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United Kingdom

river-cruises
In the words of poet William Blake, England is a green and pleasant land. Gently rolling hills, wildflower-strewn meadows, shaded woodlands and rivers meandering beneath stone-arched bridges are certainly the landscapes straight from the paintings of Constable and Turner. Yet, with its rich royal heritage, centuries-old traditions, the legacies of some of the world’s greatest inventors and architecture that is amongst the finest in Europe, England boasts a diversity to rival all of its European neighbours.
 
London grew up around the River Thames and its iconic landmarks, Westminster Abbey, St Paul’s Cathedral, Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament, Tower Bridge and the Tower of London, showcase both thousands of years of history and architectural brilliance. England has ancient castles scattered the length and breadth of the country. Some are crumbling ruins, whilst others stand as proud as when they were built as part of a medieval defence system. All have witnessed significant events in world history and each has a fascinating story to tell. Magnificent stately homes preside over rolling parklands. Predominately built between the mid-16th and early 20th century, they were the ultimate status symbol for England’s great families, who hosted kings, queens, prime ministers, actors, painters, poets and all manner of illustrious guests. 
 
In the heart of rural England half-timbered market towns, timeless villages with honey-stone cottages, country gardens and parish churches are as quintessentially English as both afternoon tea and the time-honoured, traditional pubs that are part of England’s long-celebrated heritage.
 

Things to know

  • The Thames is the longest river flowing entirely through England
  • Windsor Castle is the oldest royal residence in the world still being used by a royal family
  • English people consume more tea per capita than anybody else in the world
  • British tea specialist Twinings is a holder of the British Royal Warrant as the supplier of tea to the households of both Queen Elizabeth II and the Prince of Wales
  • The first Oxford and Cambridge University boat race took place in 1829 at Henley on Thames

Key Destinations

Mapeldurham
Mapeldurham

A charming, rural, Thames-side idyll, Mapeldurham stepped into the spotlight in Midsomer Murders, the Eagle has landed and even the Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines. Most of the village is a conservation area and much belongs to the Mapledurham Estate, which dates back to the Domesday Book. Today’s Mapledurham House is a splendid Elizabethan stately home. On the banks of the river, Mapledurham Mill is the only working watermill on the River Thames.
 
 Goring-on-Thames
Goring-on-Thames

Between the Chilterns and North Wessex Downs, the Goring Gap is widely acknowledged to be one of the most beautiful stretches of the River Thames. Here, with its riverside setting and views of the hills, Goring is an extremely attractive village linked to Streatley by a bridge next to Goring Lock and Weir. As well as providing inspiration to Three Men in a Boat and Wind in the Willows, Goring’s literary connections include Oscar Wilde who stayed at the Ferry House in 1893.
 
Henley-on-Thames
Henley-on-Thames

Surrounded by a Chiltern landscape of wooded hills and green fields, Henley-on-Thames is one of the most beautiful towns in England. Just a few strides from the Thames, Henley’s main street has many Georgian frontages covering older buildings and St Mary’s Church, the Town Hall, Market Place and elegant 18th century stone bridge have all been designated of ‘special architectural or historical interest’. 

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