Slough is surrounded by pretty little English villages, yes it is true. We all know about the famous towns Windsor and Eton being nearby, but I’ve been a bit curious about the little not-so-well-known villages dotted around. So the last couple of months I’ve being driving around with Lily, after dropping Tyler to school, and looking for new places to have a cuppa that are actually just a short drive from Slough. And I’ve even made this little map to show where we’ve been – it’s not to scale but I’m so pleased with it, I wonder if I’ve missed my calling in life and should have been a map designer haha!
Now, the way I picked these villages out is by looking on the Caffe Nero/Costa/Starbucks websites and looking at store locator. I know it’s good to try independent coffee shops, but I figured if a village has got a big chain coffee shop, then there must be some sort of high street and life around there, and our brown skin won’t stick out so much, hehe. I’m sorry to bring race into it, but I do feel self-conscious when going to proper English towns, even though I know we are British, but you know, I just want to blend in!
In this post I will talk about villages that are north of Slough. For me they are easy to drive to because of the location of Tyler’s school, as it is already on the route driving out of Slough to the north. So the villages north of Slough are just a 6 to 20 minute drive away. I’m driving when it’s a quiet time of day, between 9am – 12pm, when there is no traffic, so the journeys may take longer at other times of the day.
6 minutes drive from Slough is a village called Stoke Poges. It’s part of Buckinghamshire, the first village out of Slough, and very easy to get to by car. You just stay on the B416 until you see the Co-op and you turn left just before the store, on to Bells Hill Green where you can park on the road, or park on Pennylets Green. I did see a bus, I think it’s the 335 from Slough. In the village there is a lovely Costa which looks quite new, with lots of light and lots of seating. Next door is a little Co-op supermarket, which had really friendly staff when we visited, chatty and helpful, a very relaxed feel compared to big town centre stores. There’s a post office opposite the Co-op and that’s it. It’s so little! Outside the shops is a square of green space and benches, with a soldier and dog monument that I think is made from recycled bicycles. I had a nice cuppa in the Costa, and Lily had a babycino, and I really liked it in there – nice atmosphere and we got a good window seat.
Next stop on my map is Gerrards Cross, which I timed to be an 11 minute drive from Slough train station to the Tesco car park in Gerrards Cross. 11 minutes!! With no traffic. It’s very close to Stoke Poges and basically you carry on driving along the B416. Now, Gerrards Cross is a village I have been to before, as I used to take my sister for work experience at the library, and sit in Costa with Heat magazine for 45 minutes. This was 12 years ago and probably where I started to get a love for coffee shops. So to go back there a decade later with my own daughter felt very strange! It is still such a cute high street but the Tesco is a new addition – I remember there being a big hooha about it being built over the train line, but it’s here now and there is free parking. From the car park, Lily and I crossed the road and headed to Caffe Nero for her usual – a babycino and a gingerbread man. The staff were really friendly and chatty, and there were colouring pencils and sheets which I’ve never seen in any other branch, so it was obviously a kid-friendly place.
I returned that Friday after school as Tyler wanted to see Gerrards Cross too, in particular the train station. Upon a second visit, I noticed a lot of private school uniforms and posh Asians with well-spoken accents. So of course I had to go on Zoopla to check out house prices, and I can tell you that it ain’t cheap to live here! You can tell an area is posh by whether the supermarket trolleys need a pound coin to borrow one or not. And in Gerrards Cross you don’t need to insert a pound to borrow a Tesco trolley. The Tesco itself is nice to shop at too, small but then all Tescos are small in comparison to Slough, but it is actually a ‘nice’ experience to shop at this Tesco. There is a good choice of independents to shop at in Gerrards Cross, as well as recognisable brands of Marks and Spencer, Pizza Express, Sainsbury’s, Costa, WHSmith and Boots – little branches as expected in a village.
Chalfont St Peters
Chalfont St Peters is really close to Gerrards Cross. You carry on to the end of the B416, turn left on to the A413 and then take a first left on the roundabout onto the High Street of Chalfont St Peters where you’ll immediately see the car park surrounded by Costa and Marks and Spencer. There’s only 1 hours parking here – I presume you get a fine if you stay any longer. I wonder if if is better to park along the street, but I’ll have to find out on another day. In the hour we had, Lily and I sat in Costa and then took a short walk up to Savers and then back to the car.
The Costa was lovely, so much light flooding in from the floor to ceiling windows. It was quite big and full of mums and toddlers – I felt right at home! Market Place, which is the street with the shops, is very picturesque with lots of flower pots dotted around. There were a lot of eclectic looking charity shops and independents with stylish window displays, and the only chain store was Savers. There was a sign saying it’s Buckinghamshire’s Best Kept Village, which I think it won in 2017. I’ll definitely be back to have a mooch around the posh charity shops.
Chalfont St Giles
The furthest of the villages we visited, Chalfont St Giles is a 20 minute drive from Slough. It is so pretty and looks quintessentially English. It was reaaaally quiet on the morning we visited and I did feel self-conscious walking around. But I loved the village and just wanted to take photos all the little shops with their original picture box windows, the character houses, the olde lamp-posts, the green and the duck pond. Again this village has won Buckinghamshire’s Best Kept Village for quite a few years and was the winner in 2018. There is one hour’s parking on the street and I parked literally outside the Costa so I could pop in. It’s in a converted period building, which means no floor-to-ceiling windows. Although the idea of being in an older building is nice, the windows are small and quite high up, so when you sit down, you can’t see out of the window to admire the lovely view! Which is a shame. There was one young man at the helm of this Costa on his own, as it’s quite small, but there were still quite a few customers in there.
Outside we walked along the green and the duckpost and found the teeniest little playground, but with the most amazing view of green fields. It was lovely, and Lily had a great time playing here. I did have my eye on the clock though, as we only had the hour’s parking. I’d certainly like to come back here to take some more photos of this pretty village, and also a friend has recommended Merlins Cave, which is just to the left of the building behind Lily in the above photo. They do an amazing Sunday lunch and are really kid friendly. So yeah, we’ll be back 🙂
So those are 4 pretty villages north of Slough. Have you visited any of them before?
I’m actually inspired to explore the east, west and south of Slough too and make some more little maps – so watch this space!