Some of the Loveliest Driving in the World

Article by: unknown author

Thu July 05, 2012 | 00:00 AM

The_A4130,_Hurley_-_geograph\Copyright: Andrew Smith (via Wikimedia Commons)

Henley-on-Thames is located in the Thames River Valley not far from the prestigious university town of Oxford and just a long stone’s throw from Cliveden House where I lived for four months during my college years (no, the interiors of this National Trust treasure didn’t look anything like what you’ll now see on the website of the opulent resort). Cliveden is worth a visit as they do tours and there are public events on the “What’s On” part of the Cliveden House website.

Rowing is the primary pastime in this neighborhood, but the country roads in this part of the country are perfect for running or biking. For me, I just love getting lost, driving on the “wrong side” of the road, and tooling around from Henley to Cookham to Taplow to Bray. There are dozens of darling roadside pubs with my sentimental favorite being Feathers just outside the gates of Cliveden House. For serious drinking, I would recommend Cookham (more pubs per capita than just about anywhere). For charm and romance, try Bray and eat at The Fat Duck (one of England’s most highly-regarded restaurants), The Waterside Inn, or The Royal Oak.

Pack a picnic and find a public park or a spot along side the river. This is such majestic country and is especially vibrant during the time of the Regatta. As for driving these windy roads, follow these three tips I learned while I lived there: drive an automatic as it’s complicated enough driving on the wrong side of the road, mind the hedgerows that act as fences alongside the road (it’s easy to mark up your car), and if you start a pub crawl and you’ve downed a couple of pints of Guinness, it’s time to become friendly with the local cab service.

Photo: Andrew Smith via Wikimedia Commons