74km (46 miles) NW of London; 35km (22 miles) E of Oxford
Aylesbury has retained much of its ancient charm and character, especially along the narrow Tudor alleyways and in the 17th-century architecture of the houses in the town center. Among the more ancient structures is St. Mary's Church, which dates from the 13th century and features an unusual spirelet. The 15th-century King's Head Public House, a National Trust property, has seen many famous faces in its time, including Henry VIII, who was a frequent guest while he was courting Anne Boleyn.
The market, which has been an integral part of the town since the 13th century, is still a thriving force in Aylesbury life, with markets held on Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday, and a flea market on Tuesday. During the 18th and 19th centuries, ducks were the most famous commodity of the Aylesbury market. The pure white ducks were a delicacy for the rich and famous of London and were much desired for their dinner tables. The demand for the Aylesbury duck declined in the 20th century, though not before the breed became threatened with extinction. Today, however, most ducks found on restaurant menus are raised elsewhere, and the threat to the Aylesbury duck has subsided. The ivory fowl are now enjoyed more for their beauty than their flavor.