What’s it like to live in Henley-on-Thames?

May 30th, 2022

Henley-on-Thames was voted by The Times as one of the best places to live in the country

A market town idyllically situated on one of the most beautiful and famous stretches of river in the world combines the tranquillity of the surrounding Chiltern landscape with an active and thriving local community. 

The town has pretty much everything you can ask for, and it’s all wrapped in medieval streets and scenic waterside settings. Living in Henley on Thames means you can call this picture-perfect place your home while enjoying all that the town has to offer.

Where is Henley-on-Thames?

Henley-on-Thames is a town and civil parish on the River Thames in Oxfordshire, England, 9 miles (14 km) northeast of Reading, 7 miles (11 km) west of Maidenhead, 23 miles (37 km) southeast of Oxford and 37 miles (60 km) west of London (by road), near the tripoint of Oxfordshire, Berkshire and Buckinghamshire. The population at the 2011 Census was 11,619.

Henley-on-Thames is one of the most picturesque towns in Oxfordshire. Many attractive villages surround Henley-on-Thames, such as Nettlebed and Wargrave, which are very popular with families. There are also excellent schooling options available at all levels.

History of Henley-on-Thames

The first record of Henley is from 1179 when it is recorded that King Henry II “had bought land for the making of buildings”. King John granted the manor of Benson and the town and manor of Henley to Robert Harcourt in 1199. A church at Henley is first mentioned in 1204. In 1205 the town received a tax for street paving, and in 1234 the bridge is first mentioned. In 1278 Henley is described as a hamlet of Benson with a chapel. The street plan was probably established by the end of the 13th century.

Henry VIII incorporated Henley-on-Thames in 1568, granting it the titles ‘mayor’ and ‘burgess’. Henley was a key location during the English Civil War.  During the 17th and 18th centuries, Henley was well known for the manufacture of glass and the production of malt and the corn and wool trades.

This period of prosperity led to the construction in 1786 of the now-famous Henley Bridge. As these industries declined, it is likely that Henley-on-Thames receded into obscurity, becoming just another small English town until a proposal by Captain Edmund Gardiner on 26th March 1839 led to the establishment of an annual regatta.

 In 1851 Prince Albert became the first royal patron of the regatta. It became known as Henley Royal Regatta, pushing the small Oxfordshire town into the limelight and giving it a lasting place in history.


The town’s railway station is the terminus of the Henley Branch Line from Twyford. In the past, there have been direct services to London Paddington. There are express mainline rail services from Reading (6  miles or 10 km away) to Paddington. Trains from High Wycombe (12 miles or 20 km away) go to London Marylebone. The M4 motorway (junction 8/9) and the M40 motorway (junction 4) are both about 7 miles (12 km) away. 2 bus services run from Reading through to Wycombe via Henley. 

Living in Henley-on-Thames

One of the loveliest riverside towns in Oxfordshire, in recent years, Henley had become a sought after hub for families and urban exiles attracted to its art-house cinema, gazillions of home turf festivals and its impressive food scene.

Some people live in Henley on the Thames for its scenic riverside settings, some for the many pubs, eateries and cafés, and others live in Henley for its rowing history. Essentially, Oxfordshire town has a little bit of everything. However, those living in Henley on Thames get to enjoy the benefits all year round with a wealth of fun cultural and lifestyle amenities.

If you love water sports, it’s a great place to be. Every year the Henley Royal Regatta sees the town transformed into a global hub where visitors come from everywhere to watch the rowing, and there’s loads of celebrating.

For the rest of the year, you can take to the river yourself, joining a cruise or hiring your own powered or rowing boats.

A historic church and town hall sits at the heart of Henley, together with a bustling market square, many boutique shops and a wide variety of fine restaurants.  The Kenton Theatre is the fourth oldest performing theatre in the country. The town hosts the annual Henley Festival of Music and Arts, providing excellent opportunities for enjoyment, with top entertainers coming to perform on a floating stage.  Surrounded by a landscape of green fields and wooded hills, there are endless attractions to discover, plenty of golf courses and sports clubs, and well-maintained parks to relax in.

You’ll never stop eating here with a wide range of restaurants, pubs and cafes. Henley also has a decent mix of national staples and independent brands if you love shopping. Plenty of good hairdressers, and there’s no absence of beauty and aesthetic clinics for the well-heeled.

Henley-on-Thames, and the surrounding areas, are well-served by a good range of key primary and secondary, local authority and private schools. A good selection of private and state schools, easy access to the M4 and M40 motorways, and good commuter links to London has resulted in demand from those who see Henley and its surrounding villages as the first proper rural area west of London.

House Prices in Henley-On-Thames

The average price for property in Henley-on-Thames stood at £738,350 in May 2021. This is a rise of 1.38% in the last three months (since February 2021) and 8.99% since 12 months ago. In terms of property types, flats in Henley-on-Thames sold for an average of £497,631 and terraced houses for £767,340. 

During the last year, the majority of sales in Henley-On-Thames were terraced properties, selling for an average price of £605,898. Detached properties sold for an average of £1,006,072, with semi-detached properties fetching £710,699.


Russell Brand and Mary Berry are both locals.

Whether you’re looking for a country house on a prestigious estate, a town house or a charming cottage in one of the surrounding villages, I can help you to find your dream home one of the best places to live in the country!