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West Wycombe

West Wycombe, Buckinghamshire

We say

This pretty one-street village lined with sagging Tudor houses has two related claims on your time: West Wycombe Park, home to the uproarious 18th-century aristocrat Sir Francis Dashwood, and the nearby Hell-Fire caves, where Dashwood entertained his cronies. Despite its former owner's excesses, the Park is a perfectly refined sweep of rolling meadows, lake and Italianate temples, now owned by the National Trust. Its 45 acres, and the imposing Palladian house itself, still occupied by the Dashwood clan, are open in summer afternoons only. Back on the high street, there's a handful of intensely English shops, including a child's-story-worthy sweet shop, Paul's, stuffed with gobstoppers and sherberts. The village inn, the George & Dragon, is a cosy, oak-beamed place with charming bedrooms – but it is reputed to be haunted by an 18th-century serving girl called Sukie…

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Wycombe House & Park open June–Sept only; check website for details.

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