The Thames is at its loveliest as it flows through this pleasant Georgian market town, spanned by an elegant suspension bridge built in 1832.
Marlow is without doubt one of the loveliest locations on the River Thames, situated on a broad sweep of the river between Henley and Windsor and within the Chiltern Hills which is designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It has a lively town centre made up of historic streets with small listed buildings and offers an array of shops, restaurants, wine bars and pubs which all add to Marlow’s charm. The town’s main landmark is the graceful suspension bridge which spans the Thames joining Buckinghamshire and Berkshire. It was completed in 1832 to designs by William Tierney Clark who also designed the bridge across the Danube in Budapest. Marlow’s earlier bridges all crossed the river from St Peter Street, one of the oldest and most picturesque parts of the town. The lovely 23 acre Higginson Park has lawns for picnicing, riverside walks, a children's play area and cafe.
The Thames made Marlow what it is today, putting it on the map first as a river crossing and then as an inland port. In the late 18th and 19th centuries Marlow became a fashionable riverside resort and a variety of famous people were attracted to live in the town. It has a great little independent museum where you can go to discover more about this ever popular destination.
Marlow is easily accessible from London, Oxford and the Midlands from the M40 and from Heathrow via the M4. The station is on the First Great Western branch line and you can reach Paddington, London, in just over an hour. Buses take you to Reading, Maidenhead and Oxford as well as Luton and Stansted Airports, with local services to the surrounding villages.
Markets, Festivals & Events
Marlow loves a party and there are plenty of events throughout the year. May sees celebrity Chef Tom Kerridge's 'Pub in the Park', a music and food festival in Higginson Park. Tom has made quite an impact on Marlow with 3 food spots, including his Michelin starred restaurant. In June, the river is the venue for the Marlow Town Regatta and the Rock Bottom family concert, followed in July by the annual ceremony of 'Swan Upping' when the new crop of cygnets are identified and tagged by the Queen's Swan Marker. September hearlds the Marlow Carnival, with a half marathon and Switch on and Shop Christmas event in November. Late night Christmas shopping is a festive affair in December and you can join in a Santa Fun Run for chairty.
Claim To Fame
Past residents have included Thomas Love Peacock, Jerome K. Jerome, T.S. Eliot and the poet Shelley and his wife Mary who completed her gothic masterpiece 'Frankenstein' whilst living in Marlow.
As with much of the Chilterns, there are many locations from the 'Midsomer Murders' TV series. Marlow has a specific trail you can follow for fans of the show.
Did You Know?
The 18th century saw the arrival of Dr Battie, a specialist in nervous diseases from whose name the term ‘batty’ is said to have sprung. He designed and built Court Garden House in Higginson Park, but absentmindedly forgot to include a staircase!
Download the Marlow mini guide here.