BUSINESSES across the Chilterns are preparing to welcome visitors back to high streets across the region this week.
Visit Buckinghamshire & The Chilterns, the region’s official tourism website, is excited about the chance to welcome guests back to the area’s market towns, as well as key tourist attractions and outdoor spaces.
But the organisation is keen to encourage local residents to #SupportLocal, #LoveWhereYouLive and #StaySafe, as well as opening their doors to day visitors from neighbouring areas.
Historic gems such as Waddesdon Manor, Hughenden Manor, Stonor Park and Stowe gardens are open for online booking with timed slots. Chiltern Open Air Museum has plenty of open space to enjoy too while exploring (but not entering) their collection of historic buildings.
Zoos and animal parks including Kew Little Pigs, Green Dragon Rare Breeds Eco Farm and Odds Farm Park are preparing to show off the baby animals which have been arriving during lockdown.
All attractions have strict social distancing guidelines in place to keep families and staff as safe as possible.
Buckinghamshire is also blessed with many bustling historic market towns, such as Marlow, Beaconsfield and Amersham where a range of independent shops are now able to welcome customers back, but with restrictions on numbers entering their premises at any one time.
For refreshments, some resourceful cafes and restaurants are providing takeaways until they get the all-clear to fully re-open.
Lucy Dowson of Visit Buckinghamshire & The Chilterns said: “Locals already know that Buckinghamshire is the perfect year-round destination for memorable day visits, stretching from the banks of the River Thames through the glorious rolling Chiltern Hills, and on into the verdant Vale of Aylesbury.
“Its close proximity to London, coupled with excellent road links, means that you can easily access exciting new destinations, discover fabulous attractions and enjoy the beautiful scenery.”
Country parks and nature reserves like Black Park, Langley, Stoke Common and Burnham Beeches offer miles of woodland trails to explore for the price of a car park ticket, while footpaths across the region offer a range of spectacular scenery, from a Thames Path ramble to a windy walk on Dunstable Downs or Ivinghoe Beacon.
During the coronavirus crisis, many local firms have survived by adapting to offer click-and-collect services or local deliveries, while some attractions have provided virtual tours during the lockdown weeks, from Waddesdon Manor to Beckonscot model village and the Chinnor and Princes Risborough Railway, whose steam and diesel train usually does a seven-mile round trip from Princes Risborough to Chinnor.
Now, those firms and attractions are looking forward to welcoming visitors back properly for the first time, if suitable social distancing arrangements can be put in place.
The Beyonder’s What’s On pages provide links to more than 50 attractions across the region for easy access to full details of opening arrangements as these develop.