Oxford, Henley-on-Thames, Windsor Castle
The best of British
Oxford, Henley-on-Thames, Windsor Castle Overview
This particular tour is designed to show you the best of what Britain can offer, taking you from Oxford, the City of dreaming spires with its myriad museums and colleges, following the Thames to the historic and affluent market town of Henley-on-Thames, home to the much-vaunted Henley Royal Regatta and Eton College, staying at the beautiful Red Lion Pub, where time has stood still and the hoofs of the horses used by the coachmen can still be heard if you listen carefully; on again following the river Thames towards London and Windsor Castle, the oldest and largest inhabited castle in the world and has been the family home of British kings and queens for almost 1,000 years.
Oxford – the City of dreaming spires
In the “city of dreaming spires”, academia takes centre stage. Gaze out at Oxford’s world-famous colleges from the top of St Mary’s Church tower before heading into the city’s pedestrian-friendly streets.
The University’s Botanic Garden and Ashmolean Museum are Britain’s oldest. Follow your nose to the Covered Market for the makings of a picnic to enjoy on a punt or in the University Parks.
Mix the historic and modern with visits to the 12th- century village church of Iffley and trendy Cowley’s ethnic shops and music venues.
Steeped in time, Henley-on-Thames is a historic market town located just a few strides from the river Thames. The main street has many Georgian frontages covering older buildings and among the 300 buildings within the town designated “of special architectural or historical interest” are St Mary’s Church, the Town Hall, Market Place and the 18th Century stone bridge.
Indisputably, one of the most beautiful towns in England, recently voted by The Times as one of best places to live in the English countryside and a regular winner of RHS Britain in Bloom medals. Henley’s riverside location, surrounded by a Chiltern landscape of wooded hills and green fields, lends itself to relaxation, long lunches and quirky shopping. There’s a pub where Charles 1 drank, a Chantry house, a butcher that smokes his own meat and independent shops still offering the personal touch of yesteryear. It also boasts some of the most expensive real estate outside London.
But, it’s not just beautiful, Henley knows how to throw a party. It has an international reputation earned over 175 years by the world’s greatest rowing regatta, Henley Royal Regatta the town splashes out with a much vaunted “joie de vivre”.
Fundamentally, Henley on Thames is a town dedicated to enjoying the river.
Stay overnight at the famous Red Lion Pub
This intimate and charming hotel, originally a coaching inn on the road between London and Oxford, has been offering hospitality for over 600 years. It is situated at the foot of the Henley Bridge and offers spectacular views of the Henley Royal Regatta Course.
Windsor & Windsor Castle
No tour of the best of British is complete without a tour of Windsor Castle, the preferred weekend home of Queen Elizabeth II. It has an undisputed long association with the English and later British royal family and is noted for its wonderful architecture.
The original castle was built in the 11th century following the Norman invasion of England by William the Conqueror and it survived the tumultuous period of the English Civil War, was used as a prison for Charles I, and used by the royal family as a refuge during the Luftwaffe bombing campaigns of the Second World War, survived a fire in 1992 and has now been restored to its full glory.
The castle’s lavish early 19th-century State Apartments were described by the art historian Hugh Roberts as “a superb and unrivalled sequence of rooms widely regarded as the finest and most complete expression of later Georgian taste”. Inside the castle walls is the 15th-century St George’s Chapel, considered by the historian John Martin Robinson to be “one of the supreme achievements of English Perpendicular Gothic” design.