Wherever you look in High Wycombe, there’s something to keep you entertained. Not only is the town fiercely proud of its historic football team but it also boasts one of the most scenic cricket venues around. And if sport isn’t your thing, there’s a pulsating arts scene including numerous live music venues to suit every taste and a range of professional and community theatre productions.
Entertainment in High Wycombe
Football fans in High Wycombe have been enjoying an upturn in fortunes in recent years thanks to the success of Wycombe Wanderers. Nicknamed the Chairboys after the local furniture-making trade, this historic club were first formed as an amateur club in 1887. It wasn’t until over a century later in 1993 that they were promoted to the Football League for the first time. In 2000-01 they had a remarkable run to the semi-finals of the FA Cup, and in their non-league days they also won the FA Amateur Cup once in the 1930s and the FA Trophy twice in the 1990s.
It’s well worth making a trip to Wanderers’ new ground at Adams Park, which was built in 1990. It replaced their traditional town centre home at Loakes Park which was famed for its sloping pitch.
Cricket fans might want to make a beeline for the Sir Paul Getty Cricket Ground. Widely regarded as the most picturesque cricket venue in England, it was built by the billionaire Sir Paul Getty in the grounds of his 2,500-acre Wormsley Park estate. Inspired by The Oval cricket ground in London, no expense was spared in constructing the ground, which even features a thatched mock-Tudor pavilion. It was opened in 1992 when then Prime Minister John Major and the Queen Mother were guests, and since then it has hosted games by Buckinghamshire, Unicorns and the England Women’s Test team.
High Wycombe theatre
Live music in High Wycombe
Theatregoers in High Wycombe are spoilt for choice. Not only have you got the option of heading into the West End of London, but there's a burgeoning scene in the town itself. Wycombe Swan was opened in 1992 and has established itself as one of the UK's leading regional theatres.
A modern complex which consists of smaller rooms such as the Old Town Hall as well as the main theatre, it has a capacity of over 1,000 and stages a wide variety of shows, from comedy and dance to straight drama and musicals. Wycombe Swan Youth Theatre is also based there and performs an annual summer musical production featuring 250 local young people.
Community theatre is also thriving in High Wycombe, with much of it taking place at Wycombe Arts Centre (formerly arts4every1). Here you can enjoy every conceivable type of community arts event, from acoustic musical evenings, an in-house drama club, open mic evenings, jazz, and storytelling.
Fans of live comedy have several options in High Wycombe as well, with Back Street Coffee in the nearby Stokenchurch hosting regular live Comedy Ladder events. And the Potters Arms in the village of Amersham - within easy reach of both of our High Wycombe hotels - has become a mainstay of the comedy circuit over the past three years, attracting famous names such as Zoe Lyons and offering a main course in the interval as part of its ticket price – that’s us sold!
High Wycombe was once a regular part of the gig itinerary of many touring bands - with the likes of The Clash, The Jam, Bill Haley and The Comets, Elvis Costello, Status Quo, Thin Lizzy and U2 all having played there, many of them brought to the town by the music promoter Ron Watts.
That’s not quite the case these days, but there are still some great venues in the town where you can see some top quality live music.
Your first stopping-off point should probably be The Antelope, the town's best-known live music venue which these days boasts a large outdoor stage and a capacity of 550. The Antelope attracts plenty of tribute bands but also plays hosts to some original bands such as Republica and Toploader.
At the Phoenix Bar on Bridge Street, you can expect a greater likelihood of seeing up-and-coming musical talent as well as karaoke evenings, open mic nights and themed special events.
And if you fancy something a little more low-key, try heading to the Belle Vue, an attractive back street pub which is all about real ale, folk and acoustic sessions, jam Sessions and open mic nights, with bands playing most Fridays and Saturdays.