All About Marlow, Buckinghamshire

All About Marlow, Buckinghamshire

A beautiful town on the River Thames, Marlow’s network of riverside paths and polished Georgian streets have long been traced by admirers. In fact, some of the most famous authors in British history have fallen in love with its charm and picture-perfect aesthetics, including Thomas Love Peacock, Jerome K. Jerome, T.S. Eliot, and Mary Shelley – who actually penned her gothic masterpiece Frankenstein here.

These days, Marlow is recognised as one of the prettiest places in Buckinghamshire and continues to turn heads with its gorgeous listed buildings, historic monuments, manicured parks and waterfront hubs. Home to a huge array of attractions – not to mention Michelin-star eateries – it’s the perfect place to idle away the hours exploring. It’s also only a stone’s throw from London and many Home Counties highlights too, truly offering something for everyone.

From watching British Olympic rowers gliding along the river to attending internationally-renowned events to visiting gorgeous country parks, here’s our complete guide to Marlow.

Places to Eat

The Hand and Flowers - Two Michelin Stars

The quaint white-washed exterior of The Hand and Flowers in Marlow

Chef Tom Kerridge’s flagship restaurant, The Hand and Flowers on West Street in Marlow is the only pub in the UK to boast the title of two Michelin stars. Offering the highest quality dining in a relaxed setting, its authentic pub atmosphere and charming exposed beams are a winsome façade for the level of talent being executed in the kitchen. Head to the bar for a pint of real ale, secure a table for lunch or dinner, or book ‘the Shed’ dining room for a private party and enjoy this world-class establishment in all its glory.

The Coach - Michelin Star

A close up of a beautiful dish served at The Coach in Marlow

Situated on West Street, The Coach enjoys a wonderful location in the heart of the Georgian market town of Marlow. Sister to The Hand and Flowers, this Michelin-star pub is run by Tom Kerridge and boasts laidback vibes, unpretentious-yet-irresistible food and a thoroughly warm welcome. While there is plenty on the menu to please the taste buds, the open-plan layout of The Coach vies for the attention of the eye and allows diners to watch the expert chefs at work – and maybe learn a trick or two.

The Butcher’s Tap

Three burgers on a wooden block at The Butcher's Tap and Grill

Another of Tom Kerridge’s master eateries,The Butcher’s Tap on Spittal Street is a Michelin-recommended pub known for its speciality meats and grills. Adding a novel twist to mealtimes, The Butcher’s Tap team invites you to select your meat from the bar counter and sit back as it’s cooked to perfection, ready to be served to you with mouth-watering sauces and sides. Be it a burger, steak, lamb chop or more, you can pick your favourite cut to order (they’ll even weigh it for you) and look forward to foodie heaven.

The Oarsman

A plate of beef, Yorkshire pudding and gravy at The Oarsman in Marlow

A contemporary pub and wine bar in the heart of Marlow, The Oarsman is hailed as one of the best gastropubs in the country. Serving delectable bistro-style food, charcuterie, and small plates intricately crafted for perfect mouthfuls of flavour, The Oarsmen’s menus are hard to resist. Menus are updated daily, and each dish is a product of the finest seasonal ingredients available, procured from local suppliers wherever possible. Rounding off the experience? An extensive list of fine and rare wines.


A close up of a beautifully presented dish at Sindhu in Marlow

A fantastic riverside restaurant in Marlow, Sindhu (named after one of the longest rivers in the world) serves up incredible South Indian recipes on the banks of the River Thames. If you’ve never dined here before, then you can expect traditional dishes infused with Sindhu’s modern take for completely unique and masterfully flavourful creations. Thanks to the deft hand of two-time Michelin Chef Atul Kochhar, both the à la carte and tasting menus are truly things to relish here.

Ivy Café Restaurant

A beautifully decorated window table at The Ivy overlooking the garden

Among the many gems which line the streets of Marlow’s town centre you’ll find Ivy Café Restaurant. A stylish venue home to a light-filled restaurant, bar and terrace, this locals’ favourite is a real hit for its seasonal British fare, including breakfasts, brunches, lunches and afternoon teas. Choose from regularly-refreshed set menus and daily specials and select from a range of mouth-watering offerings to satiate your appetite and fuel your soul.

Stubbings Garden Tearooms, Maidenhead

A piece of cake and a coffee at Stubbings Garden Tearooms near Marlow

A verdant haven for garden-lovers and green-fingered botanists, Stubbings Garden Tearooms in the neighbouring town of Maidenhead offers a little slice of tranquillity in which to enjoy a moment of foodie indulgence. Home to a pretty tearoom overlooking an attractive eighteenth century, Grade II listed walled garden, it affords year-round dining just a few miles from Marlow – be it alfresco on the dog-friendly deck or inside in the glass conservatory. Known for its delightful breakfasts, lunches and cream teas, you’re sure to find just the dish to hit the spot. Oh, it’s licensed, too!

Fat Duck, Bray - Three Michelin Stars

A joint of lamb with mint sauce at Fat Duck

Enjoying the extremely rare privilege of being home to two three-Michelin-star restaurants, Bray in Buckinghamshire (around nine miles from Marlow) should be at the top of everyone’s culinary agenda. Here, the multiple-award-winning Fat Duck by Heston Blumenthal offers not just an exploration of taste but an exploration of memories and emotions too. Serving masterful dishes with original flair, you can expect a journey punctuated with discovery and elevated by curiosity. As Heston puts it, “a feast for the senses”. Book tickets and look forward to this unique experience.

The Waterside Inn, Bray - Three Michelin Stars

The traditional exterior of The Waterside Inn next to the river

Boasting an enviable three Michelin stars, it’s fair to say that the talented team at The Waterside Inn in Bray know a thing or two about flavour. Offering the kind of food that will transform your culinary expectations forever, this exceptional restaurant on the banks of the Thames is recognised as a bastion of gastronomical excellence. Secure yourself a table to avoid disappointment and look forward to this restaurant’s exquisite French cuisine, luxurious setting and first-class service.


Marlow Bridge

Looking down the River Thames at the Marlow Bridge

The modern-day Marlow Bridge joins the counties of Buckinghamshire and Berkshire, connecting the same two points that have been bridged since at least the fourteenth century. Spanning the width of the River Thames, this eye-catching, Grade I listed bridge was built in the 1800s by English engineer William Tierney Clark and is a must-see in Marlow. Interestingly, after he built Marlow bridge, Tierney then went on to replicate its design in the form of the Danube’s Széchenyi Chain Bridge in Budapest, Hungary.

Higginson Park

Russet coloured trees at Higginson Park in Marlow

If you like taking gentle walks in the sunshine and savouring picnics à ciel ouvert, then you should head to Marlow’s Higginson Park. A 23-acre park nestled between the high street and beautiful open countryside, this Green Flag award-winning idyll is a lovely spot for relaxed mornings and leisurely afternoons. You can also often see the famous Oxford and Cambridge University rowing teams practising along the river from here, as well as the world-renowned Marlow Rowing Club.

All Saints Church

The beautiful golden-hued All Saints Church in Marlow

Perched on the edge of the river not far from Marlow Bridge, the striking All Saints Church is one of the town’s most iconic sights. Despite its historic aesthetic, this church occupies a fairly recent chapter in Marlow’s history, having been constructed in the Victorian times (though there was a church here as early as 1070). Hard to miss, the church’s graceful spire soars 170ft above the town.

Marlow Museum

Marlow Museum is a free-to-enter, family-friendly attraction in Marlow that’s great for all generations. Providing an interesting and informative array of displays and exhibits, it offers a fascinating glimpse into the town’s history and the surrounding areas too. As well as permanent exhibitions, the museum also hosts temporary shows, so it is worth checking back if you haven’t been for a while.

Cliveden, Taplow

Looking out over the perfectly manicured gardens at Cliveden in Marlow

The National Trust-run Cliveden on the border of Buckinghamshire and Berkshire (seven and a half miles from Marlow) is the setting of a palatial seventeenth century country house and 376 acres of Grade I listed formal gardens and woodland. Be it for wonderful riverside walks, garden strolls, guided house tours, or a luxurious massage in the onsite spa, a trip to Cliveden House has something for everyone. If you arrive at Christmas, you can also visit their annual Christmas festival too.

Flowerland, Iver

A selection of lovely soft furnishings and home décor at Flowerland in Marlow

Should the promise of a spot of retail therapy take your fancy, then a trip to Flowerland in Iver, Buckinghamshire, may well be in order. Here, you’ll find an exceptional selection of elegant and tasteful shops selling everything from artisan breads and pastas to candles and soaps and more. Around a half an hour drive from Marlow, Flowerland also has an outstanding garden centre with an idyllic indoor-outdoor restaurant, perfect for refuelling and rewarding your efforts.

Things to Do

Folium Gin

The spacious distilling room where you can create your own gin with Folium Gin

The Folium Botanical Bar & Gin School is set within the grounds of the Harleyford Estate near Marlow. One of the top activities in Marlow, it promises a range of fun things to do for grown-ups, including gin tasting, cocktail making and the opportunity to create (and take home) your very own bottle of gin. Offering the complete package, Folium is also home to a great bar and shop where you can sample and peruse all of your favourite tipples from their shelves.

Marlow Common

Just a short distance from Marlow’s lovely high street, pedestrianised courtyards, and shops and boutiques is the sweeping Marlow Common. A product of the last Ice Age, this large nature reserve is well-known for its rare heathland habitats that provide an important sanctuary for a wide array of wildlife – from towering hundred-year-old oaks to tiny Green Tortrix moths. For the best way to see the reserve, pick up the five-and-a-half-mile Matrix Common trail.

Marlow Lock

Looking across the footbridge at Marlow Lock

A lock and weir has been recorded in Marlow since the Domesday Book. Today, the architecture around the present twentieth century lock is a tale of a new and old, with the beautiful buildings around the water showcasing both gorgeous Georgian and contemporary designs. While once the lock may have been a ring for squabbling millers and navigators gunning for control, today the lock is a pleasant place to simply watch the activity of boats and leisurely while away the time.

Westhorpe Lake

Looking out over the pontoon and morning waters at Westhorpe Lake

There are all sorts of brilliant things to do in Buckinghamshire, but one of the best things for water-babies has to be a trip to nearby Westhorpe Lake. Managed by the family-run Westhorpe Watersports and often frequented by Marlow Open Water Swimming Club, this glassy lake is popular with everyone from cold-water swimmers to paddleboarders to jet-skiers. If you want to have a go at boating on the lake but need to refresh your skills, Bisham Abbey Sailing and Navigation School is located nearby too.

Thames Path

Looking down the River Thames in Marlow towards the All Saints Church in the background

No trip to Buckinghamshire would be complete without a gentle stroll along the River Thames – and with 185 miles of Thames Path to navigate, you’ll be spoilt for choice. The stretch of river around Marlow, Middle Thames, is particularly thrilling if you can catch sight of the local premier rowing club practising on the water. One of Britain’s top teams, Marlow Rowing Club has produced many world-class rowers over the years, including the five-times Olympic gold medallist Sir Steve Redgrave.

Chiltern Hills National Landscape

A bird's eye view of the rolling countryside across Chiltern Hills AONB

Calling to fans of the Great Outdoors, Marlow is within a stone’s throw of the Chiltern Hills and is an ideal base for walking and adventuring – especially with four-legged friends. Whether you’ve been before or are experiencing the beauty of this 660-square-mile Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty for the first time, you are in for a treat. Decorated with chalk hills and ancient woodland, it offers jaw-dropping scenery at every turn and provides the most stunning escape for photographers, walkers and nature-lovers alike.


Windsor Record Fair, Windsor

Monthly 2024

Fourteen miles from Marlow, Windsor Record Fair is a monthly vinyl and record fair in Windsor, usually held on the second Sunday of every month from February. If you are a music fan, head over to Woody’s Café in Clewer Memorial Park in Windsor and let the good times and great tunes sweep you away.

Pub in the Park, Marlow

16th - 19th May 2024

One of the many colourful tents at Pub in the Park

Marlow boasts a busy social calendar throughout the year that is peppered with an eclectic array of festivals and events. One of the highlights has to be Tom Kerridge’s Pub in the Park, a music and food festival located in Higginson Park. Head over for feasting and partying in the heart of Marlow.

Marlow Town Regatta

15th - 16th June 2024

People cheering as a team rows down the Thames at Marlow Town Regatta

Marlow Town Regatta and Festival is one of Marlow’s most widely anticipated events. An annual event, it combines a traditional rowing regatta and garden party-style celebration on the Saturday, with a Sunday of family-friendly music, entertainment and dragon boat racing. What’s not to love?

Henley Royal Regatta, Henley-on-Thames

27th June - 2nd July 2024

Teams rowing down the Thames during Henley Royal Regatta

Henley Royal Regatta is the most famous regatta in the world and a real highlight of both the UK’s summer sporting and social calendar. Spread over a week of events, this regatta draws visitors from across the globe, hosting over three hundred rowing races of international class. Best of all, Henley is only eight miles from Marlow.

The Windsor Food Festival, Datchet

29th - 30th June 2024

Beyond the town of Marlow, the Windsor Food Festival is hosted at Windsor View Lakes in Datchet, Slough. A fun-filled food and drink festival, it features food demonstrations from professional chefs, lots of live music and a wealth of food stalls serving up local and international cuisine from all over the world.

Marlow Rock Bottom Festival

29th June 2024

Marlow Rock Bottom Festival is a day-long event revolving around an open-air music concert. Taking place in Marlow Bottom Playing Fields, this local, multi-generational celebration beckons with a fun schedule of live music and performances that’ll entertain all ages of musos.

Henley Festival, Henley-on-Thames

10th - 14th July 2024

Giant light bulb lettering spelling Henley Festival

An “exclusive boutique black-tie festival”, Henley Festival takes place across five days in July each year and showcases some of the best bands and artists from the UK and beyond. A truly exciting event, its eclectic programme embraces all music genres, from pop to world to classical and more.

Marlow Swan Upping

TBC July 2024

A group of cygnets in the water

A historic local tradition, Marlow’s Swan Upping sees the year’s new cygnets tagged by the Queen's Swan Marker. Providing an intriguing sight for walkers and rowers along the River Thames, the scarlet-uniformed Royal Swan Uppers row in traditional skiffs and document baby swans as they go.

Rewind South Festival, Henley-on-Thames

16th - 18th August 2024

A bird's eye view of the huge crowd and massive stage at the Rewind South Festival

More than just a music festival, Rewind South Festival is a whole weekend event full to the brim with things to see and do. From the festival’s live music to fairground rides, to its Kidzone to grown-ups-only bars, there’s something for all generations to look forward to here.

Marlow Christmas Festival

21st November 2024

Each winter, Marlow invites locals and visitors alike to get into the Christmas spirit with all kinds of family-friendly Christmas events and activities. Just some of these include the town’s annual Christmas lights switch-on, late night shopping and a Santa Fun Run.

Nearby Attractions

Bourne End Marina, Wooburn Green

A bird's eye view of boats in the water at Bourne End Marina near Marlow

For a really novel way to explore Buckinghamshire by water, you can take guided boat tours and cruises from Bourne End Marina in Wooburn Green - around five miles from Marlow. Choose from trips including vintage steamboat rides on the Alaska or skippered trips on river barges with Magpies and Butterflies and soak up the sights as you enjoy the scenery around Marlow, Cliveden, Boulters, Bray, Henley and more. There are even boat trips from the marina to Windsor Castle from May to September each year.

Bicester Village, Bicester

People shopping along one of the pretty streets at Bicester Village

One of the best shopping destinations in the UK, Bicester Village is a designer outlet shopping village on the outer reaches of Bicester town in Oxfordshire – not far from the characterful village of Brill. Just across the Chiltern Hills National Landscape from Marlow, this is definitely the best place to go for care-free hours of retail therapy, making the most of the huge array of designer boutiques awaiting with luxury fashion.

Theatre Royal Windsor, Windsor

Set behind the castle in the regal town of Windsor, the Theatre Royal Windsor has been delighting and entertaining audiences for over two hundred years. Today, it continues to deliver a varied programme of events, wowing all generations through live drama, comedy, musicals, opera and more. Keep an eye on its schedule of events and book yourself a show for an unforgettable experience.

Windsor Castle, Windsor

One of the reaching towers of Windsor Castle above the gardens

Most famously associated with the British Royal Family, Windsor Castle in Berkshire is sown with a thousand years of Royal history. The oldest and largest occupied castle in the world, it was founded by William the Conqueror in the eleventh century and has subsequently been the home of forty monarchs over the following centuries. Today, you can visit this Royal Castle and take in its impressive State apartments, ceremonial rooms, St George’s Chapel, moat room and more.

Windsor Great Park, Windsor

A herd of deer amidst the mist at Windsor Great Park

Nearly five thousand acres in size, Windsor Great Park on the border of Berkshire and Surrey is one of the largest Royal Parks in the country (twice the size of Richmond Park in London). With a history dating back more than a thousand years, this park is a living, breathing time-capsule, tangled with historic monuments, ancient forests and all kinds of beautiful flora and fauna. Explore its gardens, deer park, and grounds and absorb the beauty of Mother Nature in this verdant pocket of tranquillity. To get around in style, take an Ascot Carriage Rides around Windsor Great Park.

Central London

The incredible atrium at the National History Museum in London

Central London is easily accessible from Marlow, with many trains leaving from nearby Bourne End and Beaconsfield stations and arriving in the city within an hour. Of course, once there, you’ll find a year-round catalogue of amazing things to do in London that cover every interest and whim. Whether you’re looking for family outings, day trips with your dog, dining sensations at Michelin star restaurants or the chance to bask in the city’s history and culture, there’s something for you. There are even lots of gorgeous parks and gardens in London too, so if you want to swap its museums and markets for some beautiful green spaces and explore some of the lesser-known sides to the city, you’ll be spoilt for choice.

Can’t wait to explore the beautiful Marlow? Here are some of our luxury cottages in Buckinghamshire.

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