . Tu-Sa noon-3PM, 5-11PM. Pizza and cocktails. Mains £10 to £20.
  • 4 Prego, 4 High Street, MK18 1NT (in the town centre), +44 1280 821205, . Wide range of Italian dishes including pasta, risotto and pizza. Mains £8 to £14.
  • 5 Binn Smokehouse (Buckingham Inn), 14 Market Hill, MK18 1JX, +44 1280 830109. Previously known as The Whale, now managed by the owners of Nelson Street restaurant. Combines pub with a smokehouse restaurant. £9-26.

Drink edit

Buckingham has a large number of pubs and bars ranging from family friendly to youth orientated to the traditional.

  • 1 The Kings Head, 7 Market Hill, MK18 1JX (on the corner of Market Hill and Moreton Road), +44 1280 812442, . Under new management in 2016 with new coffee and lunch menu for day time and extensive gin selection for the evenings
  • 2 [formerly dead link] The Mitre, Mitre Street (about 10-minute walk from the town centre, close to the University). Traditional village pub feel, Cask Marque Real Ales, and listed in the CAMRA guide. Milton Keynes and North Bucks CAMRA Pub of the Year 2015
  • 3 [formerly dead link] The Woolpack, 57 Well Street, MK18 1EP (short walk from the town centre), +44 1280 817972, . M-Th 11AM-11PM, F Sa 11AM-midnight, Su noon-10:30PM. Large outdoor area that backs onto the river. Cask Marque Real Ales, and listed in the CAMRA guide. Range of bar food. Limited on-street parking.
  • The New Inn, 18 Bridge Street, MK18 1AF (short walk from the town centre, opposite the junction with Bourton Road), +44 1280 423677, .

Sleep edit

Accommodation in Buckingham is generally good value, but can be in high demand and prices rocket for big events at the nearby Silverstone Circuit, particularly the Grand Prix weekend in July. There are three hotels located in the heart of the town centre:

Three further hotels are on the southern edge of the town on the bypass:

  • 4 [dead link] Best Western Buckingham Hotel, A421 Bypass, MK18 1RY (on the southern edge of town on the A421 bypass, free parking on site), +44 1280 822622, . Formerly the Four Pillars, the Best Western has 70 rooms and a good restaurant on site and the only hotel in the town with a pool. Ideal for visitors with their own transport. Free parking. from £62.
  • 5 Travelodge, A421 Bypass, MK18 1SH (on the southern edge of town on the junction of the A421 and A413 behind the Shell garage, own free car park), +44 871 984 6087. A budget option near bus stops into the town centre and to Winslow and Aylesbury. About a 20-25 minute walk into the town centre. A 5-minute walk to the large Tesco supermarket which has a cafe and a Beefeater restaurant and Costa coffee shop. from £19.
  • 6 Premier Inn, Needlepin Way, Buckingham MK18 7RA (Located off the A413 south of Buckingham, easily accessible from the A421), +44 330 128 1345. New purpose built budget hotel, adjacent to Beefeater restaurant, Costa coffee and Lidl supermarket.

There a more rural location try:

Connect edit

Buckingham post codes all start MK18. There is a post office is in Market Hill, open Monday to Friday 9AM to 5:30PM, Saturday 9AM to 12:30PM.

The telephone code for Buckingham is 01280. There are no mobile phone shops in the town, though top-up cards can be purchased in many shops in the town, and a limited range of mobile phones are available in the large Tesco supermarket on the bypass.

Go next edit

C14th Thornborough Bridge

Buckingham is a good base for exploring the Ouse Valley area, including many walks around the Buckingham area including a two mile walk through fields to the historic 14th-century Thornborough Bridge (reputed to be the oldest bridge in Buckinghamshire) and the nearby second century Roman Burial Mounds.

Silverstone Grand Prix circuit is only 6 miles north of Buckingham, home of the British Grand Prix and many other car and motor bike races during the year, together with a track driving school, track experiences and a Porsche driving centre.

Within a short drive of Buckingham there is the small market town of Winslow (6 miles) with Claydon House (National Trust) nearby, Bicester (11 miles) and the factory outlets and Brackley (7 miles), another picteresque market town with a large antique centre.

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