There’s not much that I don’t know about Milton Keynes now – when people need a recommendation for somewhere to eat, I’m usually their first port of call, which is a lovely feeling! However, I can’t cover everything, but I want this space to be really useful. So this is why you may be seeing a few guest posts on sophieetc.com going forward. I get a lot of content requests, but as I am just one person and this isn’t my full-time job, I can’t quite cover everything.
So I’ll be collaborating with local content creators whose judgement and expertise I trust completely, to bring you some different perspectives – and of course, give you some new local writers to follow!
The first post in my guest post series is from Kate Edwards, who runs a fantastic Instagram account called @katesfoodadventures. She’s based in Buckingham and I love following her foodie adventures and her cute son, Buddy! I invited her to write a guest guide to all the best bits of her beautiful hometown, which is just a stone’s throw from MK. I think you’ll love this and find some real gems worth checking out!
Over to you Kate…
A guide to eating & exploring in Buckingham
By Kate Edwards
- Things to do in Buckingham
- Where to eat in Buckingham
- Where to shop in Buckingham
- Other places to explore near Buckingham
Buckingham is a small market town, potted with beautiful Georgian architecture and large green spaces, with the River Great Ouse running through the heart of everything.
We’re home to Britain’s first modern independent University and hopefully, this guide will show you that it’s full of hidden gems too. Here is my guide to things to eat, see, do and shop in Buckingham.
Things to do in Buckingham
Buckingham’s historic street market has been running for over 600 years! Currently, you can find it in the heart of the town, every Tuesday and Saturday with stalls selling local produce and bakes, tools, plants, flowers, fresh hot food and much more.
There’s also a weekly flea market every Saturday where you can often nab some bargain antiques.
The Old Gaol
This museum sits in the centre of the town, and doubles as the tourist information centre. You can also find the only exhibition on Flora Thompson here, the writer of the semi-autobiographical trilogy “Lark Rise to Candleford” (and yes, there are props from the BBC TV series here too!).
There are a variety of Buckingham tour maps that you can pick up here – hidden gems, green spaces & historic walks, whatever takes your fancy.
The Film Place
For a town this small, we have a rather unusual addition – a cinema! It’s a community-run enterprise, showing indie films, the latest blockbuster releases and live broadcasts from the West End. It all takes place in a University lecture theatre, which is transformed into a 160-seater auditorium for the night.
Tickets must be bought in advance from their website:
More things to do in Buckingham
- Sweat Yoga – A local hot yoga studio that also has a venue in The Hub.
- Little Oaks Farm – a cute little farm spot just outside of Buckingham, open Sundays for coffees, lamb rolls and homemade bakes.
- Buckingham Garden Centre – I must be getting old because I freaking
- love this garden centre! The café is lovely too.
- Chafor Wine Estate – Yes, that’s right, we have a vineyard! During the summer months, they’re open most weekends for tours and tastings, with lots of events potted throughout the season.
Where to eat in Buckingham
Buckingham has a great scene for independent eateries – especially if you’re after a pizza or a curry! We are lucky enough to have some great pubs too, however, unless you’re looking for food similar to a Spoons, I’d stick to the restaurants for eating.
The Buckingham Fort
If you’re after a curry in Buckingham, this is the place to go. The staff are super helpful and great at helping you pick a dish that’s right up your street (I’d recommend the Panir Tikka Karahi or the Naga Garam Massala). They also run banquet nights on Wednesdays and Sundays, but be warned, you will be leaving with your jeans unbuttoned!
The Ivy trained chef Louis Myhill took over this pub in the middle of town in 2017 and gave us what we didn’t know that we needed – a smokehouse.
This is a brilliant casual eatery where you can choose between a selection of small plates that they call “little peckers” (try the Korean pork belly burnt ends), or you can go full-on and try their range of meat trays and burgers. Or have it all, I’m not judging you! Surprisingly for a smokehouse, they also have an extensive and inventive vegan menu. Definitely worth checking out of you’re a local plant-based bod.
This place is a town favourite and definitely a great place to go if you have kids.
This Italian themed restaurant opened in 2003 and is famous locally for their great pizzas. They also serve amazing pasta, risotto and speciality dishes, with a children’s and tiny tots menu, specifically for the under 4’s. They’ve recently expanded their outside eating area and they have a private function room available for private parties too (I had my hen do there!).
Other Buckingham restaurants to check out
Where to shop in Buckingham
If you’re looking for a quaint little gift shop or somewhere to buy your next piece of upcycled furniture, Buckingham is the place to go. Also, being situated in the middle of farming country there’s a shedload of local produce on offer. Here are my favourite places to shop in Buckingham.
The Courtyard at No6
The Courtyard is a real Aladdin’s cave for any interiors enthusiasts. Not only do they stock upcycled and antique furniture, they also welcome other dealers to showcase stock in this space, making it a wonderfully eclectic mix of styles. I always spot something in here that I’m dying to take home with me.
Smith & Clay’s
This butchers & deli prides itself on stocking the best local produce the area has to offer. They source all their meat from local farms and the majority of their deli produce is made by local suppliers too (have you ever tried English halloumi? You should!).
The deli also serves up a selection of delicious homemade salads and hot food every day and their sausage rolls were the talk of the town when they opened in 2019. Not only is the food excellent, but the shop interior is also beautiful too. They purposely designed the shop so that there are windows through to the butchery rooms, so you can see the butchers preparing your meat while you wait, check out the beef in its ageing cabinet or drool over the sausages hanging in the chiller.
Howes the Florist
Just outside the centre of town you’ll find this adorable florist. They’re my go to for when I need to buy someone a bouquet and will bespoke your purchase to your taste and budget. As well as stocking house plants, succulents and seasonal arrangements (the teeny tiny pumpkins they sell at Halloween are adorable), they also do wedding flowers.
Before I had my son and I was a clueless 20-something, Jo from Dandy Lions
would always sort me out with presents for my friends’ kids! Give her budget, age and gender and she will pick out the perfect present for you every time. Dandy Lions stock children’s toys and clothes that are always a bit different from what you can find on the high street.
Other places to explore near Buckingham
Buckingham sits on the tri-county boarder, so within 10 minutes you can be in Buckinghamshire, Northamptonshire or Oxfordshire. Being set in such a rural location there are loads of hidden gems just outside of Buckingham that you can explore.
Stowe Gardens, Stowe
Four miles up the road from Buckingham are the beautiful Stowe Gardens, run by the National Trust. Not only are the gardens vast (I’m always finding new things every time I go there), they also have a visitors centre, café, and bookshop. I spent a lot of my childhood here picnicking, exploring and walking the dogs.
Although the house has been converted into a school, it is open to visit on certain days.
Local lads Duncan, Oly & Ben set up Blackpit Brewery in 2017 on Duncan’s family farm – formerly part of Stowe Gardens. Their beer is now stocked in countless pubs and restaurants, and if you’re eating or drinking locally, you’ll no doubt encounter it.
As well as supplying their beer for consumption elsewhere, they also open their taproom every Friday so you can have a pint that has literally travelled the 10 meters from the brewery to the bar. They also have food available from their newly fitted kitchen. Every summer they also put on The Festival of Beer which is a not to be missed event locally!
The Old Thatched Inn, Adstock
This classic gastro-pub is great if you’re looking for excellently cooked pub grub. The only place locally I can find confit duck!
Thank you SO much to Kate for this fabulous post! Buckingham is definitely up and coming in terms of foodie hotspots – there are some true gems there. Definitely check out Binn and Louis’, and look out for Cornwall Street Kitchen opening soon from George and Sarah of Inspires Dining.
Follow @katesfoodadventures on Instagram and Facebook for more Buckingham adventures and tag us in your discoveries! You can also use the hashtags #BuckinghamFoodAdventures and #EatandExploreMiltonKeynes.
Other posts you might like:
- The ultimate guide to eating and exploring Stony Stratford
- A guide to the most Instagrammable locations in Milton Keynes
- The independent Milton Keynes guide to sustainable businesses and initiatives
Kate is a Buckingham based food blogger that is passionate about championing local restaurants and produce. She moved to Buckingham as a child and over the years has seen the sleepy market town grow into somewhere with a diverse and vibrant food scene, and independent restaurants people would travel from all over the tri-county area to sample. As well as being passionate about supporting the local food scene, Kate is also a dab hand in the kitchen herself, having trained at Leith’s School of Food and Wine in 2018. Never one to be sitting idle, Kate works this food passion around a day job as Business Analytics Manager for a local HR company, alongside a thriving career as a saxophonist, performing all over the UK and Europe. Follow her: @katesfoodadventures.