15 Very English Things to Try for the First Time


What will you do on the day that we're calling Victory Day?

If you are struggling to find sense in things right now, that is perfectly normal and one of the best things we can do for our mental well being is to use this time of isolation as a restorative measure… an opportunity to press reset on our tired souls, a time to hibernate and a time to escape.

Here at Humphreys of Henley we are ready to help you plan what comes after – because just as there will be many practicalities we must embrace on the other side of what’s happening now, there are opportunities. Opportunities to reconnect with nature, with the seasons and with friends and family.

The Great British countryside is on your doorstep and has so many new experiences just waiting for you to explore!

So, if you want to dive into something adventurous, maybe tick off a few bucket list experiences, or if you just want to shake off the stress and rediscover serenity in a exclusive and tranquil location, Humphreys of Henley are ready to organise the finer details.

“Our guests provide our proudest moments, when we see their eyes widen in amazement at the majesty of a hawk in full flight, or their absolute joy when they shoot their first clay from the skies.

Let us do the research, coordination and planning so that you can optimise every moment of your precious leisure time, it’s what we love doing and, I’m proud to say, we are very good at it.”              ~ Founder and Exquisite England Connoisseur: Samantha Evans

Let us help you plan your stay - Call us to set a date or choose a voucher. We happily guarantee you the flexibility of a deferred date if you are unable to make your original choice, at no cost to you.

 

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15 Very English Things to Try for the First Time

With so much choice of country pursuits it is hard to decide which to try for the first time. Here in good old Blighty we have some rather unique gems. Yes, you can go hiking and horse-riding, but what about something a little different?

Whether you have a penchant for trying something that will give you plenty of anecdotes for your next dinner party, or you just want to treat yourself to something simply elegant, then boy do we have a list for you!

1. Feel the sun on your face and the gentle breeze as you take a horse drawn canal boat trip. Take the ultimate escape and experience a nostalgic horse-drawn barge journey along the historic British canal network. Sit back, relax and enjoy the slow, romantic pace and admire the strength of your gorgeous horse as they easily pull your boat through the water.

2. Listen to the gentle sound of the river as you learn the thrill of rowing. Experience one of the fastest growing, exhilarating and rewarding sports for yourself with personal tuition by a professional GB rower. The Oxford and Cambridge rowers may not be on the water this year, but you can take the oars and learn the thrill of slicing through the calm waters, there’s nothing quite like it.

3. Get wild and enjoy the art of food foraging. Foraging has been popular for some years now, with enthusiasm for gathering food from wild and natural places only increasing as we look to reduce our plastic waste and live more sustainably. Guided by an expert forager, seek out the food that is growing around you that you can access for free. It’s a way to make a connection between your environment and to the food on your plate; to make nature into a treasure hunt for the tummy.

4. Recline in your own private Regal Carriage ride. Experience the peace and tranquillity of Windsor Great Park on a bespoke carriage tour. During the ride discover in the history of the Great Park and the generations of Windsor carriages and horses. All while you take in the stunning views of Windsor Castle, meet the resident deer and encounter historical monuments, ancient forests and stunning horticultural displays.

5. Indulge in a Gourmet Picnic as you watch the world go by. Picnic was originally a 17th Century French word, picque-nique. Its meaning was similar to today's meaning: a social gathering to which everyone brings a share of the food. With so much beautiful landscape to be explored, what better way to make the most of the breath-taking surroundings than by enjoying a delicious, luxury champagne picnic catered specifically for you. All you need to do is choose the perfect place!

6. Tackle the art of Duck Herding. Will you have what it takes to guide your ducks through a series of obstacles into a pen? This hilariously entertaining activity combines teamwork, good communication and listening skills…and lots of patience! You will learn about the traditional skill of sheepdog handling with an expert guide. After you have learnt the commands required, you will work with highly trained sheep dogs to guide a group of ducks.

7. Round off the perfect day with some Star Gazing. Star gazing is a magical way to bring science alive and to experience the beauty of our natural world. Looking up at the great canopy of space is a powerful experience, which everyone can enjoy. The South East is home to several special places that are accredited ‘Dark Sky’ sites meaning you won’t have to travel far to these optimum areas for viewing the galaxy.

8. Enjoy the poetry of the River Thames on a relaxing day cruise. Sit back and relax as you cruise through the stunning scenery from your luxury river launch. The scene from the river paints the history of the region; from country houses to pretty cottages; picture postcard villages to elegant towns – they all tell a story and have formed the heart of the Thames riverside from the Victorian era.

9. Take to the skies in a Vintage Tiger Moth or Spitfire. With an experienced pilot and pre-flight briefing, it is the ultimate aviation experience for those of you who have a real passion for these magnificent flying machines. You will have the opportunity to take the controls and fly for yourself, or if you prefer, simply immerse yourself in the moment and take in the delightful Oxfordshire scenery from this unique vantage point.

10. Or choose a more peaceful way to fly with a Hot Air Balloon Trip. Embark on a memorable hot air balloon flight and prepare to be wowed by the stunning scenery of the English countryside. Soak up the breath-taking views and enjoy a delicious champagne picnic at 1,500 ft – how romantic!

11. Release the artist in you and paint stunning riverside scenery from a vintage Dutch Barge. Imagine painting and sketching while cruising the beautiful River Thames on a vintage Dutch Barge. Expert tuition with pencil and watercolour sketching is provided through-out the day. Absorb the beauty of the scenery or focus on interesting buildings, wildlife, the hustle and bustle of the locks or the other craft on the River. With so many things to inspire you the day will just float by in no time!

12. Discover the art of creating your own artisan cheese. Cheese is one of the nation's most beloved foods, but have you ever wondered how to make it? Following an introduction to cheese making and some all-important taste testing, get stuck in and create your own signature cheeses. By the end of the day you will have made a semi hard white cheese, a semi hard blue cheese, a lovely soft curd cheese and a small camembert style cheese to take home to mature.

13. Learn how to bring Bees back to your garden with a Bee Keeping experience. Since the numbers of bumble bees, honeybees and wild bee species started to decline, there has been a significant boost in bee keeping and extended efforts to protect our beloved bees. During your bee keeping experience, you will take a look inside an active hive and extract honey from the honeycomb cells. Don’t forget the honey tasting!

14. Realise your inner Master Chocolatier. Learn the magical legends of chocolate, with the chance to sample plenty of tasters before creating your very own personalised chocolate bar and decorated truffles. For an adult only experience you can also discover the alchemy of chocolate cocktail mixology.

15. Take in the royal sport of Falconry. Experience the magic of our indigenous birds of prey, as you get up close and personal with some of the most magnificent birds in the sky. You won’t be watching from afar, you will handle, feed and fly a stunning array of different birds, to have a full appreciation of this royal sport that has been enjoyed by our Kings and Queens through history.

What ever your passions are, or what ever your choice of pursuit from this list, we can guarantee you will fall in love with the English countryside all over again!

If you would like more information about any of our selections, or you’d like to see what else we have to offer during your stay, please be in touch using the form below.