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Aylesbury

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The County Town of Buckinghamshire is a place of surprising contrasts. Founded in Saxon times and the county town since the reign of Henry VIII, Aylesbury today has little to show of its ancient past. The charming and predominately Georgian conservation area around St. Mary’s Church lies in sleepy lanes and cottages above the town. This is the most picturesque part of Aylesbury. Around every corner is a tale - Henry VIII reputedly wooed Anne Boleyn at the King’s Head; Roald Dahl created his classic children’s tales nearby in Great Missenden and his imagination is now celebrated in the Bucks County Museum which includes the Roald Dahl Children's Gallery. Near the church is Prebendal House, once the home of the radical John Wilkes, MP for Aylesbury from 1757-1760.

The town centre is the Market Square, with its County Hall of 1740 and, hidden behind shops, lies the magnificent frontage of The King's Head. Dating from about 1450, its windows include stained-glass commemorating the marriage of Henry VI to Margaret of Anjou in 1445, who are said to have stayed there on their honeymoon.

The market, a part of Aylesbury life since the 13th century, is complemented by modern shopping centres in Friars Square, Hale Leys and the High Street. And in the cobbled Market Square stands the imposing figure of John Hampden - a local hero and key figure in the defeat of the Royalists in the English Civil War - and Benjamin Disraeli.

Dominating the centre of the town is the 12-storey tower of the County Council offices, built in the 1960s and admired by some for its imaginative use of concrete.

Not far from Market Square and close by both rail and bus stations stands the Aylesbury Waterside Theatre, a world class venue boasting the best in entertainment.

Photos © John Credland ARPS 2016

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