This weekend’s foray into the surrounding area was to High Wycombe, which along with Watford are the largest towns hereabouts. As with Watford our motivation for visiting High Wycombe was the shopping.
Getting to High Wycombe from Rickmansworth is straight-forward by a number of routes. We opted for what Google Maps promised was the fastest – if not the shortest – route, via Uxbridge Road, the M25 and the M40; an estimated 30 min journey. Alternatively, going via the A404 is around 5 miles shorter, if estimated to take a few minutes longer. However given the current 50 mph restriction on much of the M25 south of Ricky I suspect it’d be a much finer run thing.
The M40 is a none-too-busy and partially 4-lane affair with no complications. The only areas of trouble were the huge and complex roundabout from junction 4 of the M40 heading into Wycombe and the usual navigation around the town. It seems to be that towns of the size of Watford and Wycombe demand complicated and ill-sign-posted routes. Nevertheless the sat-nav saw us alright. Junction 4 could also be avoided by heading East out of Wycombe to junction 3.
Wycombe’s answer to the Harlequin is Eden, and it’s not a bad shopping centre. It’s not as enclosed as the Harlequin – much of it is under cover but still outside, meaning at this time of year you can stay dry but cold. It has large House of Fraser and M&S Stores, although I’m told the fine – and from this winter now famous John Lewis store – is location in an out-of-town location, to the West of the centre. Eden did provide all the shops we’d hoped for, though, and we returned home absolutely laden down with shopping – all of it clothing.
We’d heard that the traffic can be bad so we arrived early, at 10:15. It was only in the afternoon when Eden became overrun with the local teenage population amongst others, by which time we were happily just about finished. A later start might make for busy shops and potentially trickier parking.
Overall, although we didn’t actually venture outside the Eden Centre, we found it covered our shopping and coffee break requirements. However compared to Watford, which it only half the journey time away, there’s not really enough to tempt us to make the longer trip. Still, there’s nothing wrong with a bit of variety now and then.