This is England at its best - idyllic villages, beautiful countryside and quaint pubs, yet just a few miles from Henley and Marlow. Together with the Turville and Wormsley valleys, it links the River Thames at Mill End, close to the start of the Henley regatta course, with the Chilterns escarpment at Christmas Common and Ibstone. It includes the picturesque valley villages of Hambleden, Fingest, Skirmett and Turville. The valley is surrounded by the ancient hilltop settlements of Fawley, Southend, Turville Heath, Northend, Christmas Common, Ibstone, Lane End and Frieth. There are lots of well signed promoted routes passing through the Hambleden Valley including the long-distance Chiltern Way.
The valley and its surrounding hills are in the heart of the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. They are a haven for wildlife and flora, surrounded by beech woodlands and rolling chalk grassland, carpeted in flowers in the spring and summer. You can explore the area by foot via the Chilterns Country Thames and Chilterns walk from Henley, or during the summer you can take a boat down the Thames to Hambleden lock with Hobbs of Henley.
Hambleden Village is in the heart of the Valley. It has attractive brick and flint cottages, a medieval church and a thriving pub and shop. It is a popular starting point for exploring the Valley, with rooms at the Stag & Huntsman for those staying over. You can head up to the hills or walk alongside the sparkling Hambleden Brook. It has provided the location for numerous period film and TV productions including 'Midsomer Murders', 'Chitty Chitty Bang Bank' and '101 Dalmatians'.
St. Marys Church in the centre of Hambleden dates back to the 12th Century and has appeared in many film and TV shows. The church has 8 bells, one of which is believed to have first been rung in 1415 around the time of the victory at Agincourt. There are summer concerts at the church and cream teas served on Sundays and Bank Holiday Mondays.
Chiltern Valley Winery and Brewery. Award-winning wines, ales and liqueurs are produced here on the Chiltern slopes, high above the Hamble Valley. There are tastings, tours of the vineyard and brewery and a shop. You can stay here too, Old Luxters Farmhouse offers B&B with picturesque views over the vineyard, gardens and Hambleden Valley beyond.
Garsington Opera is an annual open air summer opera festival founded in 1989 by Leonard Ingrams. Since 2011 the festival is held in Wormsley Park, the home of the Getty family. Garsington Opera gives performances of great artistic quality in a setting of extraordinary natural beauty - performances take place in the Opera Pavilion which sits within the rolling beech woods of the Chiltern Hills. The Wormsley Estate is also the place to enjoy high-level cricket matches and has been described as the most beautiful cricket ground in England.
The Hambleden Valley has walks and rides galore. There are gentle walks along the River Hamble or more challenging walks through the steep wooded hills. The Chiltern Way is a long-distance route through the Chilterns AONB which passes through Hambleden. For a circular walk try the Thames & Chilterns Walk which links Hambleden with the River Thames, or the Hambleden & Medmenham Walk, a 5 mile stile-free circular walk passing thorugh beech woodlands and pretty villages.
Henley-on-Thames - 5 miles from Hambleden: The international home of rowing enjoys a scenic setting on a broad and beautiful stretch of the River Thames. Henley's Royal Regatta and Festival of Music and Arts are the flagships of a very stylish town, where an excellent mix of shops and restaurants, boating and riverside walks create an air of relaxed affluence.
Marlow - 5 miles from Hambleden: Edwardians came here by the boatload to enjoy the beauty of the River Thames against the backdrop of the Chiltern Hills. Now Marlow combines natural beauty with contemporary chic. Georgian buildings, a graceful suspension bridge and the picturesque lock and the weir set the scene for prosperous shops and some highly-acclaimed restaurants. The Thames Path National Trail adds another, energetic option.
Greys Court, National Trust – 7 miles from Hambleden: an intimate and picturesque 16th-century mansion, with homely living rooms. Tranquil gardens include a series of walled gardens and medieval ruins such as the Tudor donkey wheel used to draw water for the house.