Riverside Towns & Villages
A gentle cruise downstream from Hurley.....
Leaving from the boatyard, cruising downstream from Hurley, through Temple Lock, passing Bisham Abbey - a Grade I listed manor house with rich royal history and now home to one of England's five National Sports Centres.
Within 40 minutes cruise of Hurley is Marlow. Here, public moorings alongside Higginson Park give the opportunity for a walk into the town to enjoy the variety of shops, restaurants, pubs and cafes. Amongst the many places to eat in the town is the Hand and Flowers in West Street - the first gastro pub in the UK to be awarded two Michelin stars. Former residents of Marlow include the poets T S Eliot and Percy Bysshe Shelley and the writer Jerome K Jerome of "Three Men in a Boat" fame. Many Olmpic oarsmen and women, most notably Sir Steve Redgrave, have honed their talents at Marlow Rowing club, alongside the bridge. Also on this side of the river is the Compleat Angler Hotel with moorings available for customers - whether staying for dinner or overnight.
Continuing downstream through Marlow Lock you pass under Quarry Woods, the inspiration for Kenneth Graham's "Wind in the Willows". The author grew up in nearby Cookham Dean.
Into the Cookham Reach can be found The Bounty Inn, with mooring alongside, a great place to stop off for a quick drink or snack.
There are moorings available for customers at The Ferry at Cookham (approximately 1.5 hours from Hurley). The Stanley Spencer gallery is a notable point of interest in this picturesque village.
Through Cookham Lock and onto the Cliveden reach with its glorious Autumn colours. Cliveden House Hotel sits high on the banks of the river and has enjoyed a colourful past. Owned by the wealthy Astor family during 1893 until 1942 at which time it was passed into the care of the National Trust. The Astor family continued to live there until 1968, shortly after the Profumo scandal. Past guests include, Sir Winston Churchill, Ghandi, George Bernard Shaw and Charlie Chaplin.
The next lock is Boulters - made famous in the painting by Victorian artist Edward John Gregory. Immediately to port on leaving the lock can be found Boulters Lock Inn, refurbished in recent years with mooring available.
Continuing downstream, passing under Maidenhead Bridge and then Brunel's Sounding Arch - completed in 1838, this bridge was pivotal in opening up railway access to the River Thames for hundreds of city dwellers on day trips from London in the Victorian and Edwardian eras.
Immediately before Bray Lock can be found the Waterside Inn (approximately 2.5 hours from Hurley). Opened in 1972 by Albert & Michel Roux and now run by Michel's son Alain, the Waterside Inn is the only establishment in the UK to have retained three Michelin stars for over 25 years.
Shortly after passing through Bray Lock, is the secluded retreat of Monkey Island Hotel - accessible by the means of boat or footbridge only.
A little further on is Oakley Court Hotel with lawns rolling down to the river's edge and moorings available for customers. Nearby are Bray Studios, one time home to the Hammer Horror Films.
On to the Dorney reach with Dorney Rowing Lake, site of the 2012 Olympics, just visible to port.
Eton & Windsor
The next lock is Boveney, after which the river gently meanders before reaching the historic towns of Eton and Windsor (approximately 4 hours from Hurley). The Sir Christopher Wren's House Hotel can be found on the Windsor side and is the perfect base for exploring both Eton and Windsor with it's many interesting antique shops, boutiques, restaurants and tourist attractions - moorings available for customers of the Hotel. There are further public moorings along the promenade.
A gentle cruise upstream from Hurley...
Upstream through Hurley Lock the river runs a straight course before meandering to the right. As it straightens once more, Medmenham Abbey can be viewed to starboard - one time meeting place for the notorious Hellfire Club established by Sir Frances Dashwood in the 1700's
The Flower Pot
The scenery in this stretch of the Thames is particularly reminiscent of a bygone era with weeping willows and cows grazing at the waters edge. There are public moorings available at Aston on the Berkshire bank, from which point it is a short walk up to The Flower Pot pub (approximately 40 minutes from Hurley).
Through Hambledon Lock and onto the Henley reach cruising along the world famous Royal Regatta course. In addition to the Regatta, Henley plays host to a variety of festivals - Music, Literary and Traditional Boat Rally. Immediately past Henley Bridge (2 hours from Hurley) to starboard is the Angel on the Bridge with customer moorings. Public moorings are available at Mill Meadows, a good point from which to visit the town and also the River and Rowing Museum. Hotels in the town include Hotel du Vin in New Street on the site of the former Brakspears Brewery, and The Red Lion prominently placed near the bridge.
Through Marsh Lock and on to Wargrave where the St George & Dragon riverside Pub and Restaurant can be found. Mooring available.
The next lock upstream is Shiplake and then on to the picturesque village of Sonning (approximately 3 hours from Hurley), with a choice of places to eat and stay - the Great House Hotel with moorings alongside and the French Horn Hotel with mooring against tow path just below Sonning Bridge. For something a little different, take in a show and dinner at the Mill at Sonning Theatre
Travelling further afield up through Caversham Lock and then to Mapledurham (approximately 5.5 hours from Hurley), where a visit to the fully working watermill is well worth experiencing - open weekends only, mooring available. Mapledurham Estate has played host as the backdrop for a number of films over the years, most notably the 1976 classic "The Eagle Has Landed" starring Michael Caine.
Whitchurch & Goring
Whitchurch and Goring Locks next. Upon leaving Goring Lock can be found The Swan Hotel at Streatley with moorings alongside.
Beetle & Wedge
In the stretch of river upstream of Cleeve Lock (approximately 6.5 hours from Hurley) are the Leatherne Bottel with moorings alongside by prior arrangement, and the Beetle & Wedge Boathouse at Moulsford which offers comfortable accomodation and a relaxed dining experience.