Ace Henley Playing Cards

Celebrating all that’s great about life in Henley on Thames

Welcome to Ace Henley. If you’re reading this it’s hopefully because you have a set of really rather wonderful playing cards in your possession, dedicated to the world-famous town that is Henley on Thames. They are a celebration of all that’s great and things you need to know about, for those visiting or if you’re lucky enough to live here.

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A of Hearts

Rewind Festival

A of Hearts

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The big event in August is the Rewind Festival featuring 80s (and new this year, more 90s) music. Fancy dress is the norm with this weekend event though flat shoes are advised as it’s held on a riverside field down near Temple Island and you’ll want to dance, dance, dance.

There’s always tonnes of headline music acts, a silent disco, an inflatable church as well as plenty of street food on offer and of course, a few drinks to be had as well. You can camp the whole weekend or get a river taxi from Henley bridge if you need your bed and home comforts.

2023 includes headline acts Erasure’s Andy Bell and Squeeze as well as loads of other musical delights including ABC, The Undertones, Tony Hadley, the Art of Noise and Heaven 17.

2 of Hearts

Wild & Rust

2 of Hearts

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A relatively new addition to the Henley retail scene but wondering how we ever lived without them! A dreamy store selling ethically sourced and sustainable candles, diffusers, plants and homewares and even a dried flowers bar.

You’re always guaranteed to find the perfect gift or just a treat for yourself. This store may be small but it’s packed full of beautiful things.

3 of Hearts

Henley Larder

3 of Hearts

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As of February 2024, the Henley Larder has a new home on Duke Street as they're now co-habiting with Four Square.

You're always guaranteed a warm welcome in the Henley Larder from Zoe the owner. This delicatessen is packed full of so many local goods, you're spoilt for choice.

This well-stocked store is laden with local cheese, chocolate, fresh bread and pastries, jams, chutneys, beer wine and of course, the Henley playing cards too.

The gift boxes are incredible and make the perfect present and even local folk will find something new on every visit.

There's also Henley on Toast next door now. A super community café that's run by the Henley Larder so you can enjoy a crumpet and a cuppa too.

4 of Hearts

Jacobini Wine Gallery

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A new addition to the Henley high street, opening it's doors in the summer of 2022. It's the perfect place for glass of wine or two (no judgement here!) from their carefully curated list.

It's also a feast for the eyes as popular Henley artist Kirsten Jones has her residency here.

If there's a particular wine that tickles your taste buds, you can also buy a bottle to take home with you.

5 of Hearts

Saracen's Head

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Mel and Colin always offer a warm welcome and good chat. This family-friendly community pub is a great place for sports fans to enjoy the rugby, football and even boxing if that's your thing. They have Sky Sports so if there's something you want to watch, just ask.

In the summer months, there's usually big outdoor screens if it's a major sporting event too. There's a boules area as well as pool table and darts board so all pub-sports are covered!

It's a short walk to the Saracen's Head up Greys Road, from central Henley. It's a steep-ish hill but not a long one and you'll have earned that first drink when you get there. There's also a small carpark too.

6 of Hearts

The Henley Florist & Flower School

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Located on 6 Hart Street (hence the card!) Lorna offers beautifully curated flowers for all occasions from small bouquets and house plants to weddings and funerals. 

There's also a flower school upstairs so you can artfully arrange flowers like a pro to take away with you. Classes are £60 and include a little refreshment too.

7 of Hearts

Gabriel Machin

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Gabriel Machin is the only independent butcher in the town centre and it's got a wonderfully traditional charm to it as well as selling top notch produce too which is why it's so popular.

It's been a butcher's shop since 1861 and Gabriel Machin bought it in 1881. Before it became a butcher, it's been home to a pub with beer being brewed on site and a greengrocer.

Today it's got an onsite smoker and curer, selling a whole range of meat, game and fish prepared there too.

Anyone who's anyone knows the only place to get your Christmas meat from is Machin's and they also sell a good range of local cheese, milk and eggs.

8 of Hearts

Market Place

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If you're in Henley on a market day be sure to pop along for an abundance of local produce.

There's the Charter Market every Thursday that's been part of Henley life for more than 700 years and includes fresh fruit and veg, local cheese, fresh bread, pastries and flowers as well as plenty more besides. It starts around 8am and finishes around 2.30pm.

On the 4th Thursday of the month, the Farmer's Market joins the Charter Market too so even more fresh and local produce to buy. The Farmer's Market also pops up on the second Saturday of each month too.

The Craft Market appears on the fourth Sunday of the month too with a host of local handmade goods so perfect for gifts or a souvenir.

When it's not a market day, the cafes and restaurants that line Falaise Square (the original name for Market Place) have tables and chairs for you to sit and watch the world go by whilst having a coffee or spot of lunch.

9 of Hearts

The Anchor Inn

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The Anchor is a traditional pub and it's a stone's throw from the River Thames. Take a walk down Friday Street before you go into the pub as it's one of Henley's most picturesque and oldest streets.

This grade II listed pub dates back to the 1800s and has two bars, a restaurant area and a hidden courtyard garden.

The bar on the right is the perfect place to sip a pint and play cards on a rainy afternoon.

10 of Hearts

Henley Herald

10 of Hearts

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Find out what's going on as it happens from this news website that celebrates 10 years in 2023 so the 10 of hearts feels more than appropriate.

From breaking news to upcoming events, Michaela and the team at the Herald has her finger on the pulse of the beating heart of Henley. There's an events calendar too that's worth keeping an eye on if you're only in town for a few days.

J of Hearts

Town Hall

J of Hearts

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The grand building you see today at the top of Market Place is actually the fourth town hall of Henley. It was finished in 1901 as a tribute to Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee.

The third town hall which stood on the same site was moved to Crazies Hill a village just outside Henley if you go over the bridge and remains today as a private house.

There's a visitor's information centre inside, just walk in and head down the stairs and it's on your left and yes, they sell Henley playing cards!

The wonderfully grand rooms are available to hire including the Main Hall, Council Chambers and Committee Room - all accessed via a marble staircase. You can also get married there too and folk often do, so keep an eye out, especially on Saturdays.

Q of Hearts

Experience Henley

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Experience Henley always has a finger on the pulse of what's going on in Henley so you can live like a local even if this is your first visit.

Always searching out the newest ventures and fun things to do, it's an essential online resource at your fingertips.

The Experience Henley Card offers loads of offer and discounts in and around the town, including plenty from those with their own Henley playing card, so if you're a local or even just visiting, it's worth buying one as you'll soon save more than you spent on the card.

K of Hearts

Pirate Pizza

K of Hearts

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Hands down, one of the best hidden gems of Henley. Justin has the lifestyle we all want; cruising up and down the Thames selling amazing homemade pizzas. You'll know it's him as its the only barge with pizza ovens at the back and potted herbs on the roof.

Flitting between Henley and Marlow, check the Facebook page for an update on where and when he's firing up. Once you've tried his pizza, you'll know why he's the king of Henley's  hearts (so cheesy but so true!).

A of Diamonds

Henley Royal Regatta

A of Diamonds

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The event that put Henley on the map. It's been running for over 180 years, since 1839 and now attracts an estimated quarter of a milling people for the week that it's held. Henley was chosen as the ideal location because it has a mile-stretch of the Thames that's straight so perfect for rowing.

The date is determined by the first Saturday that falls in July and in 2022 it was extended to 6 days of rowing starting on a Tuesday, to include more women's races.

The Stewards' enclosure is hosted by Henley Royal Regatta and is on the Berkshire side of the river, with Henley town offered as the stunning backdrop and perfect view of the finish line. Just be sure to adhere to the dress code of no dresses above the knee for ladies and jackets to be worn by gentlemen at all times. As of 2021, ladies are now permitted to wear trouser suits too. It's the perfect place to spend a summer's day relaxing in an HRR deckchair with a glass of Pimms.

2 of Diamonds

Big Duck Lilly

2 of Diamonds

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Now this really is a special card and very unique to Henley. Lilly can often be seen in the summer months cruising up and down the river. She’s a huge inflatable duck, probably the biggest you've ever seen, so she’s hard to miss. It's no coincidence Lilly is a 2 either, quack quack!

Tim looks after Lilly and if you see her, make sure to give Tim a donation. So far, Tim has collected over £23,000 and it all goes to Macmillan Cancer Support. A man that deserves a knighthood and a true Henley gent for sure.

Lilly will be selling Henley playing cards as she cruises up and down the river. A slightly inflated price of £10 per pack with £6 going to Macmillan Cancer Support so it's a very valuable cause.

3 of Diamonds

Regal Picturehouse

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This bijou cinema has three screens and always offers up a cosy experience to see the latest film.

They quite often show independent films as well as baby and toddler-friendly screenings in the day too.

There's a café as you enter if you need a quick toastie as well as a fully licensed bar and plenty of popcorn to munch your way through as you enjoy the latest blockbuster.

4 of Diamonds

Swiss Farm

4 of Diamonds

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Awarded the very prestigious campsite of the year 2021 by the AA, owned and run the Borlase family since 1946.

Touring caravans and motorhomes are welcome, or pitch your own tent and be at one with nature. There's also a beautiful shepherd's hut as well as glamping cabins and holiday caravans you can rent.

There's also the very popular Bosley farm shop with plenty of local produce and freshly baked bread as well as the Farm Kitchen café and an outdoor swimming pool.

It's a short walk to Henley town centre too so it really is the perfect holiday destination that has accommodation to suit all budgets and styles. 

The café and farm shop are also open to those not staying there so do pop in as they're both worth a visit.

5 of Diamonds

Henley Bridge

5 of Diamonds

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Built in 1786, this iconic bridge is over 200 years old. The toll for using the bridge was abolished in 1873 and it's still free to use today. It has five archways and so very neatly it's the 5 of diamonds. 

If you mention Henley Bridge to any local, conversation will lead onto the campaign running to add lights to it. Most folk seem for the idea but just so long as it doesn't damage the stonework. 

It is grade I listed and so seems fitting that local company ManningUK Insurance Brokers sponsor it as this amazing architecture needs looking after.

It's actually the second bridge built. Evidence of the original archways can be seen in the Angel On The Bridge's cellar) and have been dated to 1170.

6 of Diamonds

Regatta Course

6 of Diamonds

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The Straight Course, as it's now known, was the fourth course introduced at the Regatta and started being used in 1924. It's a stretch of the River Thames from Temple Island to Henley Bridge and is one mile 550 yards long, so just over 2.1km in new money.

When the Henley Royal Regatta isn't on, it's still a wonderful stretch of river to walk. Cross over Henley Bridge and take the first left and keep left down a footpath and it will bring you out with the river on your left and Leander Club (ace of clubs) on your right). 

You can walk, jog or cycle this flat stretch down to Temple Island and back and many folk do. Just be mindful that if rowers are training, give way to their coaches on their bikes as they're often more focused on the rowers than those on dry land!

7 of Diamonds

Hof's Bar & Dining

7 of Diamonds

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Some folk are born in Henley but many move here and it soon feels like home. That's true of husband and wife team Christopher and Sophie.

Hof's have their own vineyard in South Africa, where Christopher is born and bred, and import their wines all the way over to Henley for all to enjoy.

Sophie is from Germany originally and her influence is felt in the hearty menu they offer.

There's usually live music at the weekend too and when there are major rugby fixtures on, this is a great place to enjoy the action.

The building used to be the police station so head towards the back and on the right, you can have dinner inside the old cells.

 

 

8 of Diamonds

Henley Boating Company

8 of Diamonds

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Whether you want to rent a self-drive boat or enjoy a chartered boat with a driver, the Henley Boating Company offer both from the Red Lion Terrace opposite the Relais Hotel. Jim and Justin are highly recommended as they’re lived in Henley for years and have plenty of chat as well as being thoroughly decent chaps so opt for the chartered boat.

Top tip: when they’re not boating in the spring and summer, they sell the finest real Christmas trees in Henley from the Flower Pot Hotel in the picturesque village of Aston. Find them on Facebook @jimandjustinschristmastrees

9 of Diamonds

Henley Youth Choir

9 of Diamonds

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One of six playing cards that's a charity, the Henley Youth Choir is exactly what you think it is.

Part of the Henley Choral Society who celebrate half a centenary in 2023, any child between 7 to 17 is welcome and they put on quite a performance.

For those not local to Henley, this might be a group who aren't on your radar but do check out where they're performing  and show your support to these dedicated youngsters.

10 of Diamonds

Fairmile Vineyard

10 of Diamonds

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Whilst Henley has existed as a town since 1179, the Fairmile Vineyard has only been a part of it for 10 of these years. Celebrating this milestone of an anniversary in 2023, it seems rather fitting they are the 10 of diamonds as their fizz really does add a sparkle to Henley.

The road on which they reside is a rather splendid entrance into the town and if you look to the left, you’ll see the vines growing on the steep south-facing slopes.

You’ll be hard-pushed to find a friendlier couple than Jan and Anthea who own the Fairmile Vineyard. Book in for a tour or just pop along to their shop and purchase a bottle of their sparkling rosé or classic cuvée - you won’t be disappointed.

J of Diamonds

Christmas Festival

J of Diamonds

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This annual weekend is the official start of Christmas in Henley and takes places on the last weekend of November.

On the Friday evening, the roads close to make way for loads of local market stalls and the shops open late too. There's loads to do including a small funfair for the little ones and real reindeer there too!

It really is a marvellous evening, so wrap up warm and wander the streets with a mulled wine and shop along the way.

Q of Diamonds

Tigers 'n' Tiaras

Q of Diamonds

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This adorable store has everything for the well-dressed youngster in your life.

Specialising in well-made ethically sourced and sustainable children's clothing and shoes, Maria caters for babies, toddlers and children.

Many of the clothes will have you envious that they don't come in adult sizes!

K of Diamonds

David Rodger Sharp

K of Diamonds

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Henley's King of Bling had to be the king if diamonds in the pack of course!

David had a bountiful selection of elegant jewellery and watches and can also design your own pieces as well as give life to your existing precious metals with restoration and repair.

Lab-grown diamonds are the new focus. You can call in to find out more but to give you an idea, they're much better for the environment and a good deal cheaper too than natural diamonds. Sounds like a winner!

A of Spades

Henley Festival

A of Spades

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Described as the poshest festival in the UK, this is no Glastonbury. It's no coincidence Henley Festival is the coolest card in the pack. This black tie event runs from Wednesday to Sunday the week after Henley Regatta in July, every evening from 5pm and a family day on Sunday afternoons.

It’s a ticket-only event and the main act performs on a floating stage but there’s so much to enjoy at this event, you’ll want to arrive as soon as the doors open. There’s a jazz club, comedy tent, fun fair, dancing, drinking and dining all available to you. Everyone should attend Henley Festival at least once in their life.

2023 main acts include Rag'n'Bone Man, Westlife, Nile Rodgers & Chic, Ministry of Sound Classical and Boney M but Festival is so much more than the main acts so take a look at their website for the amazing entertainment on offer.

2 of Spades

Henley Décor Fair

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A fairly recent addition to the Henley calendar of events but it's already a firm favourite and continues to grow.

Held over two weekends; one in the spring and one towards the end of the summer, enjoy of afternoon of antiques hunting with unique pieces for your home, garden and wardrobe.

There's also live music and food stalls and a bar with entertainment on during the day and into the evening. 

Taking place at the Henley Showground with the River Thames and Culden Faw Estate providing the beautiful scenery, head towards Marlow and you'll find it. There's plenty of free parking and you can arrive by boat too. Tickets can be purchased in advance or turn up on the day.

3 of Spades

Harpsden Wood

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Over 45 acres of magnificent woodland that you’re free to roam. With loads of paths, you can walk to Harpsden from Henley. It’s less than a mile to get to Harpsden from the Three Horseshoes pub which is on the south side of Henley, or you can drive and find a place to park. Just note there’s no dedicated car park but please do park courteously.

With trees, nature and wildlife in abundance, it’s a very calming place to visit especially in the Spring where it’s awash with bluebells. There are hills so good to get the heart rate up for sure.

This card is kindly sponsored by Martina Swinburn who offers counselling and psychotherapy for a wide range of conditions as well as mental health awareness training courses. This card felt like a fitting choice as we all know how  getting out for a walk in beautiful surroundings does us good mentally as well as physically.

4 of Spades

Old Bell

4 of Spades

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The best place in Henley for a classic cocktail and a few more modern twists to choose from on the monthly specials too. The cocktails are always properly created and crafted so pull up a bar stool and watch the all-female bar team in action.

If cocktails aren't your thing, there's a fully stocked bar too offering everything you'd expect from a traditional pub. Described as one of Henley's friendliest pubs, it's a firm favourite with locals.

Check out their website and social media channels as the Old Bell is now offering food from guest chefs with a different offering each evening.

Famous for being the town's oldest building dating back to 1325 originally as a house and becoming a public house in the 1760s called the Duke of Cumberland.

The timber framing adorning the front of the building was only added in the 1930s and its name changed to the Old Bell as a nod to the street it resides on as mock-tudor was popular at the time.

5 of Spades

Greys Court

5 of Spades

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What's more British than a visit to a National Trust property for a cream tea?

Dating back to 1346, spend an afternoon enjoying one of the many walks and splendid views of the Chiltern hills and you might even spot the many deer that live in the area.

There's a walled garden, gift shop, country house and of course, a tea room. The Book Nook sells pre-loved books too.

It's a couple of miles outside Henley and parking is available. Just head up towards Badgemore Park and keep going for another mile and a half.

6 of Spades

Regatta HQ

6 of Spades

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The Regatta Headquarters sits directly opposite the Angel On The Bridge pub as you look from the Angel's terrace over the river. Whilst it's a relatively modern building compared to others in Henley, it was granted grade II listed building status back in 2018 because of its architectural and historic interest.

The late Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip officially opened the riverbank residence in 1986. It used to be home to the Carpenter's Arms pub but it was demolished due to constant flooding, a hazard of being next to the river.

It's well worth a visit to find out more about Henley's rich rowing history and there's also a shop stocked with plenty of high quality souvenirs, including these fine playing cards too.

7 of Spades

Temple Island

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One of two Temple Islands in the world, it marks the start of the Regatta Course. Built in 1771 originally as a fishing lodge for Fawley Court country house but now under the ownership of Regatta HQ.

You can rent this unique and ornate temple for the most exclusive party in town. Just remember to ensure you arrange a boat to transport your guests to and from the island!

8 of Spades

Oaken Grove Vineyard

8 of Spades

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Located in stunning countryside, you'll not find a better place to spend an afternoon. Book a table on the terrace to enjoy a charcuterie platter and a glass of their own white, rosé or bubbles and the wonderful view of the vines.

You can also book a tour and tasting too for a very reasonable £20 per person. It's the perfect combination of learning and wine!

9 of Spades

Hotel Du Vin

9 of Spades

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Formerly the home of the Brakspear brewery until 2002, now a stunning hotel. Many original features to celebrate the history still remain today in this hotel with 43 bedrooms.

On a sunny day, the courtyard is the perfect place for a glass of Pimms or cold beer. The large dining room is very accommodating and there's plenty to choose from on the French-influenced menu. Non-residents are always welcome.

It's a popular place for weddings too as there's a selection of private rooms in this listed and historic building.

Brakspear originally began brewing in Witney, north Oxfordshire, before relocating to Henley, the river proving a useful transport link for ingredients and as a way to transport the beer once brewed.

Today Brakspear's brewery has returned to Witney at the Wychwood Brewery however the pubs still remain and the Brakspear Ale Trail is world-famous. 

10 of Spades

Old Fire Station Gallery

10 of Spades

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As the name suggests, this wasn't always a gallery space. The fire station now resides just around the corner on West Street, behind the Old Fire Station Gallery.

It's a great space ad popular with local and out-of-town artists and it's usually got an exhibition on with free entry. Check out the what's on calendar and pop in for a browse. It's just behind the Town Hall.

J of Spades

Mill Meadows

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Just head towards the river, turn right at the Angel On The Bridge) and keep walking until you see the bandstand and you've reach the popular picnicking area that's Mill Meadows.

It's right on the river and it's perfect for families. It boasts 2 children's play areas, one for toddlers and one for older children, as well as the Henley Adventure Golf, a bowling green, and a cafe. There's a small visitor's information kiosk as well as public toilets too which are handy.

In the summer there are small fairground rides and a bouncy castle and you can also rent canoes and paddle boards too. Brass bands will sometimes serenade you from the bandstand too.

The River & Rowing Museum is at the far end of Mill Meadows so be sure to go. 

Q of Spades

Kenton Theatre

Q of Spades

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Dating back to 1805, the Kenton is the fourth oldest working theatre in the UK. It’s a registered charity and named after Robert Kenton who left the plot of land it now resides on to the Town Council.

With a capacity of just 240, this Grade II listed building has a wide and varied programme including comedy, music, drama and talks. Be sure to visit the Old Bell round the corner on Bell Street for a cocktail before your visit (four of spades in the pack).

K of Spades

Angel On The Bridge

K of Spades

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You’ll not find a more quintessentially English pub than the Angel. It’s been around since 1728 as a watering hole for those in need of a cold beer and a bite to eat. Brass plaques in the bar commemorate Max Miller and Grace Kelly having been there too.

With a cosy log fire in the winter and the best view of the river from the terrace in the summer, this is a pub for all seasons. The kitchen is open daily serving all the classics you’d expect and if you’re in Henley on a Wednesday evening, be sure to book a table for the ever-popular quiz.

A of Clubs

Leander Club

A of Clubs

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One of the oldest and most prestigious rowing clubs in the world, you’ll need to be a member or find yourself one to sign you in. There are rooms for those who want to stay the night and you don't need to be a member either. Steve Redgrave, the Olympic rower, often frequents here.

Their pink hippo logo has been around since the 1800s and it’s not because you’ll find these large mammals in the River Thames! It’s from the hippo being described as king of the river in Africa, which is exactly what the Leander Club is.

2 of Clubs

Henley Swim

2 of Clubs

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Hosting four different open water swims in the River Thames, there's an event to suit all abilities.

The Club to Pub (hence the 2 of clubs!) 1.5km swim is perfect for those new to open water swimming, starting at Henley Rowing Club and finishing at the Angel On The Bridge so you're guaranteed a pint at the end.

For those more experienced swimmers, take on the challenge of the Thames Marathon: a 13km swim starting at Henley Bridge (five of diamonds) and finishing at Marlow Bridge, this isn't for the faint-hearted.

You can even get up early and swim the world-famous Regatta Course a couple of days before Henley Royal Regatta takes place.

There's also an annual swim festival too which takes place down at Temple Island and all ages and abilities are welcome.

3 of Clubs

Honeys Of Henley

3 of Clubs

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Nigel and Jo are the husband and wife team behind this amazing honey which you’re sure to see jars of being sold around the town including local markets and food fairs. They’re always found at the Henley Farmers' Market too in Market Place

They have over 140 hives in and around Henley including Wargrave, Medmenham, Rotherfield and even at the Oaken Grove Vineyard in Fawley. Their very happy bees means there’s always plenty of honey for all to enjoy.

4 of Clubs

Four Oaks Caravan & Motorhome Club

4 of Clubs

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The team will make you feel right at home here. Specialising in touring caravans and motorhomes The Caravan & Motorhome Club have been welcoming members to explore Henley on Thames and the local area since 1984.

The site is only a short walk to the town centre and the facilities include a children's playground and dogs are also welcome.

BBQs are permitted so grab yourself some local bangers from Gabriel Machin and enjoy a game of cards whilst your dinner cooks.

5 of Clubs

River & Rowing Museum

5 of Clubs

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This wonderful museum celebrates the history of rowing and life on the River Thames.

On the playing card, the eagle-eyed of you will spot Mr Toad rowing the boat and this is no accident for it is he who is the official mascot of the River & Rowing Museum. There's a splendid exhibition dedicated to Wind in the Willows too.

It's a great place for children of all ages and is located at the far end of Mill Meadows with a café that's perfect for a pitstop.

The late Queen Elizabeth II was back 12 years later after officially opening Regatta HQ to open the museum in 1998.

There's always new exhibitions popping up on a temporary basis too so keep an eye on their website.

6 of Clubs

Laurence Menswear

6 of Clubs

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The go-to shop for men’s clothing specialising in flamboyantly stylish shirts as well as all others types of clothing for the well-dressed gentleman about town.

Laurence is a retail institution of Henley and opened his doors on Duke Street in December 2011. Pop in if you’re need of a wardrobe update or forgotten an important item of clothing for your stay in Henley. A warm welcome is always guaranteed.

7 of Clubs

Johnny HoT Stuff

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Johnpaul is the creator of these fine fiery sauces up at his kitchen unit at Oaken Grove Vineyard.

These award-winning tongue-tingling sauces, jams and condiments are all made using chillies JP has grown from seed.

Keep and eye out for them as there are plenty of local retailers that stock the range and JP can often be found at many of the local farmers' markets including the one in Henley on the last Sunday of the month in Market Place and they really are truly delightful.

8 of Clubs

Hobbs of Henley

8 of Clubs

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Hobbs of Henley aren't quite as old as Henley Royal Regatta but they certainly have a presence on the river.

Take a trip on the grand New Orleans (featured on the playing card) and marvel at how the chimney has to dip to make it under Henley Bridge on a guided river cruise.

You hire your own smaller motor boat if you want to be in control of your own destiny or even hire a rowing boat if you fancy the workout.

There are plenty of boats to choose from and larger boats have musical entertainment like jazz afternoons that come highly recommended.

The award-winning Mr Hobbs' 150 gin is also available to buy on the larger boats with bars. It comes highly recommended to enjoy with tonic and a squeeze of lime and fresh ginger. Perfect for an afternoon watching the world go by.

9 of Clubs

Henley Tennis Club

9 of Clubs

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Bordered by trees, it's a delightful setting for a game or two on the five recently refurbished courts.

Visitors are welcome with events that everyone can attend on 6pm Tuesdays and Thursdays from Easter until October and a Sunday session at 10.30am.

Courts can be booked by everyone too and you can improve your serve with lessons too so you'll have more aces than just the ones in this deck!

10 of Clubs

Brakspear Ale Trail

10 of Clubs

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The 10 of clubs involves 10 pubs. The rite of passage to say you've been to Henley is taking on the challenge of the Ale Trail. Visit the 10 Brakspear pubs in the town and enjoy a drink in each one (ideally a pint of Brakspear ale for the full experience) and be rewarded for your efforts with an official Ale Trailers t-shirt.

New for 2023, download the free Brakspear app and tick off the pubs as you go. Take your time though, the t-shirt changes each year so you have plenty of time to do it. Once completed, your t-shirt will be posted to you so that's something to look forward to.

In June 2019, Ed Sheeran was spotted in a couple of the pubs and did confess he was partaking in this popular Henley tradition and yes, he did get his t-shirt!

J of Clubs

Henley Adventure Golf

J of Clubs

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A new addition to the list of things to do in Henley having opened in Spring 2022. A popular choice for all ages and always a giggle.

It's down next to Mill Meadows (Jack of spades) by the river and features loads of local landmarks. It's a perfect pastime for a dry afternoon.

 

Q of Clubs

Living Advent Calendar

Q of Clubs

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If you’re in Henley in December then this is an absolute must. At 6.15pm sharp from the 1st to the 24th, a different performance takes place each night and the only thing you know is the venue it’s being held at.

Raffle tickets are sold at each event to raise money for local charities and there’s often a chance for a quick drink and a snack on offer too. This card is sponsored by THP Solicitors with offices in Bell Street and Duke Street, who are big supporters of this annual event.

K of Clubs

Badgemore Park

K of Clubs

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It seems only right that the king of clubs is Badgemore Park. The 18-hole golf course celebrated it's 50th anniversary in 2022 so it's a well-established part of Henley life and visitors are welcome to pay and play.

There's also a gym that hosts over 150 classes a month and the clubhouse is open to all from 7.30am every day. Badgemore Park has its own community up there with a hairdresser and chiropodist to name a few so it's much more than a golf course. You can even stay the night in one of eight 4-star rooms on a bed and breakfast basis.

Joker of

Dusty Springfield

Joker of

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Wild cards felt more appropriate for Henley than jokers and former resident Dusty Springfield fits the bill perfectly. Sadly no longer with us but you can visit the grave of this music legend at St Mary's Church where some of her ashes are buried.

St Mary's dominates the town's skyline and you'll see it as you come over Henley Bridge on the left. It's a very quiet space to visit. As you enter the graveyard from Hart Street a sudden hush descends making it an incredibly peaceful place even though it's in the very heart of the town.

Joker of

Jimmy

Joker of

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Now this is a story learned once the cards were underway and it's such a hidden gem it truly deserves to be a wild card. Like the other wild card featuring Dusty Springfield, it's another grave to visit.

Wee Jimmy was a marmoset belonging to Miss Jekell back in the 1930s, a former nurse residing in New Street who would wear him around her neck like a fur stole and always dressed in black.

There's a small gravestone on the Fairmile (just before you reach the Fairmile Vineyard) dedicated to Jimmy that reads: “Jimmy — a tiny marmoset August 16, 1937. There isn’t enough darkness in the world to quench the light of one small candle.” The sentiment of this is just too darn good not to be included in the pack. 

As you face the grave, look to the right of the tree behind it and there's a public footpath. Download the free Brakspear app for a 6.5-mile circular walk that takes you up and around to enjoy Henley's wonderful countryside. It's around 3.5 hours so leave yourself plenty of time.

Joker of

Henley on Thames

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The shining star of the pack. The image that holds it all together and features on the back of every card.

Available to order as a super-sized print in its own right too. Just email emma@acehenley.co.uk for more info.

Explore Henley on Thames