Henley in the Spotlight

Famous Henley residents currently include

  • Anthony Worrall ThompsonChef
  • Angie BestFitness professional and former wife of the late football legend, George Best (Bix)
  • Ben FogleBroadcaster, writer and adventurer. (Fawley)
  • Carol Deckerlead singer of 80s pop group, T’Pau
  • Chris HollinsTV Presenter and Strictly Come Dancing winner
  • Dame Mary BerryCook and Great British Bake Off legend
  • Debbie McGeeTV, radio and stage performer (Wargrave)
  • George Clooney – Actor and his wife Amal ClooneyHuman Rights Lawyer. (Sonning)
  • Graham BellOlympic Skier and presenter of Ski Sunday
  • Ian PaiceDeep Purple drummer
  • Joe Brown MBESinger and guitarist.
  • James CordenActor, Comedian and TV Host (Wargrave)
  • Joanna PageActor, best known as Stacey in Gavin and Stacey.
  • Orlando BloomActor
  • Simon WilliamsActor, best known as James Bellamy in TV series Upstairs and Downstairs
  • Theresa May – Previously Prime Minister (Sonning)
  • Tony HicksGuitarist and singer with The Hollies

Vince Hill (1934-2023), who had a hit in 1967 with Edelweiss, lived in Shiplake.

Jon Lord (1941-2012), musician in Deep Purple, lived in Henley.

Henley and the surrounding villages have been used in many televisions series and films. With proximity to London as well as film studios including Pinewood, Henley offers a quintessentially english landscape.

Films: The Woman in Black (2012), John Carter (2012), The Social Network (2010), What a Girl Wants (2003), Calendar Girls (2003), Possession (2002), The Saint (1997), True Blue (1996), Carrington (1995), Howards End (1992), Danny the Champion of the World (1989), The Living Daylights (1987), Three Men in a Boat (1956), A Yank in Ermine (1955)

TV: Midsomer Murders, Poirot, Marple, Good Omens, Killing Eve, Parade’s End, Daniel Deronda, The Hitchhicker’s Guide to the Galaxy, The Beatles Anthology, Jekyll, Fanny Hill, Oliver Twist.

Hambleden Village can be seen in films including Into the Woods (2014), Nanny McPhee (2010), A Bunch of Amateurs (2008), Band of Brothers (2001), Sleepy Hollow (1999), The Avengers (1998), 101 Dalmatians (1996), Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968) (plus the famous windmill in Turville), Death on the Nile (1978) and TV including Endeavour: Zenana/Girl, Midsomer Murders: Blood will out/Down among the dead/Stranglers Wood/Who killed Cock Robin/The Glitch/Wild Harvest/A Dying Art/Death of the small coppers, Poirot: Evil under the sun/Sad Cyprus/Mrs McGinty’s Dead/The Animal Within/Blood Wedding, Marple: Murder at the Vicarage/The Blue Geranium, As Time Goes By (1992-2005), Cranford (2007-2009), Rosemary and Thyme: The Memory of Water, Good Omens: In the Beginning/Saturday morning funtime/Hard Times/The Doomsday Option/The Very last day of the rest of their lives

Stonor Park has been seen in films including A Christmas Carol (2019), The Living Daylights (1987), Danny, the Champion of the World (1987), The Pumaman (1980) and TV including Endeavour, Antiques Roadshow. the final episode of One Foot in the Grave

Gerry Anderson (1929-2021), creator of Thunderbirds, lived in Nuffield.

Rodney Bewes (1937 – 2017), TV actor known for The Likely Lads, previously lived in the town centre.

Paul Daniels (1938-2016), magician and TV presenter, lived in Wargrave until his death. His wife, Debbie McGee, still lives at their riverside property.

George Cole (1925-2015), famous for playing Arthur Daley in long running TV series Minder, lived in Stoke Row.

David Vine (1935-2009), presenter of A Question of Sport and Ski Sunday, lived in Nuffield.

Grace Kelly, later Princess Grace of Monaco, visited The Red Lion (Now the Relais) in 1947 when her brother Jack was competing in the Diamond Sculls at the Henley Royal Regatta – he won! A room at the hotel is named in her honour.

Interested in using Henley as a filming location? Please contact enquiries@henleytowncouncil.gov.uk

The first University Boat Race was held at Henley on 10th June 1829, and the first Royal Regatta followed, founded in 1839.

Leander Club is the most historic, prestigious and successful rowing club in the world – Leander rowers have won 138 Olympic and Paralympic medals since 1908.

Clive Woodward, England’s future World Cup Rugby winning manager, became the 1st XV coach at Henley Rugby Club in 1990

Wilfred Owen (1893 – 1918), poet and soldier, lived in nearby Dunsden between 1911-1913. A stunning stained glass window was added to the All Saints Church in Dunsden and there is Trail that can be followed in the village.

Lady McAlpine, widow of Sir William McAlpine, owns Fawley Hill estate on the outskirts of Henley. Once described by Country Life magazine as ‘the most bonkers estate in Britain’, it is home to a restored Victorian railway station, the steepest standard gauge railway track in the world, a railway museum and over 20 animal species.
Fawley Hill hosts regular steam rallies and events.

Sir Frank Crisp (1843 – 1919), Lawyer and Microscopist, bought Friar Park in Henley in 1889 and, as a keen horticulturist, developed the gardens including an alpine garden featuring a 20-foot replica of the Matterhorn mountain. George Harrison bought the property in 1970 and “The Ballad of Sir Frankie Crisp” was dedicated to the former resident.

Mary Blandy, a previous Henley resident and now Henley’s own ghost, who is said to haunt the Kenton Theatre and St Mary’s Churchyard. She was hanged for poisoning her father in 1752. Ghost hunters regularly search for her and there has even been a theatrical production based on the book “Mary Blandy – A Retrial“, where the audience decide whether she should have been hanged or not.

The Henley Shirt was named after Henley-on-Thames because the style was the traditional uniform of rowers in Henley. It is a collarless shirt with a rounded neckline and placket with 2-5 buttons and is now a wardrobe staple thanks to designer Ralph Lauren.

King Charles I is reported to have visited the Red Lion (now the Relais) in 1632 and again in 1642 accompanied by Price Rupert, during the Civil War. In 1889 the Royal Coat of Arms, with King Charles’ monogram in the centre and the date 1632, was discovered. This has been preserved and can be seen at the Hotel.

Sir Winston Churchill (1874 – 1965) – prior to the war, Winston Churchill was Mayor in Charge of the Henley Squadron of the Queen’s Own Oxfordshire Hussars and attended the Yeomanry Ball at Henley Town Hall.

Queen Elizabeth II (1926 – 2022) first visited the town in July 1946 when, as a 20-year-old princess, she attended the first Henley Royal Regatta since the Second World War. She officially opened the Regatta Headquarters on Henley Bridge in 1986. In 1998, she came to officially open the River and Rowing Museum. She also attended the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee event at Henley Business School on 25 June 2012

Boris Johnson – Henley’s MP from 2001-2008 before becoming Mayor of London, Foreign Secretary and the Prime Minister.

Anne, Princess Royal visited the River & Rowing Museum in 2023 to learn more about the initiative created by the museum and the Rivertime Boat Trust to promote education about the River Thames and the natural environment.