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River Thames

Medieval ancestry, a handsome face and a fine rowing pedigree: if the Oxfordshire town of Henley-on-Thames was a man, he'd be a jolly English chap with cheeks flushed from sporting endeavours and a gaggle of girls swooning at his British wit and oh-so-suave dress sense.

Sitting astride the River Thames and just across the border from Berkshire and Buckinghamshire, Henley-on-Thames hotels are often busy with visitors wanting to combine a stay amid small-town ambience with day trips into London, which is reached on peak-time direct services from the town's railway station.

The town is famed for hosting the Henley Royal Regatta each July, and you can expect hotels in Henley-on-Thames to be busy during this five-day spectacular of rowing prowess. If you visit during this time, be sure to witness the Grand Challenge Cup final, the most prestigious event of the regatta.

It's a small town, though accommodation choices are in reasonable supply. You can stay in chic luxury hotels, close to the banks of the River Thames, which feature trendy furnishings and often boast top-notch dining options. Comfortable inns and pubs offer good-value rooms, and charming independent hotels, housed in grand old buildings, can be booked if you are looking for a slice of history alongside a bed for the night. The well-known Hotel du Vin chain has a hotel within the town.

In the countryside setting of the villages around Henley-on-Thames are lovely country pubs with hotel rooms, plus luxury spa hotels, which are perfect for a relaxing break with the convenience of being close to town and its attractions.

Top five attractions

The River and Rowing Museum

Three impressive galleries dedicated to the history of Henley-on-Thames and rowing. A fourth gallery was added nine years ago to house the magical Wind in the Willows exhibition.

Chiltern Valley Winery and Brewery

Raise a glass to some award-winning English wines before touring this traditional and independent brewery.

Henley Bridge

Get cameras at the ready as you take in the best views of the beautiful town from its five-arched stone bridge - an iconic river crossing since 1786.

The Church of St Mary

A place of worship for more than a thousand years, this delightful parish church has been dominating Henley's skyline for centuries.

Fawley Court

A stunning country house overlooking the Thames and situated to the north of the town. Marvel in the incredible designs of one of the world's most famous architects, Sir Christopher Wren.

Events

Henley Royal Regatta; July: Enjoy one of the biggest highlights on the English calendar. Some 200 river races are held over five days as thousands of spectators soak up the ambience of this quintessentially English tradition; book hotels early to avoid disappointment.

Henley Festival; July: Following on from the Regatta, the Henley Festival is an exquisite collection of events from morning until night involving theatre, dance, fireworks, food and drink. Sophisticated revelry at its finest!

Henley Literary Festival; September-October: Rub shoulders with some of the literary world's most famous contributors in the tight surrounds of several intimate venues for this annual celebration of the written word.