Airstreams in Burnham Beeches with hiking

A taste of British cinema meets beautiful protected woodlands, just a quick hop from London.

Popular camping styles for Burnham Beeches

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Airstreams in Burnham Beeches with hiking guide

Overview

Between London and the Chiltern Hills, in leafy Buckinghamshire, this small, wildlife-rich Site of Special Scientific Interest is celebrated for its centuries-old beech and oak trees and for its starring role in films such as Harry Potter. Wander along woodland-fringed paths to a Bronze Age hill fort, stop for a local-produce picnic or join one of the regular guided walks. Campsites overlooking the gurgling Thames, bell tents on organic farms and glamping lodges in the Chilterns are among the temptations for overnighting adventurers.

Where to go

Chiltern Hills AONB

Head 30 minutes northwest from Burnham Beeches and you’ll stumble across the rolling farms, chalky hills and delightful villages of the Chiltern Hills AONB. This 830-sq-km natural beauty meanders across Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire, with red kites swooping high above. For activity lovers, it’s a region best explored on foot or two wheels. Hipcampers can pitch up at family-friendly farms, settle into glamping safari-style tents amid dense forests, get cosy in river-view lodges and more.

Windsor & the Thames Valley

From thousand-year-old Windsor Castle to elegant riverside Kingston and Henry VIII’s Hampton Court, the green-clad Thames Valley hosts some of southern England’s most fascinating sights. Also here are wonderful outdoor-adventure opportunities, including rowing, kayaking, boating and hiking, along with perfectly scenic water-view campsites—all within an hour’s drive of Burnham Beeches.

North Wessex Downs AONB

Meandering across Berkshire, Hampshire, Oxfordshire and Wiltshire, this is England’s third-largest AONB—a 1700-sq-km world of silent woodlands, buzzing market towns, chalk hills and sprawling heaths. Long-distance cycling, hiking and horse-riding trails deliver you to cosy-at-home pubs, with highlights including the historic Ridgeway path and the 145-km White Horse Trail. Pitch your tent anywhere from a pet-friendly farm to a canalside towpath.

South Downs

If tackling one of southeast England’s most storied long-distance trails is your bag, make a beeline for the 160-km-long South Downs Way, which traverses the 1627-sq-km South Downs National Park all the way from Eastbourne to Winchester. Plunging chalk cliffs, roaming sheep, undulating green hills and timeworn villages make this one of the most rewarding natural spaces in the south, with tempting camping spots everywhere from beachside plots to hidden-away farms.

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