What do Roald Dahl, Roger Moore and John Milton all have in common? Well they all lived in Amersham at some point in their lives.
It therefore wouldn’t come as a surprise to you to see why Amersham was voted one the nicest places to live in England in 2016.
Amersham is located within the Chiltern Hills on the Buckinghamshire- Hertfordshire border, 27 miles North West of London and 15 miles South of Aylesbury. The town is separated into two different areas; Old Amersham which is in the valley of the River Misbourne and Amersham on the Hill which started to grow rapidly in the 1920’s.
Old Amersham would be the location of our next road trip.
The journey there would take just under 3 hours, a 170 mile trip along the M6, M42 and M40. We parked on the main car park in the town where the prices were very reasonable: £0.70 for 1 hour, £1 for 2 hours and £1.20 for 3-5 hours. The car park is located to the right of Tesco and is near a future retirement home (it is currently in the process of being built).
The main attraction in the town is the 13th century St Mary’s church. A Gothic style church which was restored in 1890, St Mary’s was granted Grade I listed status in 1958. The body of Ruth Ellis, famous for being the last woman to be hanged in the UK in 1955, is located in the churchyard. Sadly, her headstone was destroyed by her son Andy shortly before he committed suicide in 1982.
Opposite the church is the memorial garden. The World War 1 memorial was dedicated to the bishop of Buckingham and was unveiled in 1921, it was later moved to it’s current location in 1949 when the memorial garden was laid out. In 2006 English Heritage and the Wolfson Foundation gave £1,875 towards the work to conserve the World War 1 memorial and the World War 2 plaque. The garden also contains an array of flowers which look fantastic at this time of year!
Before I took the trip down to Amersham I spoke with my Grandma and she recalled the days when she used to drive through the town before the M40 opened. She stated that she always knew when she was driving through Amersham because all the houses used to have hanging baskets outside and that sometimes there would be peaches outside too! Is it therefore any wonder why Amersham has won the Britain in Bloom award 4 years in a row?!
As we walked along the main street we noticed a high volume of cafe’s including the Green Grocer, a cafe that sells entirely vegan products. There are also a number of small independent shops in the town such as Coco Marie, a ladies designer fashion boutique, and HTR Clothing, a men’s clothes shop.
You certainly aren’t short of pubs in Amersham. There are 5 pubs in Old Amersham in total, all selling local food and drink. The Kings Arms Hotel is one of a few old coaching Inn’s in the town that came to prominence in the 1700’s. The Inn’s provided refreshment and accommodation for travellers that had travelled from Birmingham to London and Reading to Hatfield.
The Amersham Museum opened at 12 o’clock so we thought that it would be a good idea to go in and learn more about the history of this small town. The house was originally built in 1480, so by 1982 the house was badly in need of restoration. The Amersham Society raised enough money to buy the house in 1985 and the Museum opened to the public in 1991. The Museum later won the Museum of the year Shoestring award in 1993. Entrance into the Museum is £3.
We were greeted by two pleasant members of staff who were very informative and gave us a brief tour of the building so that we knew where to go. During the tour of the Museum we noticed a large building that stands at the top of the hill overlooking the whole of Amersham. We later found out that this is the Amersham rectory. The rectory was built in the 1730’s for the second son of the Lord of the Manor (a member of the Drake family who were the most powerful family in Amersham at the time) who was appointed as the Rector. In 1963 the Rectory was sold and it has been a private house since then.
During our visit to the Museum we would also come to learn about the murder of Dr Helen Davidson. Helen Davidson was out walking her dog in Hodgemoor Wood near Amersham in 1966 when she was brutally murdered. Her body was discovered the next day, however after more than 50 years of investigation the police are still no closer to catching her killer.
The Museum tells a fascinating story of Amersham and I would highly recommend a visit if you are ever passing by.
After today i can certainly see why Amersham is such a desirable place to live. Average house prices in the town stand at £719,864 but this takes into account the towns close proximity to London and it’s location within the beautiful Chiltern Hills.
Our time in Buckinghamshire was not yet over though. We would shortly be visiting a stunning stately home just North of Aylesbury…
Until next time,