The River Thames starts as a small trickle in the Cotswolds and travels over 210 miles through the heart of some of England’s most picturesque towns, right into the centre of London and eventually, out into the North Sea. With plenty to see and do along the route we thought we’d take you on a virtual journey and perhaps stop off at a few interesting places along the way.
We start the journey at Henley on Thames which was recently voted by the Times as one of the best places to live in the English countryside. It’s also the home of Henley Royal Regatta which undoubtedly is the highlight of both the summer sporting and social calendar. The first event was held in 1839 and has been held annually ever since (except the two World Wars). It gained royal patronage in 1851 and it was originally staged as a public attraction with a fair. The emphasis rapidly changed so that competitive amateur rowing became its main purpose and over the years it has grown to its current form of five days which this year takes place on the 28th June – 2nd July.
Moving further down the river to Windsor you’ll find a beautiful and historic destination. Home to Windsor Castle, the largest and oldest inhabited castle in the world and the Queen’s favourite weekend home. Its newest experience is Bateaux Windsor – the only one of its kind in the area and the sister company to Bateaux London. This elegant dining cruise delivers delicious dishes to passengers and enables guests to see the sights whilst cruising down the river.
From one royal residence to another, next stop is Hampton Court which can be best described as the ‘story of two palaces’: a Tudor palace, established by Cardinal Wolsey and made even more magnificent by Henry VIII, alongside a baroque palace built by William III and Mary II. Today the palace is a successful visitor attraction as well as home to the world’s largest, annual flower show which takes place every July. The first RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show was held in 1990 and it now welcomes over 130,000 visitors every year with this year’s event due to take place on the 4th – 9th July.
Moving east to the Royal Hospital Chelsea which of course has been the home of our beloved Chelsea Pensioners for over 325 years. The Royal Hospital is a Grade I and II listed building which was left to the Chelsea Pensioners by Charles II and Sir Christopher Wren and continues to be home for over 300 army veterans. It’s also the home to RHS Chelsea Flower Show (23rd – 27th May 2017) which takes place every year in the grounds of the hospital. This high profile event inspires millions through showcasing the best in garden design. This year’s event sees the return of Jardin Blanc; the second year of Raymond Blanc’s special horticultural hospitality experience. Nestled in a peaceful corner of the show, Jardin Blanc offers a variety of unique options for day and evening entertainment with the finest food and fantastic flowers.
For further information about all of the above venues and events visit http://www.prestigevenuesandevents.sodexo.com/