The pretty village on the Thames 40 minutes from London overshadowed by its famous neighbor
Marlow is a famous town for a number of reasons. A fashionable riverside resort, residents of the town have included TS Eliot and Mary Shelley, who completed his infamous Gothic masterpiece Frankenstein while living in the town.
But we’re not here to talk about Marlow, we’re here to talk about his less famous neighbor, Bisham. The village sits on the River Thames and is about a mile south of Marlow and about three miles northwest of Maidenhead.
With a population of just over 1,000, it’s one of Berkshire’s best kept secrets. The village is probably best known for Bisham Abbey, a predominantly Tudor building of Grade I architectural interest – although it is now a National Sports Centre.
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The building includes parts of Bisham Priory, which was founded by the Knights Templar in 1338 and was the only monastery to be re-established as an abbey by Henry VIII after the Dissolution.
Imagine yourself painting while cruising along the Thames on a vintage Dutch barge. Well, Roy May, an amateur watercolor artist, made it a reality. A typical art cruise will begin in the scenic landscapes of Bisham Abbey near Marlow, Bucks and cruise along the River Thames towards Henley.
A wide array of inspiring vistas, unseen unless you are on the river, unfold as you gently meander through areas of outstanding natural beauty.
Bishops Abbey National Sports Center is considered one of the UK’s premier sporting venues. It hosts a variety of sports, including football, hockey, Paralympic five-a-side football, Paralympic seven-a-side football, and wheelchair tennis. If you’ve forgotten your football boots, don’t worry, you can still visit the Great Hall, Henry VIII’s former banquet hall.
One of the main places people stay when visiting Bisham is the Hurley Hotel. A visitor who stayed at the Hurley Hotel last month said on TripAdvisor: “My boyfriend and I had a lovely stay. The room was wonderful with the tub in the room, I would have liked a coffee maker instead only bags of coffee, but that didn’t affect my stay.
“The breakfast was great and the coffee even better. All the staff were friendly and welcoming and felt so relaxed when we left.”
How to get there
Although hidden in the depths of Berkshire, it is very easy to get there. It is just a 39 minute drive from London, heading 32 miles west through Ealing, Slough and Maidenhead. Or, if you’re feeling a little more eco-conscious, the train journey from London Paddington takes less than 90 minutes.