The Roald Dahl Museum
Children’s author Roald Dahl lived in the village of Great Missenden for 36 years and it’s now home to his archive of manuscripts, letters and photos, housed in an old coaching inn converted by architects Hawkins Brown. The village – which is five miles west of Chesham – appears in many of his stories, including Matilda and The BFG. Both adults and children will find something rewarding at the museum – as well as interactive displays, it also showcases Dahl’s collection of quirky mementos and the famous hut where he wrote his books.
Drive 12 miles north-west of Chesham, through the scenic Chilterns, and you’ll find this large and beautiful woodland, which has something to see all year round – whether it’s bluebells in spring, picnics in summer or, if you’re lucky, the wild deer and birds that live here. There are plenty of trails to help you navigate the woods – the Firecrest Trail, for instance, might help you spot this rare bird – but we also suggest climbing the Highest Point, the loftiest hill in the Chilterns, for its spectacular views. Weary walkers can refuel at the Café in the Woods, which serves sandwiches and ploughman’s lunches amid the trees.
The village of Chalfont St Giles, seven miles south of Chesham, is worth a visit for its pretty Norman church and the ancient Hodgemoor Wood, which sits on its outskirts. The main attraction, however, is the 16th-century cottage lived in by poet John Milton, where he wrote Paradise Lost in the 1660s. As well as old editions of his works inside the atmospheric house, there’s a beautiful garden filled with flowers and plants referenced in his writings. It has the distinction of being the only cottage garden in the Chilterns awarded a Grade II listing by English Heritage.
Frogmore Paper Mill
Opened in 1803, Frogmore Paper Mill lies eight miles east of Chesham and is the birthplace of the modern paper industry: the paper-making machine patented by founders Henry and Sealy Fourdrinier is the origin of all kinds of affordable paper products we use today, from postcards to printing paper. One of the old machines is still at work, powered by a steam engine and manufacturing 100% recycled paper. Visitors can take tours of the mill, try their hand at paper-making and buy pretty hand-made papers to take home.