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Aylesbury in General

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      06.08.2010 21:23
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      Easy to negotiate town.

      Aylesbury is the county town of Buckinghamshire, quite close to the Oxfordshire border. It is probably my closest shopping centre so even though I am not the most enthusiastic shopper I have visited it many times.

      ---Getting There---

      Aylesbury towns road system has been undergoing a lot of changes in the last few years with the addition of various bus lanes and a combined pedestrian/traffic area which I personally think is awful and has already caused one fatal accident. However, in spite of this it is still relatively easy to drive into the town centre and there are several car parks. Long stay parking is available at the multi-storey associated with the railway station and also used to be available at Canal Road but I am not sure if that is still available as the new theatre is close to that site and it looked like it might be closed last time I saw it. For shoppers there are several multi-storey options, particularly convenient are the Friars Square car park which has a walkway across to the shops on level 5. Parking seems to have got more expensive recently which seems to be happening all over the place and it is now about £1 per hour but it goes up steeply after 4 hours. There is also an excellent bus service from many outlying towns and villages and the bus station is actually underneath the Friars Square shopping centre so it is very convenient, the train station is also only a few minutes walk from the town centre.

      ---Shopping Areas---

      Friars Square is the largest of the shopping areas. It is undercover and houses many well known names including BHS, House of Fraser, New Look, Game, Waterstones and Wallis. The square has undergone some recent changes with the old Woolworths being altered to form Peacocks and River Island. The old fountains have also been removed to create a brighter, more spacious environment and there has been more seating added. There are several places in the middle to grab a bite to eat or a coffee and it is starting to feel more continental with tables spread out. Most of the units are a good size and although the place can get busy at the weekends the large main atrium means that it never feels particularly crowded. Altogether there are well over 40 familiar stores on the main floor of the centre. There is lift and stair access to the Bus Station and the public toilets are clean and well maintained and there are baby changing facilities as well. Two cash points are available inside the square.

      Underneath Friars Square there is the indoor Cloisters market which is accessed by lifts or escalators. This is home to more specialised units and I have always found it handy to buy material, pet accessories and wool. There is also a cafe and a great little sweet shop. It is not too busy here as I think a lot of people forget it exists but it is often useful for the sort of items that the main shops do not stock.

      Walking out of Friars Square brings you out into Market Square, Aylesbury is an old market town and the square is quite attractive with the County Hall being quite imposing at one end and the lovely Clock Tower in the middle dating from about 1860. There is a general market on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday and a collectable market on Tuesdays. The main streets around the town can be accessed via the market square and these are home to most of the major banks, lots of estate agents and also several restaurants and specialist stores such as the Music Box for sheet music and the excellent Nail Envy boutique. Most of the streets are supposed to be pedestrianised; I find this quite confusing because some of the buses and taxis can access the area and some delivery vehicles so you can be taken by surprise when walking in the road. A large Marks and Spencers as well as WH Smiths, QD and Wilkinsons are all out on the main streets. Like many towns Aylesbury is suffering it's fair share of closed shops so there are boarded up units around but luckily nothing as bad as has been seen in nearby High Wycombe.

      Hale Leys is across the Market Square from Friars Square and it is another covered shopping area on one level. Boots, Next and Clarks are probably the most popular stores here but the addition of a new Toy shop is also proving very popular because that was something Aylesbury was really lacking. There are no public toilets in this centre as it is almost just a covered walkthrough.

      ---Leisure Facilities---

      Aylesbury is currently undergoing a major facelift and a lot of the facilities are changing. A brand new theatre is almost complete and it does look very impressive, there are already some great shows lined up for later in the year. The old Civic centre will be closed down as part of the new development. There is a large cinema (Odeon) in the town centre which I think has 6 screens but I do think it is a bit expensive so I tend to go to the cinema elsewhere.

      Aqua vale leisure centre was opened a few years ago and has proved very popular. It is a huge indoor/outdoor swimming complex with flumes which my children love and I find is reasonably priced, there is parking on site and the parking can be refunded against the entry ticket.

      Just off the Market Square there is Jardines Ten-pin bowling centre. The entry way to this is awful as it is tucked down a grotty alleyway but the centre itself is fine and is a popular attraction once you get past the rubbish bins at the entrance!

      In the Old Town area off Market Square there is the Roald Dahls children's gallery (there is another Roald Dahl museum outside of Aylesbury I believe) attached to the Buckinghamshire County Museum. I must admit I haven't been in either for years but I remember that my children loved the Children's Gallery when they were younger. It costs £4 for a child and £6 for an adult. There are lots of interactive exhibits relating to the Roald Dahl books but from what I remember although it was good fun it was not very large and you couldn't spend a lot of time there.

      ---Conclusion---

      Overall Aylesbury offers everything I need for an average shopping spree with several of the main large stores represented and also some more unusual offering when required. The parking is easy and convenient and although it can be busy on a Saturday I have never had any trouble finding anywhere to park. The Old Town and the shopping areas are all on the flat so were easy to negotiate with a pushchair when my children were small and I imagine it is quite suitable for wheelchairs for the same reason. With other activities to keep the family happy it is a suitable town for everyone. The regeneration programme is certainly going to take some time but it is certainly making Aylesbury a more pleasant buoyant place to be than it was a few years ago.

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        13.09.2001 03:16
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        I live near Aylesbury and was born there. It is a striking mix of good and bad. The new cinema, swimming pool and shopping centre are good things. However the county hall and bus station are concrete atrocities. In the 1960's, much of Aylesbury was redeveloped, without much thought to aesthetics or to the future. Now though, Aylesbury Council want to redevelop many areas, and if this means better shopping then i'm all for it. As a town, aylesbury doesn't have many facilites for a town its size, for example, it has no ice rink. This should change in the future. Until then, we'll just have to go to Milton Keynes.

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          23.06.2001 03:42
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          Aylesbury is a town situated in the county Bucks (buckinghamshire). It is a peaceful town town with quite a lot of things to amuse you but not as many as say milton keynes or high wycombe. Recently Aylesbury has been undergoing various changes to make the town more popular by building a new odeon cinema with a one of its kind hollywood suite, and a new multiplex swimming that will be opening sometime next year. But if it is shops you are after Aylebury isn't the place place to go, yes it has two malls hayleys and friars square but there is that bigger shops. There is the obvious fast food places like mcdonalds and deep pan pizza and a pizza express that just opened and the basic shops like game, beaties, bhs, dixons etc. There is a few good few bigger shops like halfords and homebase on the outskirts of aylesbury and of course argos but nothing too amazing. There is new shops opening up all the time and believe me it is getting a lot better. Generally aylesbury is a good town because if it is an evening out at a restaurant or spending time on walks there is plenty of places to cover your needs. The sports facillaties available are also good as the council set up special fun sport activities during the holidays and there is various clubs to join of different sports. For example the Aylesbury Tennis Court centre where there is a hole load of courts a cricket pitch squash courts and also table tennis tables. In the field next door as well you will find a rugby pitch and two football pitches that are used by the Aylesbury Grammar school and the Grange. Aylesbury Grammar is a highly rated Grammar school in england and came ranked in the top 50 for the best schools in england. It has the second best facillities for design and technology in the whole of england. If all this doesn't fill your needs and you want a quiet day out you can just pop along to the local golf course for a few rounds of golf if.
          There is one problem though if you have a teenage son or daughter and they are interested in skating and bmxing they isn't a skatepark in aylesbury itself. They will hav to go out of aylesbury to find one but hopefully the council will see this problem and solve it as i am sure they have enough money!! So if you are thinging of visiting it is worth it but plan your visit before you come!!!

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            19.06.2001 02:03
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            Fist off I don't live in Aylesbury - I live in Wendover, which is a fairly large village about 5 miles away from Aylesbury. Being a young person I get quite bored in Wendover and spend most of my weekends and go to school in Aylesbury. Theres alot to do in Aylesbury - its got a brilliant cinema, just recently built. Its got loads of screens and shows all the latest releases. Its a great facility and I use it quite alot. the only thing I would say is that the food and drinks in there are a rip off so its better to buy them somewhere else. At the time I am writing this the new swimming pool has not yet been built - but it should be soon. It's going to have great facilties and will be brilliant - when its built. At the moment Aylesbury has a pool, but its not great. Its basically a plain pool and occasionally it has a blow up inflatable slide but thats it. It does, however have a gym and sauna which are both good facilities and its cheap to get into. Theres loads of shops - you can buy most things somewhere in Aylesbury. Music shops, restaurants (Pizza, Fast Food, Chinese etc...) supermarkets - and lots of other shops. Friars Square is a quite large shopping centre with lots of shops including Woolworths and other famous shops. You can buy most things in Aylesbury. Theres a Bowling Alley, tennis facilities a rugby club and lots of other clubs and activities. There is surprisingly lots to do aswell as the Bucks Museum and (I dont know if its still there) the Roald Dahl Museum. Aylesbury is also home of 96.6FM Mix 96 and 'The Ducks' Aylesbury United. I go to quite a good school in Aylesbury, Aylesbury Grammar School. Theres also THe Sir Henry Floyd, The Aylesbury High and The Grange which kids can go to, and so I spend alot of time in Aylesbury. i'd recomend it if you're young and bored - theres lots to do. I don't know abnout living there but I do go into town a lot its got lots of
            good facilities.

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            10.02.2001 07:10
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            Aylesbury is my home town and the country town of Buckinghamshire, and although I was born and raised in a remote village, I thoroughly enjoy living here. The town is a bustling residential and market town and now has some wonderful shopping facilities and places of interest. Aylesbury is a busy and thriving market town, and originally a thriving stagecoach stop, built around a very impressive 13th Century Market Square with some beautiful architecture that has survived many centuries, contrasting with modern shops and amenities. Right in the centre of the cobbled square stands a statue of John Hampden who was a big Buckinghamshire hero, and a major player in the defeat of the Royals during the English Civil War. You'll find intricate and narrow little Tudor Streets and St Mary's Square is a beautiful place to visit with it's 17th century church, clock tower and spire surrounded by little cobbled streets. The Kings Head Hotel is a beautiful building maintaining it's original charm from the 15th century, when it was predominantly a coaching inn. It still has it's original archway built wide enough to let carriages through, leading to the cobbled yard where the stables were originally housed. It is also rumoured that Henry VIII courted his Anne Boleyn within those walls. Today, you can stay overnight if you're prepared to pay the cost but the food served is out of this world! There are two main shopping centres, Friars Square and Hale Leys. The former is quite extensive and includes two department stores (BHS and Beatties), a large Woolworths, and a selection of other main high street type shops including the recently revamped Thorntons where my wife would spend her entire life given half the chance! We also have our own Tourist Office selling a wide range of locally produced crafts and items, and an abundance of Aylesbury Duck souvenirs. Aylesbury also has it's supply of retail parks offering a number of supersto
            res including two large Tescos, a Safeways, Currys, Argos, Mothercare, PC World, Office World, Comet etc. Also the High Street offers the usual types of shops with a number of cafes and coffee shops for when you have had enough of wandering. There are two lovely parks, the main one being the Vale Park which has some lovely floral islands and walkways and nearby are sports facilities including tennis courts. The Civic Centre hosts lots of local and national plays, concerts etc, a large swimming pool and the town also now boasts a large modern multi-screen cinema. The town is overrun with pubs, ranging from the traditional to the ultra modern, the Chicage Rock Cafe being my particular favourite drinking hole at the moment. There are also plenty of fast food restuarants including Indian, Chinese, Mexican, two MacDonald's, 3 Pizza shops, several fish and chip shops and sandwich bars and cafes. The town has it's own museum, albeit a small one, and here you will find Roahl Dahl exhibits (he lived in Buckinghamshire) and a good local art collection amongst other local treasures. Close by you have some beautiful countryside ideal for walkers. Combe Hill at nearby Wendover (5 miles away) is worth a visit and is a walker's paradise. Chequers, the country home of the Prime Minister can also be found just 8 miles or so away. Out towards Leighton Buzzard, about 8 miles away, you will find Ascott House and Gardens (where my brother-in-law works incidentally!), owned by the influential Rothschild family, which are both open to the public to view. The gardens are beautiful and well worth a walk around. Waddesdon Manor, also owned by the same family, is just ten miles away as are the beautiful Chiltern Hills surrounding High Wycombe. On the down side, Aylesbury is also known for it's concrete monstrosity, known as Caesar's Palace. It's a huge imposing 12 floor dull grey concrete building built during the 1960s,
            which houses the County Council Offices and can be seen from miles away. Mind you, the views are pretty spectacular from the top!

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