Pushing the boat out

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You're in for some Thames-side treats at Henley, says Mairiona Cotter.

Grab your boaters and blazers – plus, possibly your wellies! The Henley Regatta kicks off this week with a splash – and the riverbank will be alive with picnics, hampers and lashings of bubbly, not to mention outfits to rival those at Ascot.

Even if you've left it too late to join the throngs cheering on the rowers, or to snatch tickets for the big music events staged here once the regatta ends, there are plenty of Thames-side treats in store all year round in and around Henley.

As Ratty famously declared in the children’s classic Wind in the Willows, there is nothing – absolutely nothing – like messing about in boats. And aspiring boaties who can’t wait to don their deck shoes and splice the mainbrace can have plenty of fun both on and around the river in this pretty market town.

Of course you’ll need somewhere suitably stylish to stay, and where better for a sumptuous riverside sojourn than Danesfield House, set in show-stealing surroundings a few miles away and brimming with Thames-side elegance.

You’ll find acres of manicured gardens, gorgeous views over the Thames and the Chiltern hills and a terrace just begging for an early evening Pimm's or a sunny afternoon tea.

Danesfield House also has a brilliant Spa where you can zone out in an ozone-cleansed pool, sauna and steam room or opt to be pummeled and pampered in one of the treatment rooms.

Just down the road in nearby Goring on Thames is the small and intimate Miller of Mansfield. Just 100 yards from the riverbank, this appealing old inn has been given a stylish makeover in recent years. It’s now a fun and highly affordable place to stay just 75 minutes from London.

Every bedroom at the Miller of Mansfield is different – you’ll find sleigh beds, bold foil wallpapers, double ended baths and drench showers as well as a great restaurant downstairs. Room for Romance guests get a bottle of bubbly and a tray of chocs in their room to get things off to a great start.

You’re minutes from the Thames towpath, so walking to nearby Thames-side beauty spots like Marlow and Hurley is a breeze. the River and Rowing Museum is a mine of information for all things boat-related, and you can check out memorabilia from Henley Regattas back in the 1800s. Ratty and his friends would have loved it all.

See our full destination guide to the Thames Valley roomforromance.com/romantic-hotels/united-kingdom/thames-valley/

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