Visit Hurley: Places to stay, things to do

Peace and tranquillity lie just 40 miles from central London, as Nick Peers discovers

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Why go there?
Hurley is a beautiful old English village, situated on the south banks of the Thames in a series of low chalk hills, and boasting picturesque walks and easy access to the Thames Path trail – a brisk 10km walk upstream leads you to the picture-postcard town of Henley-on-Thames. It’s hard to believe it’s sandwiched between two major centres at Marlow and Maidenhead.
The village itself has a shop, post office and varied selection of picturesque pubs, and is a great base for launching yourself into the Chilterns to the north of the river. You can get a flavour of this by following the Marlow Circular walk, which follows the Thames before heading into the heart of the Chilterns.
A number of houses and estates are worth checking out close by: both Fawley Court and Stonor Park are only open on Sunday afternoon, but have old buildings nestled in the heart of stunning gardens and parkland, while you can also take a gentle river trip on the Thames from Marlow or Henley (see www.salterssteamers.co.uk for details of services).
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Where to stay
The Black Boys Inn dates back to the 16th Century, and describes itself as a “restaurant with rooms”. There is a special offer running throughout May for those staying two nights or more: £35 per person per night, which includes a full English breakfast.
 
Where to eat
The Olde Bell Coaching Inn in Hurley has a rich heritage – parts of its building date back to the 12th Century, when it was believed to have been built as the local Priory’s guesthouse. Rooms are expensive – £135 plus per night, so if you can’t afford to stay there, why not have lunch or dinner at the inn instead? Dishes are produced from locally sourced meat and vegetables, with starters from £5, mains from £10 (plus side dishes) and an array of delicious desserts costing around £4-5. If that’s too rich, eat your lunch at the bar while sipping a pint of the locally brewed Rebellion ale.
 
Tell us a local secret
Hurley Priory, which was built in the mid-11th Century, was not the first Christian building built in the village: a parish church was built around 700, but destroyed in 894 when the Danes forded the Thames at the village while travelling from Essex to Gloucestershire. 
 

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