HENLEY ON THAMES
A visit to Henley is a must. 12 minutes away by car, Henley is justly famous for the beauty of its riverside setting and the charm of its ancient buildings. In July the Royal Regatta is held, long part of the English social calendar,
and is followed by the Henley Festival, a musical feast.
Boats can be hired to explore the lovely river scene and extended river trips can be enjoyed. Recommended is a walk along Mill Meadows and a visit to the River and Rowing museum.
Evening entertainment can be found in the Kenton theatre.
The university city of Oxford can be reached in little over half an hour. Recommended are: a guided tour of the colleges, punting on the river Cherwell from the Cherwell boathouse and a visit to the Ashmoleon museum.
Afternoon tea at the Randolph Hotel, just opposite the Ashmoleon, is a special treat after a day's shopping in the many excellent stores.
The picture is the Oxford University Natural History Museum
There are many attractive villages and market towns in the surrounding countryside. Of particular interest is Wallingford (20 minutes by car), an unspoilt market town with charter dating back to the 12th century.
Markets are held every Friday in the square and a Farmers' market every second Tuesday. The riverside attractions include an open air swimming pool in the summer. The remains of an ancient castle, destroyed in the civil war, are well worth a visit.
We also strongly recommend exploring the Lamb Arcade (www.thelambarcade.co.uk).
The city of Reading can be reached in 20 minutes. It offers excellent shopping and has a first class sports centre and pool at the Rivermead on the Thames-side. Reading's big advantage is that it offers a fast rail link to London (25 minutes)
and many other parts of the country.
Grey's Court, owned by the National Trust, is a few minutes away by car. An historic house and attractive walled gardens with an excellent tea room, all set in beautiful countryside. Restricted opening hours.
In the nearby village of Stoke Row can be found the Maharajah's Well with its ornate well head. The well was sunk in 1864 and paid for by the Maharajah of Benares as a favour to the governor of Banares, who was from the village.
The Maharajah also donated a well keeper's cottage and a cherry orchard to pay for the upkeep.
The well, the cottage and orchard all remain in good order and form a charming centre piece to the village. There's more information at www.stokerow.net ... .
Popular local activities are walking, mountain biking and horse riding on the numerous footpaths and bridle ways. The long distance Ridgeway walk passes a few miles away.
Footpath maps and books of recommended walks are available.
Horse riding can be arranged at local stables. The Checkendon Equestrian Centre (www.checkendonequestrian.co.uk) and the Black Horse Stables (tel. 01491 680418) are both nearby.