Henley-on-Thames – A Riverside Retreat in Oxfordshire

Oxford City & Oxfordshire | Magazine 

Henley on Thames A Riverside Retreat in Oxfordshire

Nestled on the banks of the River Thames in Oxfordshire, the picturesque town of Henley-on-Thames exudes quintessential English charm. Known for its rowing heritage, regattas, and stunning riverside scenery, Henley offers a delightful escape from the bustling city life.

Henley Royal Regatta

Henley Royal Regatta, held annually on the River Thames in the picturesque town of Henley-on-Thames, is one of the most prestigious and renowned rowing events in the world. This iconic regatta brings together rowing enthusiasts, athletes, and spectators from around the globe to witness thrilling races, admire impeccable sportsmanship, and experience the rich traditions that make this event truly special.

The regatta showcases the very best in rowing, with teams competing in various categories, from single sculls to eights, showcasing their skill, strength, and teamwork.

Spectators line the riverbanks, immersing themselves in the electrifying atmosphere and cheering on their favourite crews as they race down the iconic Henley course. The sight of sleek rowing shells gliding through the water, oars cutting through the waves in perfect harmony, is a display of athleticism and precision.

Beyond the exhilarating races, Henley Royal Regatta offers a vibrant social scene with a delightful array of food stalls, bars, and hospitality tents. The enclosures along the riverbank provide a splendid setting to relax, socialise, and enjoy the regatta’s festivities.

The regatta runs from Tuesday 27 June to Sunday 02 July 2023

The River & Rowing Museum

Dive deeper into the world of rowing at the River & Rowing Museum, a fascinating institution dedicated to the sport and the river. Learn about the history of rowing, admire the impressive collection of boats, and engage in interactive displays that bring the sport to life. The museum also explores the natural and cultural heritage of the River Thames, providing a comprehensive understanding of this beloved waterway.

Step into the enchanting world of “The Wind in the Willows” at the Museum. Visitors of all ages are invited to immerse themselves in the captivating recreation of the riverbank world, complete with 3D models, theatrical lighting, and enchanting music.

Whether you’re rediscovering the magic of the story or introducing new audiences to the beloved tale, this immersive experience will transport you to the whimsical world of Mole, Ratty, Mr. Toad, and Badger. Enhance your visit by picking up an audio handset at the Front Desk, allowing you to fully immerse yourself in the narration of “The Wind in the Willows” and enrich your journey through this timeless story.

The Henley Distillery

Located in an 18th-century threshing barn just outside Henley-on-Thames, The Henley Distillery is a haven for artisanal spirits. Their gleaming copper alembic stills, heated over open flames, produce contemporary spirits rooted in traditional, handcrafted methods. With Jacob Wilson, one of the youngest Master Distillers in the country, at the helm, The Henley Distillery creates premium-quality, award-winning spirits that showcase the purity and flavour of meticulously selected botanical extracts and essential oils. Their dedication to craftsmanship and attention to detail shine through in each bottle.

Experience the artistry of gin-making with The Henley Distillery’s Tour and Tasting. Take a guided tour of the distillery, where a Head Distiller will share their knowledge and guide you through the history and distillation process of gin. Sample their three different gins, crafted by Master Distiller Jacob, and a refreshing Henley G&T in the beautiful 18th-century barn. This immersive experience offers a glimpse into the passion and expertise behind their handcrafted gins.

For an even more personalised experience, The Henley Gin Experience takes you on a journey from tasting to creating your own bespoke gin. After the tour and tasting, guests move to the gin school, where individual copper stills await. With guidance from the experts, choose from over 100 botanicals and craft your own uniquely personal 70cl bottle of gin.

Whether you choose the Tour and Tasting or The Henley Gin Experience, a visit to The Henley Distillery promises a captivating journey through the world of artisanal spirits.

River Walks

Explore the beauty of the Thames Path that winds its way through Henley. Enjoy the tranquil ambiance as you meander along the riverbank, passing quaint cottages, lush green fields, and perhaps even catching a glimpse of rowers gliding through the water.

Shopping in Henley-on-Thames

This historic market town has a selection of unique boutiques, independent shops, and well-known brands. You can stroll along the picturesque streets lined with Georgian buildings and discover a treasure trove of fashion, homeware, antiques, and more. Explore the bustling market square, where local vendors showcase their fresh produce, artisanal goods, and handmade crafts.

The Charter Market takes place every Thursday in Henley’s Market Place, where you can browse through stalls offering an array of goods, from fresh produce to clothing and crafts.

On the 4th Thursday of the month, the Charter Market is joined by the Farmers Market, where you can find an abundance of locally grown and produced food and drink.

For those seeking unique handmade crafts, the Craft Market takes place on the 4th Sunday of every month, featuring a variety of talented artisans showcasing their creations.

The Henley Festival

Henley Festival is an exclusive boutique black tie festival which takes place over five days celebrating the best of UK and International music and arts. The festival is a truly extraordinary event that captures the essence of music, arts, and gastronomy in a glamorous and exclusive setting. This boutique black-tie festival, spanning five days, showcases a diverse range of musical genres, from pop to classical, jazz to world music. The festival prides itself on curating an exceptional line-up that ensures an unforgettable experience for attendees.

Beyond the music, Henley Festival goes above and beyond to make a positive impact. Through their RISE initiative, they provide paid opportunities for young and talented performers, technicians, and artists, fostering the growth of the next generation in the creative arts industry. This commitment to supporting emerging talent extends to offering work experience with leading companies in lighting, sound, marketing, and PR.

The festival’s dedication to the community is evident in every aspect of their work. They strive to make each individual feel special, whether they are part of the festival team, a performing artist, or a guest. The enchanting ambiance, world-class performances, and delectable culinary offerings all contribute to the unique and magical experience that is Henley Festival.

For those looking to indulge in exquisite dining experiences, Henley Festival offers a selection of top-notch restaurants that perfectly complements the musical and artistic offerings. With a commitment to excellence in every aspect, Henley Festival is a testament to the power of music, art, and community, creating a truly remarkable event that leaves a lasting impression.

The Henley Festival runs from Wednesday 05 to Sunday 09 July 2023

From strolling along the picturesque riverside and exploring the charming streets to enjoying the renowned Henley Royal Regatta and immersing oneself in the arts and music at the Henley Festival, this town offers something for everyone.


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