I recently spent a lovely day in the vibrant Georgian market town of Marlow, in Buckinghamshire. Marlow is only 20 minutes by car from our very own Ferndale Park. If you fancy a day out by the River Thames, I highly recommend this fashionable, riverside hot spot.
Historic Marlow near Ferndale Park
I took the A404 towards High Wycombe, from M4 junction 8 and drove through the pretty village of Bisham, before reaching the stunning old suspension bridge that takes you across the Thames into Marlow. The bridge is the town’s most famous landmark which joins the counties of Buckinghamshire and Berkshire. On my right was The Compleat Angler, an elegant looking hotel and on my left, I could see far down the Thames to the beautifully kept park where I planned to have my picnic.
My Parking Tip: Marlow high street can often get very busy, so I prefer to park in Pound Lane car park by the sports centre, which is left at the first mini roundabout after leaving the bridge, avoiding the high street completely. I find there are always plenty of spaces here and you can also access the park from this car park. Parking charges are reasonable and 4 hours, cost just £2.50. If you plan to spend longer, the maximum charge for the day is only £6.00 (costs correct as at September 2021).
Higginson Park was first established in 1758 and became a public park in the early 1920s. Today the park is owned by Wycombe District Council and has many facilities including a cricket pitch, putting green, bowling green and tennis courts.
The River Thames Path National Trail
The park itself is kept pristine with large open green spaces, ideal for picnics with family and friends. Before I chose my spot, I decided to take a wander along the riverside. The pathway which is flat and accessible for all ages and abilities, is part of the Thames Path National Trail which follows the banks of the Thames for 184 miles. The route starts at the source of the river, in a field in the Cotswolds and ends at the Thames Barrier in Greenwich.
However, I wasn’t about to start walking all the way to London, so I walked a little way, before heading back in the direction I had come from which allowed me to see views of the River in both directions. It was a beautiful day and many eye-catching boats were moored to the side of the bank with a few sailing by. Boats can moor overnight for a fee and you are also able to hire boats for the day.
Across the river, there are some stunning properties that you can get a glimpse at through the gardens and you can often spot a few rowers whizzing by. The park is also home to a statue of Sir Steve Redgrave, holding an oar with his 5 medals round his neck, who grew up in Marlow Bottom.
Higginson Park in Marlow
I wandered back over to the park and decided to sit not far from the house. It was less crowded further away from the river but I still had a good view of the park and boats from my spot. I was also not too far from the car, so when I had finished my picnic, I could easily throw everything back in the car before continuing to explore.
There was a beautiful flower bed in front of the house with an array of vibrant colours and scents. Just around the corner, near the front entrance of the park, I could hear the children playing in the park and a merry-go-round which I think operates most of the summer, great if you have the grandchildren with you. Here you will also find a nice little café and toilet facilities.
I headed out of the park via the front gates and crossed the road. I decided to head towards the bridge and back round, so I could view the river from higher up. I took the path that led through the church grounds. All Saints Church is a very picturesque, grade II listed building, dating back to the 1800’s that sits on the bank of the river.
Here, I had a better view of The Compleat Angler Hotel which looked stunning from across the river. A night away here would certainly be a treat! I walked along the bridge and crossed back over to head back into town. Everything was in full bloom and the bridge adorned some beautiful hanging baskets.
The trendy, vibrant High Street of Marlow
The bustling high street has an abundance of boutiques, restaurants, cafes and bistros. Lined with bunting and packed with people and traffic, it’s definitely worth a look, even if you are just window shopping. With many independent businesses, as well as some more well known ones, it certainly gives the high street a trendy, unique vibe. I couldn’t resist grabbing a coffee and a slice of delicious cake at the Strawberry Grove, where I sat outside watching the world go by!
I ventured up and back down the high street, where I spotted some rather beautiful jewellery shops, fine art dealerships and even the renowned restaurant chain, The Ivy. I ended my day with a good ol’ Mr Whippy from the ice cream van, which in true fashion melted quicker than I could eat it, while I walked back through the park to the car.
Marlow really is a beautiful day out. It’s a perfect spot not too far from Ferndale Park, to enjoy a spot of lunch and a leisurely stroll along, in my opinion, one of the prettiest parts of the River Thames.