Located on the edge of the Chilterns and easily accessible from Amersham, Gerrards Cross and other surrounding towns, Chalfont St Giles is a charming village and civil parish. On a freezing cold, rainy day in November, we set off to explore the place that was recently crowned Britain’s Best Kept Village 2016 – it also won the title in 2002, 2006 and 2010.
The car park behind Co-Op offers free parking for one hour (a ticket must be displayed) and provides easy access to the high street, which is the home of many independent businesses – the perfect Christmas shopping destination. It’s a friendly, close-knit community, with some of the owners in charge of more than one business, for example Carly Griffin, who owns both Lulu & Moon and Little Retreat.
The high street is home to a good selection of places to eat and drink, whether it’s for a quick lunch, leisurely dinner, drink with friends, or just grabbing a coffee. The relatively newly-opened Costa takes pride of place in the centre of the high street, while the bakery, butchers and greengrocers provide quick and easy stop-offs for stocking up your fridge.
The Stone Place at The Feathers opened earlier this year and has become a fast favourite pub/restaurant of both locals and visitors.
Chalfont St Giles is full of quaint, olde-worlde buildings and you can easily spend a morning or afternoon here exploring every corner and the little alleyways. Cut through via the path halfway down the high street and you’ll find yourself outside the magnificent Parish Church, which has been at the heart of the community for over 800 years.
For those who fancy a crisp, winter walk, follow the path along the side of the church, signposted ‘South Bucks Way’, and you can embark on a 4 mile circular walk down the Misbourne Valley, returning via Chalfont Heights. For full details of the walk, visit www.chiltern.gov.uk/chalfontwalks. Buses 305, 335 and 353 stop at the Market Square, but do not run on Sundays.
Those interested in local history should head to Milton’s Cottage, the only surviving home of the visionary poet and political writer, John Milton. The 16th century cottage is open as a museum to the public. It’s now closed for the winter, but re-opens on 1st April 2017.
The community library, located in front of the car park, is home to over 8,000 books and offers free membership and free Wi-Fi. It also holds a great deal of information about Chalfont St Giles so it’s worth a visit if you’d like to learn all about what the village has to offer. The library’s aim is to be the main information provider for both local people and visitors.
We both snapped up a few Christmas purchases in this lovely little village, so join us and shop local this festive season!