When a local paper called the Henley Standard has a whole section of its website dedicated to rowing, that’s a pretty big clue as to what the South Oxfordshire town of Henley-on-Thames is famous for.
Located 35km west of London, this town is home to one of Britain’s oldest rowing clubs. The Henley Rowing club has a record for competing at a high level at rowing regattas all over the UK and beyond. The club hold their own events, but it is not those that the town is most famous for. The women’s, men’s, and junior events, are overshadowed by the world famous Henley Royal Regatta. This event was founded in 1839 and attracts thousands of visitors each year.
Held over five days, the large number of races are just one pull for tourists in this part of Oxfordshire. The Henley Royal Regatta is succeeded by the Henley Arts Festival, which attracts big name acts to its floating stage. Music is also the name of the game towards the end of the summer, which is when 80 Rewind Festival takes over Henley. This event attracts 80’s legends such as ABC, Billy Ocean and Howard Jones, along with the Village People (cue YMCA dance). Literary, drama, and food festivals complete the event schedule in Henley-on-Thames, but it’s by no means all this town has to offer.
Henley is an ideal base to stay on a holiday or short break in Oxfordshire, and there is a variety of accommodation options to suit all tastes. Along with modern day restaurants, interesting shops, and historic churches, the close proximity of the Chiltern Hills is also a big plus point.
If you want to explore beyond Henley’s border, you’ll also find the surrounding towns and villages have plenty to offer. This area very much paints a picture of the traditional British countryside. Alongside Henley, Wallingford and Thame are both historic market towns, and you can find out more about their history at the local museums. There’s also the Railway Centre in Didcot, with its collection of steam engines, and stately homes such as Stonor Park which are open to the public.
It would be wrong to mention Henley-on-Thames and South Oxfordshire, without listing the outdoor activities on offer here. Apart from rowing, there are also facilities for golf, walking trails including the Thames Path and The Ridgeway, and several cycle rides through the Chilterns.
There are activities and events on offer to suit adults, children and families here, and coupled with all the modern facilities you’d expect on a holiday, the needs of a tourist will be well served in Henley-on-Thames.