Living in High Wycombe
What is life like in High Wycombe
High Wycombe is the largest town in Buckinghamshire, nestled amidst the sweeping greenery of the majestic Chiltern Hills. It is roughly halfway between Oxford and London, and in previous centuries served as a popular stop for those travelling between the cities.
It is most famous for its strong reputation for furniture manufacturing, with chairs proving to be a particular speciality. A brand new shopping centre and entertainment facilities, as well as the ongoing improvement of Buckinghamshire University, have made High Wycombe a blossoming town in the region in recent years.
One of the major benefits of living in the town is the quick and easy access it offers to London, with trains reaching the capital in just 25 minutes or so. It is also located on the M40 and close to the M25, making it a prime commuter destination.
High Wycombe is an ambitious town that is improving all the time and offers a high standard of living. Its semi-rural location makes it a hit with all those who love to unwind at the weekends by heading into the countryside.
A combination of the River Wye and the old English name for a wooded valley – combe – gave the town its name. Its history dates back at least to the Roman period, as a Roman villa was known to have been built in High Wycombe from approximately 150-170 AD.
Throughout the Medieval and Tudor times, High Wycombe remained a mill town and it was reliant on lace and linen manufacturing. In the 17th and 18th centuries, the paper industry shot to prominence, although this was later overtaken by the cloth trade.
The population of the town more than doubled between the 1880s and late 1920s, and it was around this time that the council decided to remove some of the impoverished housing areas and build new estates.
A redevelopment of the town centre followed by the 1960s and saw many of the shops in this area demolished. The creation of two shopping centres followed, along with office blocks, car parks and new road layouts.
Chef Heston Blumenthal spent much of his childhood in High Wycombe, while Pirates of the Caribbean actress Lucinda Dryzek was born in the town. Another famous face to have spent his formative years in High Wycombe is James Corden.
Entertainment, sport and days out
The Wycombe Swan is the town's most prestigious theatre, hosting a range of musical, opera, drama and comedy performances. No matter what people's tastes, they are sure to find something on at the Swan that they can enjoy.
For an interesting look at the town's past, the Wycombe Museum is well worth an hour or two, while those with children in need of entertainment can head to the Play Train Kids Activity Centre. Hellfire Caves are also an intriguing place to visit, with more than a quarter of a mile of dimly lit passages originally excavated in the 1750s open to the public.
Wycombe Sports Centre is a great place for those who wish to keep fit, offering a swimming pool, fully equipped gym, fitness studio and sports hall. Wycombe Wanderers is the local professional football team, and their Adams Park stadium is the perfect place to catch a game.
At the Eden Centre, there is a Cineworld and Hollywood Bowl, ensuring people in the town can catch a film or enjoy a game of tenpin bowling at their leisure.
Many local people love to spend time in the Chilterns, which is designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and is well worth a visit as it is the ideal place for a hike, a run or camping.
Eating, drinking & shopping
As a reasonably sized town, it will come as no surprise to find that High Wycombe has a high number of restaurants and bars. Dolce, G'Rillers, Eat Thai and Bluegrass BBQ Smokehouse are among the most highly recommended eateries in the area.
The town centre is home to a number of chain restaurants and bars, including Zizzi and Frankie & Benny's.
Eden Shopping Centre is High Wycombe's premier venue for a spot of retail therapy, having opened in 2008 and containing more than 100 outlets. It is home to many of the UK's largest high street retailers, with the largest stores in the centre including Next, House of Fraser, Marks & Spencer, BHS, New Look and Tesco.
The Chilterns Shopping Centre is another option for local shoppers, while there are also some outdoor shopping spaces in the town centre, such as in High Street.
Schools & healthcare
The Royal Grammar School is one of the most famous education institutions in the country and is located in the town. Wycombe High School is another option for girls with similarly high standards. Those with younger children may be interested in Burford, Castlefield, Church Langley and Montem, which are just a few of the primary schools in the area.
Wycombe Hospital is the main medical facility in the town and ensures all patients who require urgent treatment can be seen just a short distance from their homes. It offers a number of specialist services, in particular for stroke and heart conditions.
High Wycombe is a remarkably well connected town, with excellent transport links available by road, rail and air. The town sits alongside the M40, a short distance north-west of London. This makes the capital easily accessible, as well as the M25 that leads to many other parts of the south-east.
Rail links to London are good, with services to Marylebone station taking around 25 minutes from High Wycombe. In the opposite direction, regular services run to Oxford and last approximately an hour. Other cities that are on the Chiltern Main Line and well served from High Wycombe include Birmingham and Aylesbury.
The town is just over 20 miles from Heathrow, the UK's largest airport, making it incredibly easy for High Wycombe residents to fly overseas for business or leisure purposes.