The Mule has travelling up the line to Aylesbury, county town of Buckinghamshire. Although not so many miles away neither of us had visited what is the most sizable stop on the line outside of London. At one time served by the Metropolitan and Great Central railways, Aylesbury is now the end of the line and a pleasant hour’s journey out of London Marylebone on the Chiltern Turbo. The countryside is very much interwar Metro-land suburbia until past Northwood when the urban sprawl turns into countryside and stops become distinct towns in the Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire countryside. Passing through the modest Chiltern hills we pass the Boer War memorial atop Coombe Hill upon leaving Wendover. Before we realised it we were pulling into Aylesbury.
Around the station the area shows modern development, including an impressive silver footbridge crossing above the station. We following other passengers and, choosing to avoid the shopping centre, we heading down Friary Passage which offers some history which gave its name, onward down Bourbon Street before suddenly finding ourselves in the bustle and activity of Market Square. It proved to be the first day of the Aylesbury Music Festival and a band were providing melodies to supplement the cries of the many market traders. To plan our day we headed to the Tourist Information office, located within the historic King’s Head courtyard.
We purchased a self-guided walking map for 50p and followed it around the highlights of central Aylesbury, taking in many pleasant streets of the old town. The city centre is unusually arranged around three squares: Market Square, Kingsbury Square and Temple Square. The first two are in the shopping area whereas Temple Square, the location for the photo below, is a quiet, unassuming but extremely picturesque corner of the town centre. In the mid-distance you can see the Buckinghamshire Museum; a family orientated and well presented exploration of the county’s history, if with something of a mix of time periods in places. During our visit the newly installed sound pods were proving popular with the many visiting children. Aside from special exhibitions – there was one about Romans for children – the museum is free of charge, so well worth popping in.
Overall Aylesbury proved an enjoyable day out. We didn’t venture to the canal which may have offered additional attractions and although the modern part of the centre was somewhat bland as so many are these days, the old town with its historic buildings, charming alleys and streets really helped to set Aylesbury apart from many other towns.