The Three Men in a Boat ended their epic journey at the Swan at Pangbourne. You can still arrive by boat, on foot along the Thames Path, or by trains which will drop you off close to the pub and weir. The countryside beckons, but take time to mooch round the village shops or perhaps picnic in riverside Pangbourne Meadows, managed by the National Trust. You might then cross the river to the village of Whitchurch-on-Thames for refreshment in the Greyhound or Ferryboat pubs.
What to see in Pangbourne and Whitchurch-on-Thames
The Toll Bridge – you can't miss seeing this bridge of wrought iron lattice work, which links the two villages. Stop on the bridge to look upstream to the lock and admire the views of the church, mill and cottages of Whitchurch, ranged on the far side of the millpond. The Toll Bridge is owned by a private company, with tolls for motorists collected on the Whitchurch side. Restoration work is scheduled for the bridge from October 2013, but a temporary bridge for pedestrians is part of the plan.
The Whitchurch Walk – download details of the walk to enjoy a thorough exploration of the village.
The Modern Artists' Gallery – is the place to track down fine art by professional and emerging talent.
In the countryside
Download details of the 6-mile Whitchurch-on-Thames Circular Walk, which leads through Chiltern beechwoods and Hartslock Nature Reserve, providing spectacular views over the Thames Valley. There are no stiles on this walk and only one short steep climb - which can be slippery when wet.
Into the Goring Gap on the Thames Path National Trail. Download the Whitchurch Circular Walk, as mentioned above. Instead of turning back after Hartslock Nature Reserve continue to follow the Thames Path, walking on through meadows into the Goring Gap to Goring & Streatley. You'll see some desirable residences on the latter section of this walk: the landmark white house perched on the far bank was part of The Grotto, built in the 18th century by Viscount Fane of Basildon Park as a riverside retreat for his wife Mary, a Maid of Honour to Queen Anne. Allow 2 hours to complete the 5 miles from Pangbourne – the Path is clearly signposted so you won't get lost. After refreshment, take the train back to Pangbourne from Goring & Streatley. The return journey takes 5 minutes. The Train Line has the details.
What to head for further afield
Goring – 5 miles from Pangbourne.
Wallingford – 10 miles from Pangbourne.
Mapledurham – 6 miles from Pangbourne. The mellow riverside house thought to have inspired E. H. Shepard's illustrations of Toad Hall. The house was completed in 1612 and it has since been handed down through various descendants to the Eyston family, whose home it is today. The Old Watermill, which dates back to the 15th century, is the only mill on the Thames that is still working and producing high quality stoneground flour.
Basildon Park – 2 miles from Pangbourne. Familiar to viewers of the BBC's popular adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, Basildon Park is the very model of a dignified Georgian mansion in expansive parkland. In the mid 1950s, the elegant interior was restored by owners Lord and Lady Iliffe who salvaged 18th century fixtures and fittings and filled the house with the fine paintings, fabrics and furniture seen there today.
Beale Park Wildlife Park and Gardens – 2 miles from Pangbourne. A great favourite with young visitors: adventure, animals, play and activities amongst gardens and lakes on the banks of the River Thames.