Walk 30: Buckingham Town Walk: Get out of Gaol free

The ‘Needs to Know’

Distance: 3.1 miles (4.98km)

Time to walk: Not sure the guidance mileage is right on this one as it seemed shorter, but with everything to look at, it’s probably a couple of hours

Difficulty: All on hard paths & very easy. We walked this on a fine February day

Parking: We parked in the Cornwalls Meadow car park (Waitrose) which is near the Old Gaol & really cheap

Public toilets: Lots of pubs etc

Map of the route: map

Buckingham is lovely!

It’s a market town not far from our own Shire & dates back to the 7th century. The literal meaning is “meadow of Bucca’s people” & it’s said to have been founded by the leader of the first Anglo Saxon settlers. The first settlement was located around the top of a loop in the River Great Ouse, presently the Hunter Street campus of the University of Buckingham

Between the 7th & 11th century, the town regularly changed hands between the Saxons & the Danes. In 914 King Edward the Elder & a Saxon army encamped in Buckingham for four weeks forcing local Danish Viking leaders to surrender

Subsequently a fort was constructed at the location of the present Buckingham parish church

The town received its charter in 1554 when Queen Mary created the free borough of Buckingham with boundaries extending from Thornborowe Bridge (now Thornborough) to Dudley Bridge & from Chackmore Bridge to Padbury Mill Bridge

The town suffered from a significant fire on 15th March 1725 & many of the main streets were destroyed including Castle Street, Castle Hill & the north side of Market Hill

This is a great walk to combine with a visit to Stowe Gardens which are just down the road & owned by the National Trust. Have a look at our walk round there…

So…shall we go & have a look?

Let’s Walk!

1. Our car park is right in the middle of Buckingham, but just make sure you park in the ‘longer’ stay area which is near the river.  To start the walk we need to head to the right of Waitrose & pass through the alley into the main road…


That back tyre needs a bit of a pump!

That back tyre needs a bit of a pump!

Sounds interesting...

Sounds interesting…

…& here’s the exit onto the street…


2. So welcome to Buckingham!

We’re heading left past what’s probably the main attraction in the town the Old Gaol, which we’ll have a good look at later…



Continue up the left side of the High Street towards the Town Hall at the top…


3. There’s not many ‘foodie’ places in the town, but the butchers, Clays of Buckingham is definitely one of the better. Not the best photo, but the pies etc in the left window are just awesome…


Click on this link to have a look at their website…it’s a great shop

4. At the top of the road on the left’s The White Hart & straight ahead’s the impressive Town Hall…



IMG_80895. On reaching the junction turn left down down Bridge Street, but be careful as the traffic round here’s pretty busy…



There’s more local shops here, but also lots of estate agents &, looking in the window, this is quite an expensive town to live in. Buckingham also has its fair share of pubs & another’s on the left…the Three Cups. Unfortunately not many of them have a web site


6. Just past the above pub cross the road & head down Well street…


On the left’s the office of the local ‘rag’…the Buckingham & Winslow Advertiser


7. Just further on there’s another ‘establishment’…The Woolpack (no website..)…


Don't forget..

Don’t forget..

Now turn left just before it & walk down Ford Street crossing the footbridge over the Great Ouse…




8. At the end of the footbridge turn right & follow the river through the very pretty area of the riverside park…


There’s views across the river to the church which we’ll have a closer look at shortly…


We’re walking into a low sun, which is a pain for taking photos, but it’s a lovely stretch of water…


We had some company too...

We had some company too…

9. Shortly we come to a weir & beyond that is the bridge to cross to leave the park…




10. Across the bridge we turn right & then left over the small bridge to arrive in Buckingham University Campus…



Buckingham is the only University independent of direct government support in the UK, the model of many US universities

It’s a private research University & was originally founded as the University College at Buckingham in 1973 & received its Royal Charter from the Queen in 1983

Buckingham offers bachelor’s degrees, master’s degrees & doctoral degrees through five “schools” (or faculties) of study

It’s one of eight members of the newly formed Independent Universities Group, whose objective is to differentiate their academic credentials from the more commercial elements of the alternative sector

11. Our route through the grounds is the gap on the right & then up the steps & straight ahead to meet Hunter Street…




…opposite the Masonic building over the road…


12. Turn left along Hunter Street passing over the river again…




13. There’s a park on the right with a ‘nickname’ walk…there’s some stories that it’s a reference to King George VI (The King’s Speech)


 14. We’re not heading that way, but instead pass under the railway arch…


…& follow the road round to the right past The Mitre pub…



The Mitre is the oldest pub in Buckingham…don’t expect fancy food & comfy chairs, this is a drinkers’ establishment. They have a great selection of real ales, from session to strong ones


15. This is one of the oldest areas of the town & there’s some nice properties which we pass until reaching the white building on the right where it’s a right turn into Bath Lane…



16. Be careful along here as the road’s narrow & quite busy as we round the corner & head under the railway again…



…be careful there’s no paths…


Spring's coming...

Spring’s coming…

17. On the right’s an old disused factory now owned by the University…

Better not go in there...

Better not go in there…

…& on the bank on the left’s some further evidence of spring coming…



18. At the junction turn right along Tingewick Road & follow it back across the river again…




…to the junction with Hunter Street…


…where on the left’s another fine view of the church…


19. Head right up Hunter Street…


Nice basket

Nice Spring basket

…& then first left into Manor Street – this is another old part of the town built around the  church…


20. On the right’s The Old Churchyard, site of the old 13th century Church which was demolished in 1776…



21. If we turn left we can see the new Church ahead, but before we do, on the right’s The Manor House…



Next door’s a property called ‘Twisted Chimney House’ which was originally part of The Manor House – wonder why it’s called that?


Ah Ha! One of Buckingham's most famous landmarks

Ah Ha! One of Buckingham’s most famous landmarks

22. Straight ahead’s Church Street which is very quaint & there’s several properties of note along here…


The buildings on the left were once a hospital…



…& also a converted building now owned by the University called The Radcliffe Centre…



23. What we’ve really come to see though is St Peter & St Paul’s Church



…& we head round the right side…


Unfortunately we couldn't have a look inside today

Unfortunately we couldn’t have a look inside today

24. The exit from the churchyard’s through a gate with an impressive property on the left…



25. At the junction turn left & cross the road heading for the gap known as Bristle Hill…


Could be a number of things...

Could be a number of things…

Head down the hill…

Head down the hill…

Nice part of town

Nice part of town

Although Buckingham appears to be a wealthy ‘Times & Telegraph’ type of town, there were a few Sun readers around…


26. At the bottom of Bristle Hill turn right up School Lane & follow this until the junction with West Street…


At the end’s a very attractive property…


27. Turn right into West Street which leads us back into the town centre…



Feeling in need of some sustenance? Looby Lu’s Tearoom on the left looks worth a visit…



28. At the large white building above bear left down Market Hill…


The building on the left is owned by the National Trust & is Buckingham’s oldest property…The Chantry Chapel



The building was originally established as a hospital in the 12th century. It became a chantry chapel in 1268, founded by Matthew de Stratton, the Archdeacon of Buckingham. The present building dates from the 15th century, when John Ruding, Archdeacon of Lincoln, undertook rebuilding work in 1471 & 1481

The building was later used by the Royal Latin School, with the chantry priests probably serving as the first schoolmasters. A schoolmaster’s house was added to the north. The school remained on the site until 1907, when expansion prompted a move to new buildings on Chandos Road

Further restoration work was undertaken by Sir George Gilbert Scott in 1875

The chapel was given to the National Trust in 1912 & is open to the public as a second-hand bookshop


29. Ahead of us in the distance is the Old Gaol & it’s time to have a closer look…


If you fancy a quick refreshment then we can recommend the 100 year old ‘The Whale’ on the left – not the most fancy pub, but there’s a warm welcome & it serves a cracking pint of London Pride


pride30. There’s a few market stalls along here which is always good to see…




31. So let’s have a look at the Old Gaol…



Buckingham Old Gaol is now a museum, shop & tourist information centre

The original prison building was built in a gothic style in 1748 funded mainly by Richard Temple, 4th baronet of Stowe (1675–1749), previously MP for Buckingham.

One of the prisoners jailed was the prize fighter Simon Byrne, tried at the Buckingham Assizes in 1830 for the manslaughter of another prize fighter, Alexander M’Kay

The rounded front of the building, known as the Keeper’s Lodge, was added in 1839 & provided accommodation for the gaoler. For around 60 years, the Old Gaol acted as the police station for Buckingham, until a new one was built a short distance away on Moreton Road

In 1891 it became a fire station & then C Company of the 1st Bucks Rifles rented part of the building for their armoury from 1892 until 1926


In the 1950s it became an antiques shop & cafe until in 1974, the Aylesbury Vale District Council took over responsibility. Buckingham Heritage Trust was formed in 1985 to save the building & it opened as a museum in 1993, together with a tourist information centre

The Old Gaol Museum obtained finance from the Heritage Lottery Fund to add a glass roof over the original prisoners’ exercise yard in 2000

It’s well worth a look & the staff are lovely

32. After leaving this iconic building turn left & walk round the back of it crossing the road next to The King’s Head



33. On the other side’s another nice building which houses a Prezzo



Also on this side are some rather attractive cottages…



34. On reaching the Masonic Hall turn right & head towards Thirteen High Street, but turn left & keep on this side of the road…



Head towards 13 but don't cross the road

Head towards 13 but don’t cross the road

35. Follow the road left away from the town centre, passing the BP garage on the right…


…& head towards the town houses…


…however before reaching them turn right at the path below through the trees…


36. Follow the path round the back of Buckingham Football Club




Looks like there's a game tonight

Looks like there’s a game tonight

37. On reaching the gap (& dog poo bin) below turn right over the river once more…



…& then right through the hedge gap into the riverside park…


Think they need a mole-catcher!

Think they need a mole-catcher!

38. Now it’s a case of keeping on the path until the next junction & turning right on the bridge over the river again…


Nice catkins

Nice catkins


We need to cross the river here…


39. How many times have we crossed the Great Ouse today? Well this is the last & it’s our route back to the car park where we started…



Fancy a 'romantic' evening?

Fancy a ‘romantic’ evening?

So here we are back at the start of our walk &…what a gem it is, ideal for a weekend morning, or afternoon & maybe combined with a visit to Stowe

There’s lots to see & browse around in Buckingham & lots of history. We’ve only touched the surface on this walk & there’s much more if you dig deeper

It’s a lovely town so…

Go Walk!



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