Aylesbury is a large town located in Buckinghamshire, United Kingdom. It is the county town of Buckinghamshire, and the county council offices are located in the town centre. It is located approximately 30 miles from London, 20 from Milton Keynes and 10 from Princes Risborough. Aylesbury has a population of 59,000 (at the 2001 census), and its urban area has a population of 69,000.
Aylesbury started out as a small settlement in Roman times, it being an ideal location due to the way the town is in a low-lying piece of land surrounded by the Chiltern Hills. From there it grew into a small local market town, which it remained for many centuries. However in the 20th century Aylesbury underwent a sudden explosion of expansion. New districts were constructed in the 1930s, and then more in the 50s, 60s and 70s. As Aylesbury had outgrown Buckingham and was more centrally located in Buckinghamshire, it became the county town. In recent years the expansion of the town has moved away from direct add-ons to the existing town, in favour of building satellite villages which are integrated with the town but function separately. Examples of these are Fairford Leys and Watermead.
Aylesbury is the northern limit of the remaining service on the former Great Central Main Line. It has one station on this, at the point where the line from Princes Risborough joins from the west. On December 14th 2008 a second station opened, named Aylesbury Vale Parkway, located approximately 3 miles to the north. North of here the former main line remains open to freight up to Calvert, where it meets the Bletchley to Oxford line. Passenger services operate on bank holidays to Quainton, a village and railway museum roughly half way to Calvert.
Unusually for such a large British town, Aylesbury has no motorway or dual carriageway road links whatsoever. The dual carriageway A41 terminates a short distance away from the town, whilst the dual carriageway part of the A4146 terminates from Milton Keynes at Leighton Buzzard, still some 10 miles away. At High Wycombe, 20 miles away, the M40 motorway can be accessed, and the M25 London Orbital from that. This is the route to London Heathrow Airport, which along with London Luton Airport, is the nearest airport to the town.
Aylesbury is located on the River Thame, which in itself is a branch of the River Thames. The Thame meanders to the north of the town, with the Bear Brook branching off and running through the town centre. Additionally, the artificial Aylesbury Arm of the Grand Union Canal runs directly into the town centre.