One Georgian townhouse, three restaurants and six characterful rooms: Crockers puts Henley-on-Thames on the gastronomic map of Britain
Located a short 45-minute train ride from London, Henley-on-Thames is renowned for putting on the world-famous Henley Royal Regatta every July. Since August 2020 and the opening of Crockers Henely, however, the town has a new foodie appeal.
Crockers is a luxurious boutique hotel that offers not one, not two but three award-winning restaurants. Fine food comes first here, with six sensitively refurbished rooms providing the perfect accompaniment. After you’ve wined and dined to the max, you can roll into a four-poster and enjoy exploring the rest of this quaint English market town the next day.
Alongside Ember, Crockers’ a la carte restaurant, there are two Chef’s Tables, where you will be treated to the culinary experience of a lifetime. At Thames Table, 29-year-old Head Chef Alex Payne is your humble, helpful and extremely talented host. Within the intimate 16-seat restaurant, which offers a direct view of the team of chefs at work, guests are invited to quiz Alex about any element of his creative seven-course feast – or anything at all, in fact. As a result, the atmosphere is warm, friendly and electric, with each course announced after the anticipatory ring of a bell.
The banquet proceeds at a perfect pace, punctuated at regular intervals by delectable edible and quaffable delights; the option to choose a flight of paired wines is highly recommended. Sparkling wine sourced from a nearby vineyard in Stonor village, Hundred Hills, is a highlight of Crockers’ comprehensive and well-chosen wine list. Fortunately this is also provided as the complimentary welcome drink when checking into your room…
While Gardiner Table (coming soon) offers eclectic pan-Asian flavours, Thames Table showcases modern British food. From Porthilly Oysters matched with cucumber and elderflower to Packington Chicken, Cornish Line Caught Cod and Nutbourne Heritage Tomatoes, all of the ingredients used are both of the utmost quality and sourced sustainably within Britain.
Each and every mouthful, including the tasty extra appetisers and sweet treats served with tea and coffee at the close, is an explosion of texture and flavour. With the foodie heavyweight of Bray just over 10 miles east, the food scene at Henley-on-Thames has in recent years struggled to stand out… That’s all changed now.
READ MORE: A weekend in Bray
Above the restaurants, guests from further afar can stay in The Quarters. Each of the six rooms is stylishly furnished and adorned with those little touches that make a weekend away truly special: sumptuous Noble Isle toiletries and Crockers’-own premade cocktails stocking the minibar.
Roll top baths and Hypnos mattresses make full relaxation unavoidable and the attentive and bubbly staff will help you feel at home from the get go. This cosy haven in the very heart of Henley is hard to beat for location and luxury.
TAKE TO THE WATER
Step out of Crockers and you’ll find yourself on the bunting-strewn Market Square, the buzzing hub of this historic market town. The weekly Thursday Charter Market has been held here since the 13th century, but you’ll also find a Farmer’s Market on the 2nd Saturday and 4th Thursday of the month, and a Crafts Market on the 4th Sunday of the month.
Explore further and find pavements overflowing with cafe-goers or antiques and other curios. Captivating independent shops line the streets, many of which haven’t changed since Victorian times, plus Henley boasts four galleries, an independent cinema and vintage theatre, the country’s fourth oldest purpose-built working theatre.
Head to Henley Bridge to see where the fun really happens in Henley. While the regatta will arrive here in early July (28 June to 3 July 2022), rowing teams can be found training year-round, even on the most bitterly cold of winter mornings, when the surrounding Mill and March Meadows are silver with frost.
Boats of all kinds are moored along the sides of the Thames, the 1.5-mile stretch in Henley one of its only straight sections. Take a pleasure cruise or hire a boat yourself from local institution Hobbs of Henley to enjoy the bucolic scenery and boating tradition.
Ultimately, a trip to Henley is the best of both worlds: a destination balanced on the brink of both town and country, with a large helping of prestige and a sprinkle of modern class thanks to new-comer Crockers.
A ‘Dine and Stay’ break at Crockers Henley includes a one night stay in one of their elegant and newly refurbished Georgian bedrooms; dinner at one of their two Chef’s Tables; three-course breakfast; and two glasses of fizz on arrival. Prices from £450.