The town is probably best known for its celebrated Pancake Race, which takes place every Shrove Tuesday.
John Newton, the former slave trader who wrote "Amazing Grace" and "Glorious Things of Thee Are Spoken", was curate at Olney in the 18th century, before moving to London. His friend, the poet William Cowper, also lived here for a while. The connection is celebrated in the Cowper and Newton Museum.
St. Peter and St. Paul Church is in the Decorated style, and has a soaring spire rising to 180 feet.
Olney was formerly known as a lace making centre.