Local Attractions

Things To See And Do In Henley And South Oxfordshire

As districts in Southern England go, South Oxfordshire is surely one of the most scenic. The River Thames runs through this part of the county, which is also nestled close to the Chiltern Hills, an Area Of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Alongside the world renowned town of Henley-on-Thames, Didcot, Wallingford and Thame are the other main towns in this area, which is also populated by a group of small villages.

A visit to this area will feel like a celebration of all that is ‘British’. From sampling local produce in the local restaurants and pubs, to staying in an historic guesthouse and sampling a busy market day, tradition and history are alive and well here. Wallingford and Thame both have museums detailing their history, while in Henley you can take in the River and Rowing Museum, which celebrates the towns long standing links with the sport. History of a different kind comes alive at the Didcot Railway Centre, which has a collection of decommissioned Great Western Railway steam engines and coaches. Your children may be interested to know that they also have visits from Thomas The Tank Engine and his friends. Didcot also has an arts centre and shopping precinct, along with open spaces at Millennium Wood and Edmonds Park, both perfect for picnics and exploring.

For the ramblers or birdwatchers among you, we recommend a trip to Cuttlebrook Nature Reserve in Thame. The traditional market town also has regular markets and an annual country fair to check out, along with several historic walking trails. Thame also has a few claims to fame, as Midsomer Murders has been filmed there, and it’s also close to Raymond Blanc’s famous restaurant Le Manoir Aux Quat’ Saisons.

Another market town that has played host to the Midsomer Murders filming crew, is Wallingford. King Alfred was said to have built this town as a defence against Viking warriors, while famous author Agatha Christie lived in, and was buried in the town. The lively market square and antique shops are always popular for visitors, while Henley-on-Thames is an ideal place to dine and stay. There are restaurants to suit all tastes, while the accommodation varies from picturesque guest houses to bed and breakfasts, and hotels.

Henley- on-Thames itself, will always be known for its links with the river, and it’s possible to hire commercial craft to take you along the route of the Henley Regatta, a world famous rowing event, held in the town since 1851. Along with the competitive amateur rowing races, and associated entertainment, visitors to Henley -On-Thames can also enjoy the annual Henley Arts Festival, which features rock, classical and Jazz artists performing live on a floating stage.

Although it’s always good to get away from work and school, it can be good to learn something too, while on a holiday or short break. There are several options in South Oxfordshire, including the Bach Visitor and Education Centre at Mount Vernon, in Brightwell cum Sotwell. The former home of Bach Flower Remedy inventor, Edward Bach, the centre is now a worldwide source of information on his work. If you’d rather learn more about wildlife and nature, then the estate owned by the Northmoor Trust is well worth a visit. The estate contains a nature reserve, a forest used for research, and a conservation farm. They also have an events schedule to entertain the whole family.

Whatever you’re looking for in a traditional British holiday, the scenic, educational, historic, or fun attractions in this area are guaranteed to make your holiday a good one.