Bucks (shorthand for Buckinghamshire) is a middle-size county, stretching from West London, near Heathrow Airport, to the outer reach of the Midlands. It borders, going clockwise from London, Berkshire, Oxfordshire, Northamptonshire, Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and London. It is home to about 712,000 people with substantial residential growth in the centre. It is known as Leafy Bucks to some, due to the idyllic rolling hills and vast woodlands but also contains several large towns, mainly High Wycombe (pop. 118,000), Milton Keynes (184,000) and Aylesbury (pop. 65,000) which all have great tourist attractions as well as shopping opportunities. Bucks is also home to Chequers Court, the Prime Minister's country residence and Pinewood Studios where many world famous films and television shows are filmed. It has homed many famous people including Roald Dahl, the children's author, who lived (and died) in Bucks for 30 years.
The main international airport is Heathrow Airport, just outside Bucks in the London Borough of Hillingdon. Other international airports within easy reach include London Luton to the east and Birmingham to the north west, and further afield Gatwick, Stanstead, East Midlands as well as London City Airport. Smaller airports and airfields are dotted around the county.
Most rail services in Bucks radiate out from London. The north of the county (Milton Keynes) is served by the West Coast Main line with services to London Euston and north to Scotland. The middle and south of the county are served by Chiltern Railways' two main lines: one between London Marylebone and Aylesbury, and the other between London Marylebone and Birmingham/Stratford-upon-Avon calling at High Wycombe. There are plans to extend the Aylesbury line north to meet the West Coast Main line at Milton Keynes and possibly even further north to Rugby and Leicester using the old trackbed of the Great Central Main line, which closed in 1966. The very southern tip of the county is served by the Great Western Main line, although only two stations (Taplow and Iver) are in Bucks, with services to London Paddington and west to Reading.
Four motorways venture into Buckinghamshire, although only two run in the county for a reasonable distance:
- The M1 serves the north of Buckinghamshire, mainly Milton Keynes
- The M40 serves the south of the county, largely High Wycombe
- The M25 enters Bucks for its junctions with the M40 and M4
- The M4 serves Slough and Taplow
Other notable roads include:
- A40 which parallels the M40 until Oxford
- A41 which goes through Aylesbury, the county town
- A5 which goes through Milton Keynes
Arriva services cover most of the county and Milton Keynes, with Carousel in the south and centre of the county. The north of the county is served by a frequent Stagecoach linking Oxford to Cambridge via Milton Keynes and Buckingham. National Express services have a major interchange at the Milton Keynes Coachway.
- Chiltern Hills. A chalk escarpment that stretches in a south-west to north-east diagonal from Goring-On-Thames to Luton, and is most prominent in Buckinghamshire. Coombe Hill, close to Wendover is an ideal place to view the Aylesbury Vale and is one of the most impressive viewpoints in the South-East of England.
- The many stately homes and fine gardens that are numerous in Bucks including Waddesdon Manor, Hughenden Manor, Cliveden, Stowe Landscape Gardens and West Wycombe Park.
- The unusual hand-dug Hellfire Caves, near High Wycombe. Constructed by the locals in the 1740s for Francis Dashwood (although possibly earlier), they were the location for meetings of the Hellfire Club.
- The Buckinghamshire Railway Centre, just north of Aylesbury
- Bekonscot Model Village, in Beaconsfield, is the oldest model village in the world and very popular. Depicting England in the 1930s, a highlight is the model railway which runs all around the village.
- the National Museum of Computing at Bletchley Park, near Milton Keynes: includes a working copy of the Ultra-secret Colossus, used by British codebreakers to help read encrypted German messages during World War II.
The large areas of countryside include many country pubs, serving excellent food. Restaurants are also found in rural areas but are more common in the urban areas.
Like most of England, almost every village in Bucks has a local pub, larger ones having more.
Rural parts of Buckinghamshire are most likely to be very safe, especially in the south of the county, which is generally more affluent than other areas. Aylesbury, Milton Keynes, and High Wycombe are also generally safe, but do have problems with widespread homelessness, gang violence, muggings and social disorder. This is generally because of the each of the town's locations being close to motorways, used to transport drugs throughout the UK, stopping in these towns to buy and sell. Tourists are unlikely to be impacted by crime, but police officers and PCSOs are found in most town centres.