Located just outside of the Chilterns to the south of Witney, is the town of Henley-on-Thames. This attractive market town is well known for its beauty, having been voted as one the best places to live in the countryside by The Times and is a regular recipient of Britain in Bloom awards. The town’s looks are enough to warrant a visit on their own, but that doesn’t mean that it’s all that Henley-on-Thames has to offer. So join us as we journey to the south of Oxfordshire and explore this Thames-side town, within an hour’s drive of Hardwick Parks.
Henley started hosting its Royal Regatta in 1839 and has run the event every year since – apart from during times of war. Unlike other regattas around Britain, the focus of the event at Henley is competitive rowing. Every July, visitors and competitors flock from all over the globe to watch as a whole fleet of rowboats race along the 1 mile and 550-yard race course. With the whole town getting involved in the festivities, creating something of an Edwardian atmosphere, there’s no more exciting time to pay a visit to Henley than during Regatta season.
Further cementing their place in the world of boating and rowing, Henley is also home to the River & Rowing Museum. Opening in 1998, the museum delights visitors with the history of the town, the River Thames as well as the town’s favourite pastime and method of transport.
Henley-on-Thames isn’t just about boating however, the town has a place in motoring history too. Henley was once the home of Morris Motors founder and philanthropist, Sir William Morris – later known as Lord Nuffield. Nuffield Place, as the house is named, is maintained by the National Trust and has been preserved just as it would have been left – giving visitors an honest glimpse into the lives of Lord and Lady Nuffield. Of special note is Lady Nuffield’s Wolseley Eight luxury motor car, which is kept on site and is the only road-worthy historical vehicle owned by the Trust.
For fans of ITV’s Midsomer Murders, Henley-on-Thames may offer some all-too-familiar sights, with several of the towns landmarks, pubs and streets being used in multiple episodes. The aforementioned Henley Regatta was even used as the ‘Midsomer Regatta’ in the episode “Dead in the Water”. Several tours are available for fans of Detective Barnaby’s exploits, including self-guided foot and car tours as well as bookable boating and guided tours. If you’re not a Midsomer fan, then Henley is surrounded by many other famous filming locations, including sites used in Downtown Abbey, Poirot, James Bond and of course, Inspector Morse.
Between the pomp and festivities of the regatta, the family home of one of England’s leading car manufacturers and the connections with an all-time British favourite TV show, there’s something quintessentially English about a visit to Henley-on-Thames. Just an hour’s drive from Witney, the home of Hardwick Parks, Henley-on-Thames makes for a perfect stop off point between Witney and London or the South, or as the venue for a day out filled with traditional English fun.
To learn more about the area surrounding Hardwick Parks, or to make a booking for the 2019 season, visit our website today.