The Chiltern Hills

Holiday cottages in the Chilterns are surrounded by rolling hills, woodland walks, chalk streams and grassland. The Chiltern Hills cover 322 square miles, encompassing parts of Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire. The area's peaceful valleys are dotted with pretty villages which time seems to have forgotten. The Chilterns' quintessentially English countryside can be reached from London in little more than an hour, making it the perfect choice for a break in the Southeast. Whether you want to ramble through the countryside, eat and drink at the area's renowned restaurants and pubs or visit magnificent stately homes and ancient sites, there's no shortage of things to do on self-catering holidays in the Chilterns.

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The residents of the Chilterns have traditionally made excellent use of local timber, brick and flint, and the area is scattered with quaint cottages, weather-boarded barns, medieval churches and opulent stately homes. Explore this ancient landscape and you will discover the remains of Bronze Age barrows and field systems, Iron Age forts and 18th century sawpits. The Chilterns' highest point is Haddington Hill, near Wendover, offering breathtaking views across the surrounding woods and fields. The Chilterns have been among the best places in the UK to spot red kites since this graceful bird of prey was reintroduced in the nineties.

You will be stone's throw from the famous beechwood forests during your stay in a Chilterns holiday cottage. The changing colours of these woods make them a joy throughout the year, from carpets of bluebells in spring to rich golds and oranges in autumn. The Chilterns have been shaped by their agricultural past and sampling the area's fresh produce is a must. Take a tour of a vineyard, such as Daws Hills or Frithsden, see how flour is produced at Redbournbury Mill or pick up a bag of fresh produce from farmers' markets, such as those held in Beaconsfield, Chesham and Hitchin.