Sonning, Wargrave and Henley on Thames
As predicted, the weather changed in the early hours of Thursday morning and we awoke to a much fresher feel to the air. At eight o’clock we were treated to a thunderstorm directly overhead with half an hour of heavy rain thrown in for good measure. It didn’t last and by nine o’clock we were able to untie and continue with our journey.
It was an enjoyable cruise and although the weather had changed somewhat, it was still sunny and warm with the temperature eventually settling in the mid twenties. We passed through between Reading and Caversham but there were very few boats on the move so we really only noticed a few around the locks.
We eventually tied up above Sonning lock and then took a walk into the village of Sonning which is mainly on the Berkshire side of the river. On the other side of the river is The Mill at Sonning which is a hotel / theatre / waterside bar and we had a little nosey around there too. There’s not much to the village but we did visit the local church and of course the village pub.
There is a tea room, well tea garden really, at Sonning lock so we stopped by and had some afternoon tea.
Sonning is home to the current Prime Minister, Theresa May but there are a number of other local celebrities to potentially bump into including George Clooney, Uri Geller and Jimmy Page – not that we saw any of them on our travels.
On Friday, we were up and on our way again by eight o’clock, this time aiming to visit Wargrave and Henley on Thames. Again, we saw very few boats on the move as we travelled along and since we were uncertain of gaining a mooring in Henley itself, we were happy when we saw a Caxton sized space on the Wargrave Lashford moorings. As I showered and got changed, Sue went off and investigated the surrounding area and when she returned, she had worked out the best way to get to Wargrave. We started our walk just after eleven and headed off towards the village. The first part of our journey was fine, an easy walk along a tarmac covered road, Willow Lane. Once on the main road however, we faced a narrow pavement overgrown with stinging nettles. Eventually we reached the village itself having successfully dodged both traffic and the stinging vegetation. There are shops and pubs in Wargrave but it is not a very big place to spend much time in so we carried on walking and found the church. We didn’t spend too much time there as the village flower show was on and exhibits filled the church itself.
Again we carried on further down the lane and got to the railway station where we waited for a train to Henley. The station has a single platform and the train just seems to shuttle back and forward between Henley and Twyford.
The train duly arrived and we made the eight minute trip to Henley on Thames. With the regatta due to start in a few days time, we were keen to see the river and how we would find our way through the area.
The river front was already transformed into a sporting venue but it all seemed clearly marked out so having seen that we should have very little to worry about, we stopped at the Angel on the Bridge and had some lunch.
The service was quick and the food was good, so suitably fortified we went off to explore the town centre and very good it was too with many small shops to take our interest. The local butcher, Gabriel Machin and Waitrose provided us with a top up to the larder and after all of that we caught a bus back to the end of the Willow Lane.
Like Sonning before it, Henley is also home to a number of celebrities. We are currently moored near the singer, Vince Hill’s house and a few hundred yards away from the home of the late Paul Daniels.