Visit Henley-on-Thames and the surrounding villages and stay in bed & breakfast accommodation:
Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire, is a picturesque Thames side town separated from the neighbouring county of Buckinghamshire by an elegant bridge spanning a wide stretch of the river. The bridge was designed by Salopian William Hayward in 1786 and he was aided by a remarkable woman sculptor, Anne Darner; she was a cousin of Horace Walpole and her friendship with the Emperor Napoleon caused much gossip. The bridge is decorated with keystone masks of Father Thames and the goddess isis. The town, approached from Oxford by the famous Fair Mile, has a great variety of buildings to offer the sightseer. The red-brick Red Lion inn on the banks of the river, the Catherine Wheel in Regency white stucco and at least 20 other old inns indicate a town hospitable to visitors, it was at the Red Lion that Shenstone scratched a well-known quatrain on a pane of glass in the mid-l8th century:
Whoe'er has travelled life's dull round
Where'er his stages may have been,
May sigh to think he still has found
The warmest welcome at an inn.
Among the many interesting houses is that of William Lenthall, who was Speaker of the House of Commons during the Long Parliament. The Victorian Town Hall tends to obstruct the pleasant vista of Market Street. In New Street are some bow-windowed houses, among them the Henley Brewery Office, a reminder of the days when Henley boasted a number of “gentlemen brewers”. Chantrey House is a good timber-framed house with an overhang, built by a zealous priest in 1420 as a school for poor boys. It is now the Church House. In 1805 the people of Henley, who were very theatre conscious, built their own Kenton Theatre, with a charming curved gallery. Its round leaded windows still look out on to the street below. The flint- and chequer-work parish church, with its tall Perpendicular tower serving as a landmark, has some l4th century features but is mostly l5th century with later additions. It is rich in monuments to wealthy benefactors to the town. In the churchyard is the tomb of Richard Jennings, master builder of St Paul's under Christopher Wren.
The Henley Regatta has brought more fame to the town than any other of its many activities. The first inter-university boat race was held here in 1829, and by 1839 it had become a recognized event and its reputation established by splendid prizes offered by patrons. Not least was the patronage afforded by the Prince Consort who bestowed the title of Royal Henley Regatta. By late Victorian and Edwardian days it had become one of the highlights of the English Season. with fashionable and pretty girls vying for attention with the athletic prowess on the river. It is held at the beginning of July and lasts for four days, usually ending with a splendid fireworks display on the Saturday.
Stonor Park is a beautiful old manor house of splendid proportions which lies 5 miles north of Henley on the B480. It is open to the public for a considerable part of the year. Set in richly timbered park-land beneath a wood-crested hill, its mellow Tudor brickwork is unimpaired by time and weather. The Stonors have worshipped in the private chapel of the house for over 600 years. The original medieval buildings were made into one house in Tudor times, and the library and Great Hall date from this period. In 1760 a new roof and additional windows were incorporated, giving Stonor Park the appearance it has today.
In the Elizabethan religious unrest Edmund Campion was a constant visitor and had a secret printing press in a concealed room. The park is one of the most beautiful in southern England with paths winding under the shade of spreading nut trees. It is worth asking the way to the little hamlet of Maidensgrove and going on foot, since directions are too complicated to write down.
Nearby towns: Wallingford, Goring, Marlow, Reading, Maidenhead, High Wycombe, Wargrave, Watlington
Nearby villages: Ewelme, Remenham, the Assendens, Greys, Nuffield Place, Stonor, Shiplake, Hambledon, Wargrave, Fawley, Sonning, Nettlebed, Hurley, Harpsden, Rotherfield Greys and Bix
Have you decided to visit Henley-on-Thames or the surrounding villages? Please look above for somewhere to stay in:
- a Henley-on-Thames bed and breakfast (a Henley-on-Thames B&B or Henley-on-Thames b and b)
- a Henley-on-Thames guesthouse
- a Henley-on-Thames hotel (or motel)
- a Henley-on-Thames self-catering establishment, or
- other Henley-on-Thames accommodation