With plenty of things to do in Henley-on-Thames in the summer months, come and join us at Hotel Du Vin. We’re close to the exciting action of the world-renowned Henley Royal Regatta, an annual rowing event held on the River Thames over five days (Wednesday 3rd July 2019 to Sunday 7th July 2019) ending on the first weekend in July. The hotel is very fortunate to be a stone’s throw from the Thames and close to the Regatta HQ.

The Regatta was first held in 1839 and was so successful, and popularity for the event grew that over the years the Regatta was extended from what use to be a single afternoon of racing to the five-day event we have today. The Henley Regatta received the title of Henley Royal Regatta following the 1851 visit of H.R.H Prince Albert with this patronage came the royal element to the regatta’s name, most recent royal visits also include H.R.H The Princess Royal in 2010.

The Henley Royal Regatta is a highly anticipated event famous throughout the world, but outside of this, there are plenty of things to in Henley, from music festivals to local historical attractions. Read our local guide on what’s on in Henley this summer.


1.       Explore the local culture and history

Within the Chiltern Downs lies the stunning Stonor Park, a historic country house and deer park, The house was built in the 13th century and has been the home of the Stonor family for over 850 years making it one of the oldest family homes still lived in today. The park is the habitat of fallow deer which have supplied venison to kings and queens over the years, and the gardens are filled with plants and flowers, apple and plum trees and ornate Renaissance fountains, making it the perfect spot for to spend a relaxing summer’s day.

There are also a variety of National Trust properties around Henley, including Grey’s Court, a beautiful Tudor home with gardens in bloom all Summer. It’s a beautiful destination for those seeking a tranquil place to spend a day. Nearby is Nuffield Place, the home of Lord Nuffield who founded the Morrison Motor Company. The house has been left just as him and his wife left them. It’s a fascinating snapshot into the life of one of the areas greatest exports and of early-20th century life in general.


2.       Enjoy one of the town’s music festivals

Every year, just after the Royal Regatta, the Henley Festival takes place on the same site. The main stage floats on the river as the audience view from the grandstands set up on the banks. It’s a boutique, black tie event hosting a variety of musical acts from pop and world music to classical and jazz, as well as art exhibitions and exquisite food and drinks. Think riverside fine-dining, food stalls and bars. This year’s festival takes place from 10th to 14th July 2019 and includes names such as Boy George, Tom Odell and Jo Wiley.

Just outside Henley on the banks of the Thames, the Henley Rewind Festival has been held since 2009. The festival focuses on big music legends of the past and will this year host the likes of Grandmaster Flash, Lulu, Four Tops and one third of Sister Sledge. You can also expect a variety of comedy acts, an array of family activities and plenty of things to do including musical bingo and a silent disco. Join in this year from 16th – 18th August 2019.


3.       Discover the finest food and drink in Henley

Every Thursday, Market Place in the town centre hosts the Charter Market, a continental-style market where you’ll find a huge selection of local produce, food and drink. Here you’ll find stalls hosted by bakers, fishmongers and charcuteries, plus craft stalls selling local goods including bags and ethically sourced crafts. You’ll also find the Oxford Delhi, an Indian deli serving a range of delicious Indian street food and curries.

On the 2nd Saturday, 4th Thursday and 5th Sunday of every month, a Farmer’s market is held on Market Place with a focus on local produce and crafts, so you can be sure to catch a local market event whenever you’re in the area.

For the wine and ale enthusiasts, Chiltern Valley Winery is a must-see. This winery and brewery produces a range of award-winning English wines and real ales. They offer a fascinating Tour & Tasting experience covering the winery, brewery and liqueur production facilities which includes a tutored tasting of their finest products. You’ll need to book in advance though as places are snapped up quickly.

Chiltern Valley also run a cookery school which places an emphasis on how wine, real ale and liqueurs can enhance the dining experience. The course is an excellent way to spend a day catering to amateurs and experienced foodies alike.

There are plenty of bars and pubs in Henley-on-Thames, with many offering a variety of local real ales. Brakspear run a number of traditional pubs in the town and have created the Henley Ale Trail, mapping out a route covering ten pubs in Henley, each as friendly and welcoming as the next.


4.       Treat yourself to some retail therapy

Henley is home to a wide range of local, independent shops and high street retailers, most of which are located in the town centre around Duke Street, Bell Street, Hart Street and Market Place. For scrumptious chocolates and sweet treats, we recommend Gorvett & Stone Chocolatiers. Other favourites include Stocks, which offer a wide range of womenswear and menswear, and Temptation Gifts.


5.       Look out your boat shoes

Henley is one of the most beautiful and most famous stretches of the River Thames, which has helped it to earn its reputation as a boating destination.

The Royal Regatta takes pride of place in the annual boating calendar, but the Henley Women’s Regatta sets the scene, taking place just a couple of weeks prior. This year’s event took place from 21st to 23rd June and attracted a record number of entries from nine countries.

However, you don’t have to be a competitive sporting fan to enjoy all that the river brings. Various boat tours are available including those from Hobbs of Henley, a family business offering relaxing river cruises and self-drive boats. You can find the boat house on the banks of the river at Station Road.

The founder of Hobbs of Henley, Mr Harry Hobbs, was famous for his flamboyant beard and high-spirited nature, and often brewed his own gin. The gin is today cherished in the form of Mr Hobbs Henley gin, and the family’s gin business often run gin tasting cruises which take place throughout the year.

Away from the water itself, you can also learn about the River Thames and rowing in Britain at the award-winning River and Rowing Museum. The museum includes galleries and exhibitions exploring the story of Henley-on-Thames and hosts various events throughout the year. We recommend the Wind and the Willows exhibition, bringing to life the much-loved children’s novel.



6. Take things at your leisure

There are plenty of things to do in Henley-on-Thames, but if you’re in need of some relaxation, there’s a variety of peaceful riverside walks to help you take in the area at your leisure. Our favourite at Hotel du Vin is the walk from Hambleden Lock to Aston village and then back round to Henley – perfect for a sunny Sunday evening.

For those looking to get out on their bike, the Chilterns Cycleway is a beautiful cycle route through the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The route covers 170 miles of quiet, picturesque villages, tree-lined roads and traditional pubs. The 7.5 mile stretch from Henley to Parmoor is particularly quaint and takes in the Chiltern Valley Winery.

Henley-on-Thames is also famous for being one of the filming locations of Midsomer Murders. Fans of the show can take in guided walking tours, self-guided tours and driving trails. Follow in the footsteps of DCI Barnaby through the beauty of ‘Causton’ and the Oxfordshire countryside.


At Hotel Du Vin Henley-On-Thames we have 43 stunningly luxurious bedrooms and suites to retire to whether you’ve been watching the Regatta or taking in local life, all complete with wonderful Egyptian cotton and the usual HDV amenities our guests are used to. 

We also have wonderful options for dining in our Bistro, from our fantastic menu including lobster and Limousin steaks, and a stylish bar offering an extensive selection of wines and cocktails.

Why not book your stay today?