The Chiltern Hills extend southwest from the workaday town of Luton, beside the M1, bumping across Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire as far as the River Thames. At their best, the hills offer handsome countryside, comprising a band of forested chalk hills with steep ridges and deep valleys interrupted by easy, rolling farmland. Henley-on-Thames is the draw, a pleasant riverside town within easy striking distance of the area’s key attractions and with a reasonable range of accommodation. Nearby highlights include the village of Cookham, home to the fascinating Stanley Spencer Gallery. West of the Chilterns, the Ridgeway National Trail offers splendid hiking amongst the more open scenery of the Berkshire and Oxfordshire downs, especially in the Vale of White Horse.

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