This was a tough one as I wasn't sure if I should keep the places as those within my town or if I should venture further afield. What I think of as near might not be for you and vice versa. For me an hours drive away covers a lot of places (benefit of living on a small island) and for those in America for example, an hours drive would be nothing! So I am going to show you the places within my Town and County, although I do need to confess to not having visited all of these places. I am going to try to though within the next year as it's embarrassing that I haven't! Lol
Lets see....off the top of my head...
1. Bletchley Park
Bletchley park is probably the only place that non Brits might instantly recognise from the name and I would say is likely to be the only place on the list that you will.
It is the home of the code breakers or at least was and for TV lovers is where the TV show Bletchley Circle is filmed (parts of it) and also The Imitation Game film starring Mr Cumberbatch.
What is very common here in the UK are large houses famed for one thing, maybe a resident or an event, which are managed by a trust or heritage and people visit for that reason and maybe tour the grounds etc, visit the tea shop and all that. I know this is the same the world over but I would guess that the UK has an abundance of such places.
2. Roal Dahl Museum
This is located in Great Missenden and is a actually the former home of the author. The site describes it as;
Visit our great little award-winning Museum, situated in the Buckinghamshire village where Roald Dahl lived and wrote for 36 years.
The Museum, aimed at 6 to 12 year olds, features three interactive galleries. Boy gallery looks at Roald Dahl's school days while Solo gallery houses his original Writing Hut. The Story Centre puts your imagination centre-stage with fantabulous activities to inspire the writer in you.
I have not been here but my sister took my eldest niece when she was about 7 and she loved it, my sister enjoyed it too, so for those children who are of reading age and above or lovers of Roald Dahl.
3. Gullivers Land
This is an amusement park and Americans may scoff at that due to its size, but it's quite nice and ideally suited to families with young children up to about 11. There is a splash zone and now additional activity centres attached that would suit over 11s. It is also situated opposite Willem Lake which gets a mention further down the list.
4. Woburn Safari Park
Having been here a few times as a child I can definitely recommend it! Check out all the details here.
5. Big Rock Climbing Centre and Snow Dome
These are just some activity centres, but as with most places there are more, you can go to bounce and...erm...bounce on multiple trampolines, or take your kids to activity play areas of which there are a couple or if you want to join the Beckhams you can drop by Airkix and fly. There are a few bars, restaurants, a football stadium, nightclub and casino and for the most part its not too unsavoury. There is also a Theatre and The Stables arts venue, and ice skating to do or ice hockey to watch, pretty much whatever you fancy we sort of have a variation of - but think small and only the one! lol
6. Willen Lake & Peace Pagoda
As mentioned above Willen Lake is located opposite Gullivers, what may surprise you to know is that its a lake...oh, well maybe not that surprising! hehe. Again if american then think pond?? You can go on the lake or walk around it, there is a play park, outdoor arena & a bar and restaurant.
It is very popular with walkers, runners and families and especially so when the sun is out.
Also beside the north part of the lake is a peace pagoda and temple. Here is a better description from the Parks Trust website:
The Peace Pagoda was built by the the monks and nuns of the Nipponzan Myohoji as a symbol of world brotherhood . Above it, cherry trees commemorate the victims of war, while prayers and messages of hope decorate the nearby One World Tree.
Alongside the Pagoda is the distinctive Buddhist Temple, where the public is welcome inside or to visit the grounds with their Japanese and Zen gardens.
Drawing on Native American culture, the stones of the Medicine Wheel are aligned with the earth’s energies so that thoughts and wishes expressed at its heart may be ‘amplified’.
At the north end of the lake you’ll find The Labyrinth, and Willen Hospice.
Stowe is another large house and grounds (i have not yet been there) and reading this on the website makes me want to go and have a look...especially as I like gardens.
The scale and beauty of Stowe have attracted visitors for over 300 years. Picture-perfect views, winding paths, lakeside walks and temples create a timeless landscape, reflecting the changing seasons. Full of hidden meaning, the gardens were created as an earthly paradise, and still cast their spell today.
Your visit starts at the New Inn visitor centre outside the gardens. This fusion of modern and restored 18th-century buildings was where visitors of the past were welcomed to Stowe.
Stop by the light and airy café for delicious fresh food and the shop for unique products inspired by the gardens. The sheer size and space is perfect for those who love the outdoors and enjoy walking. A short walk or a ride in a buggy from New Inn takes you into the gardens, where another world awaits.
8. Historical Market Towns nearby (Newport Pagnell, Stony Stratford, Wolverton & Olney)
My town was designed by an american architect and this is very much laid out in the grid style, it is young too at under 50 years but was built between the four towns mentioned in the brackets above. Each is famed for something....erm...Olney and its pancake race (I really like this one!), Wolverton and its long history with the Royal train and the railways in general, Stony Stratford and its coaching history dating back to the 11th century (coach and horses) and Newport Pagnell and its iron bridge and vellum manufacturer! Who knew? lol The river ouse also runs through Newport Pagnell and you can follow that much the same as you can cycle beside the canal. All these towns have existed since the domesday book along with the following entry on the list....
9. Stoke Bruerne
Stoke bruerne is for canal boat lovers! Its actually quite a nice day out, looking at the folk art and canal painting, at the Stoke Bruerne canal museum. This is the Grand Union Canal that runs from London to Birmingham.
Looking at the picture above it really doesnt do it justice! You will just have to trust me on this one.
10. Whipsnade Zoo
If you werent sold on Woburn becuase of the potential risk of damage to your car or a big house really wasnt doing it for you then there is always Whipsnade Zoo.
Here is a snippet about the history of Whipsnade zoo...
Almost 100 years later, Sir Peter Chalmers Mitchell (ZSL Secretary 1903-1935) was inspired by a visit to the Bronx Zoological Park to create a park in Britain as a conservation centre.
Hall Farm, a derelict farm on the Dunstable Downs, 30 mi (48 km) to the north of London was purchased by the Zoological Society of London in 1926 for £480 12s 10d. The site was fenced, roads built and trees planted.
The first animals arrived at the park in 1928, including two Lady Amherst's pheasants, a golden pheasant, and five red junglefowl. Others soon followed including muntjac, llama, wombats and skunks.
Whipsnade Park Zoo opened on Sunday 23 May 1931. It was the first open zoo in Europe to be easily accessible to the visiting public. It was an immediate success and received over 38,000 visitors on the following Monday. The brown bear enclosure is a surviving feature from the earliest days of the zoo.
The collection of animals was boosted in 1932 by the purchase of a collection from a defunct travelling menagerie and some of the larger animals walked to the zoo from Dunstable station.
Its only when you examine your home and what surrounds you for posts like this that you realise that you aren't making the most of it. I really do need to ...
GET OUT MORE!!!!
And if these ten things above don't make me feel guilty and ignorant enough there is always this to remember!
If I capped it by distance and said within 50 miles (an hours drive) then there is:
Harry Potter Studios, Marston Vale Forest Centre, Silverstone racetrack (F1), Wrest Park (French style mansion and historic country park), Buckinghamshire Railway Centre (Steam trains), Santa Pod Raceway (Drag racing), Waddesdon Manor (Renaissance style chateau containing 18th century art), Shuttleworth Museum (First 100 years of flight), Althorp (Spencer family home and resting place of Princess Diana), Wicksteed Park (Amusement Park), Blenheim Palace (Birthplace of Winston Churchill), Oxford, Beckenscot (apparently the worlds oldest model village), Cambridge, RAF museum, The Cotswolds and if you go an extra 5 miles you can include Warwick Castle & Stratford Upon Avon and also Birmingham & London and anything in between!
Are there any places near you that you always intend to visit but haven't gotten around to yet?