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Historic Towns & Picturesque Villages

Narrow boats on the canal at Hest Bank, Lancashire.

Hest Bank

in the county of Lancashire

Pictures of Olney

About Olney

Amongst other things the small town of Olney in Buckinghamshire is famous for its hymns - Amazing Grace was one of the so-called Olney Hymns written by the rector John Newton, and William Cowper, the poet. William Cowper came to live in Olney in 1757, he spent the last 20 years of his life here. His house is now The William Cowper Museum.

The history of Olney stretches way back, it was mentioned in the Doomsday Book of 1086. It's welcoming town sign gives some hint that you are entering an historic market town and this quickly becomes evident as you gaze around at the town noting the wide High Street, and the friendly atmosphere at the weekly and monthly markets where local produce is sold.

The town is a tranquil place set peacefully beside the River Ouse. The High Street is lined with gracious properties mostly of the 18th century of which many are now listed. There are three good church buildings, the United Reform Church is probably the third church to stand on its spot, it is full of Victorian splendour and was built between 1879-1880. The delightful building housing the Baptist Chapel is in Market Place and St.Peter and St.Paul is believed to have been a foundation of 1018, with the present church, built in an entirely different location to the original, is a magnificent church in the Decorated-Gothic style of the 14th century. Its attractive 185 ft high broach tower soars above the town, making it a landmark spotted from miles around. The church, the meandering river, and the fine multi-arched bridge spanning the Ouse in the distance define the lush rural landscape as you approach the town from the east.

Since 1445, every Pancake Day has seen the town stage its pancake race, but this is no longer a "fun" event for the townsfolk, but a spirited competition between Olney and the good people of Liberal, Kansas, U.S.A as they compete for the fastest time!

Visitors will find this an enjoyable town for either a weekend stay or for a Sunday afternoon visit to explore the wealth of antique shops and craft galleries. Enthusiastic followers of fashion will be delighted at the number of up-market boutiques, in these you are usually greeted by the owner offering friendly service and often, that something a little bit different from what is crammed into the usual High Street stores.

Olney has excellent inns, cafe's, restaurants and friendly hotels. It has lovely leafy lanes for walking, particularly near to the river. Its fine architectural gems blend well with fresh housing development, making it a desirable place to reside.

Interesting & Historical Facts about Olney

Every year on Shrove Tuesday, the ladies of Olney, Buckinghamshire, compete in the world famous Pancake Race, a tradition which dates back to 1445.

Olney facts | Buckinghamshire facts

Recommended towns & villages near Olney

Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire

Milton Keynes (46 Pictures) in the county of Buckinghamshire

(8.4 miles, 13.5 km, direction S of Olney)

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Stoke Bruerne (38 Pictures) a Picturesque Village in the county of Northamptonshire

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Bedford (71 Pictures) a Historic Market Town in the county of Bedfordshire

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Bedford is the historic County town of Bedfordshire with a beautiful riverside setting on the great River Ouse. John Bunyan, author of Pilgrim's has strong associations with this town...


Northampton (161 Pictures) a Historic Market Town in the county of Northamptonshire

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The landscape of Northampton is dotted with reminders of its illustrious history. Despite the great fire of 1675 when much of Northampton was destroyed, it was rebuilt in such a.....


Woburn (30 Pictures) in the county of Bedfordshire

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Castle Ashby House (4 Pictures)

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Salcey Forest (1 Pictures)

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Woburn Abbey, Bedfordshire. August 2006

Woburn Abbey (14 Pictures)

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