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Holidays in Henley-on-Thames

Home of the Henley Royal Regatta, this river town is a great destination

UK | Heart of England | Oxfordshire | Henley-on-Thames
Marsh Lock Bridge

Best loved for its Royal Regattas and famous rowers, Henley-on-Thames is a delightful and relaxing holiday destination. Adjacent to the River Thames, the town excites many visitors year-on-year with the ever-popular Festival of Music and Arts, which invites some of the world’s top entertainers to attend. Visit the local church for some stunning architecture, grab a bargain at the central market square, or wander up to the Chiltern Hills for picturesque views across the Thames Valley.

Henley-on-Thames is rather compact, centred around a village square close to a busy and straight stretch of the river. It has an interesting high street and a good number of pubs on the riverside or close by, and there are quality restaurants galore to cater to all palates.

The town is also home to a decent cinema with several screens, and when a regatta is not in progress, you can embark on a boat cruise.

The Henley Royal Regatta typically takes place during the last weekend of June each year. Established in 1839, competitors and spectators visit from all around the world. The course is the straightest, longest part of the River Thames, and coxes can be seen racing according to class up and down between Henley Bridge and Temple Island.

Eagle-eyed film fans will recognise the island from the Tommy Steele musical, ‘Half a Sixpence’. If you are a sporting fan, it’s a great event to watch. Tickets can be bought but there are also lots of places for people to watch for free.

River Thames through Henley

Close to Henley-on-Thames is Toad Hall, the real-life inspiration for the home of the fictional character, Toad, from Kenneth Grahame’s Wind in the Willows. Visitors mainly travel there for the garden centre and the lovely formal gardens.

The hall can also be seen from Remenham which is a small village downstream from Henley-on-Thames on the opposite riverbank.

Another famous resident of Henley, up until his death in 2001, was ex-Beatle, George Harrison, who lived on the western fringes of the town.

Day trips from Henley-on-Thames could include a trip to the neighbouring town of Marlow downstream and a drive through some lovely Chiltern-gilded countryside. Marlow is a quaint town with great eateries and even more lovely riverside walks.

"Former Beatles member, George Harrison lived in Henley for decades…"

A bit further afield but still a direct drive is Windsor, for its castle and collection of royal parks. You can reach both Marlow and Windsor via train too, where it's certainly worth paying a visit to Windsor Castle. Oxford is also accessible by train from Henley-on-Thames’ branch line.

Also take a trip to the Hellfire Caves in West Wycombe, which are man-made caves carved out of the chalk hillside in the 1700s. They were owned by Sir Francis Dashwood who was the leader along with several prominent MPs of the Hellfire Club. A fine day out for anybody that likes cave systems that come with a fascinating history.

While you’re there

Henley Royal Regatta

Coincide your visit with one of the country’s most happening sporting events.

Riverside walk

Follow the River Thames upstream for a gorgeous walk any time of year.

River cruise

Take a river cruise up the Thames to Marlow and enjoy the wildlife.

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