Down a quiet lane, through the idyllic Buckinghamshire countryside, on the banks of The Thames, in large private grounds, wearing stained glass and looking all baronial, sits Riverside Retreat. Sleeping 21 in seven bedrooms, this is what grand living in the English Home Counties looks like.
You’ve 127 feet of water frontage here, where the willows weep into the Thames and river craft glide by with a cheery wave from the skipper. Love the water? There’s an outdoor pool here for peak season. Stay outside, towel off, wrap up and get the firepit going as the river rolls slowly past.
Riverside Retreat is oh-so-posh, baronially posh, and yet it has a wonderfully lived-in feel, like all the best-loved family homes. Cook on the double oven and seat 12 around the hunky dining table. Sleep in seven spacious bedrooms to the soothing sound of the river, wake as late as you like and take breakfast with the ducks.
Gardens and grounds are the showstopper here. Castled boathouse, anyone? With 127 feet of Thames frontage, you’ll join the willows with a front-row seat on the rolling river and the ever-changing cast of characters who glide cheerily past on their river craft. Give them a wave as you skewer your shish kebabs and pop open the prosecco.
And if water’s your thing, dive into the outdoor pool during the summer months. Towel off and get the kids burning more energy on the trampoline. Stay out for the evening with blankets and drinks and toast your marshmallows around the firepit.
Modernised and yet retaining its original features is a frequent claim. But at Riverside Retreat, the features simply keep on coming. Stained-glass windows, oak panelling, original Edwardian fireplaces, nymphs on the ceiling and a baronial entrance hall with tapestry panels are just the start.
This is a family home, and it feels like it. It’s got impeccable manners but can belly-laugh along with the best. It all begins in the grand hall. You’ll feel like a Lord or Lady of the Manor as you drop your bags among the intricate wood carvings, stained glass, welcoming fireplace, rocking horse and piano.
But we suspect you’ll spend most of your indoor time in the living room catching Netflix shows on the flatscreen TV with the ceiling nymphs. Don’t forget your password. Tap into the superfast Wi-Fi. Stay up until late o’clock with board games and charades. Slink off to the snug when it all gets too much.
Cook on the double oven ably assisted by the double induction hob, microwave, and large fridge/freezer with water and ice dispenser. Deposit the dirties in the dishwasher when you’re done. Or simply sit out in the sunshine with the ducks and the boats and call in the pros for anything from a banquet to a buffet from the contemporary kitchen.
Eat around the dining table that comfortably seats a dozen or eat al-fresco next to the weeping willows and the water that rumbles cheerfully past with steaks and salad from the coal barbie. Stock up with meat from Henley-on-Thames farmers’ market.
Tackle lazy takeaways. Eat out at The Stag and Huntsman where cask ales, ciders and fine wines accompany the likes of ham hock and shallot terrine or oak smoked scottish salmon.
Head to The Hand and Flowers for slow cooked creedy carver duck breast, loin of cotswold venison or deep fried whiting with the hand & flowers chips.
Wherever you sleep here, you’ll be lulled into the Land of Nod by the gentle lapping of the Thames against the riverbank. Choose from seven bedrooms sleeping 21 guests and refresh in four full bathrooms.
On the first floor, the master bedroom sleeps four in two double beds, while bedroom one is a double, bedroom two a superking and bedroom three another double.
On the second floor, bedroom four offers a single and double and comes with an en-suite and river views, while bedroom five provides a single and double. Finally, there’s family flexibility in river-facing bedroom six, with its kingsize, two singles and cot.
Unless you have 127 feet of Thames river frontage and an outdoor pool, the outside space here will be an exciting surprise for your kids. They’ll be entertained by the ducks and wave cheerily at the passing craft with their ever-changing cast of itinerants. This is no ordinary holiday.
With space for 21, there’s room for all the generations here, so kids will feel right at home. In the summer months, the pool’s a delightful diversion and the garden, with its weeping willows, lawn and trampoline will eat up the hours. Stay out there for family barbies and bag a blanket for evenings around the firepit.
Inside, there’s plenty more entertainment. In a house with 17 rooms, hide-and-seek becomes an epic quest. Let it unfurl, while you uncork another prosecco and wiggle your toes in front of the fire. They’ll join your for Netflix (don’t forget your password), board games and cards later. Or maybe even a tinkle on the piano.