Why go there?
Although best known as being a haven for rowers, the quintessentially British town of Henley-on-Thames has far more to offer than just its annual Regatta.
Take in the spectacular views of Henley’s eponymous river before spending a sublime afternoon wandering through the streets of the stylish town centre. Filled with independent stores as well as designer brands, it’s easy to see why Henley has become a retail mecca for the more sartorial countryman (and woman).
Culture vultures are spoilt for choice with a variety of outstanding properties nestled in the Chiltern Hills. 12th century manor Stonor Park is built on the site of a pagan stone circle and surrounded by peaceful gardens. Equally magnificent is the Tudor country house Grey’s Court, outfitted with a 1930s interior and a very knowledgeable staff. Nuffield Place, home of William Morris (of Morris cars, not arts and crafts) is one of the most popular attractions in the area, and not without reason. Acquired by the National Trust only last year, it is already well known for its unspoilt, authentic interiors and nostalgic atmosphere.
Gourmets will find much to admire at the Chiltern Valley Winery and Brewery, which offers tours of the entire facility (complete with free tastings) as well as a charming on-site B&B.
Of course, no visit to Henley-on-Thames is complete without a visit to the River and Rowing Museum. Recently ranked within the Top 50 Museums in the World by The Times, the museum offers a number of award winning exhibitions – including a fantastic display about Kenneth Grahame’s The Wind in the Willows – as well as a wealth of information on the Thames and the local area.
Where to eat and drink?
Head to the Angel on the Bridge or The Old Bell for a pint with the locals, or to the Cherry Tree situated just outside town for a warm welcome and a hot lunch.
For those with something a little more luxurious in mind, Shaun Dickens at The Boathouse offers excellent customer service and outstanding food in elegant surroundings.
Where to stay?
The Baskerville in the nearby village of Shiplake is a tranquil countryside retreat, whilst the Hotel du Vin has a more central location, with modern rooms and a chic ambience.
The Chiltern Valley Bed & Breakfast is worth staying at for the incredible farmhouse breakfast alone, though its leafy surroundings and charming interior make it a standout place to stay.
Tell us a secret…
Forget Beverly Hills, you’ll be star-spotting in the Home Counties as Orlando Bloom, Richard Curtis, Liam Gallagher and Phillip Schofield all live or own property in Henley.