A Trip Along The Thames

At long last, the end of the university term has arrived and the four weeks of Easter holidays begin. Whilst for me this equals essay writing, exam preparation and revision, I allowed myself a few days off to rest and recharge, following a pretty stressful few months since returning to university after Christmas. My lovely flatmate joined us at home for a few days before flying back to Vienna, and as always we took the opportunity to go on a bit of a road trip and explore the surrounding area.

Our first stop of the day was the picturesque village of Hambledon, just a short drive from Henley-on-Thames and ‘famous’ for it’s role as the shooting location for a number of films – most notably Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. My Mum also had the chance to tick off a few more of the shooting locations we hadn’t seen during our Midsomer Murder’s driving tour as Hambledon is another popular filming location.

The village’s name apparently derives from its Anglo Saxon origins and means ‘crooked or irregularly-shaped hill’, which when you take in the surroundings seems suitable. Parking up the car, we decided to have a short stroll around the village – peeking into the sweet church as we went.

Leaving Hambledon behind, we were back on the road, making our way towards the second stop of the day, which was the old market town of Marlow  and the home of Steve Redgrave, Olympic rower and owner of five gold medals. Historically, the town owed its importance to its location on the River Thames, where the High Wycombe-Reading road crosses the river. Nowadays, Marlow’s greatest landmark is still the suspension bridge designed by William Tierney Clark in the 19th century, which was the inspiration for the Szechenyi Chain Bridge linking Buda and Pest in Hungary.

After a good wander round and plenty of fresh air, we hopped back in the car and travelled off to our final destination of the day, the impressive Cliveden Estate. We spent a pleasant few hours wandering around the property, which is in the hands of the National Trust, stopping for a tea break along the way (of course!) and admiring the attractive delights of spring. Unfortunately (and as expected) we were a little too early to enjoy most of the flowers but nevertheless we were able to appreciate the views across the Thames valley (in the direction of Maidenhead), catch some late daffodils, primroses and snowdrops around the estate and some early blossom in the Japanese garden.