Living in Shiplake

A delightful location with great transport links

There’s a suggestion that the name ‘Shiplake’ could mean the ‘stream where sheep are washed’ but it’s possible that the name could refer to the final resting place of a Viking ship as the river above Shiplake was too shallow to navigate.  Whatever may be behind the name, Shiplake, just two miles south of Henley-on-Thames is a delightful place to live with a strong sense of community. 

Shiplake is an unusual village in that it comprises three settlements – each with its own character.  Shiplake Cross, the oldest part, is the heart of the community being home to Shiplake Memorial Hall, Shiplake Village Bowling Club and Shiplake Tennis & Social Club. 

The historic and religious centre of the parish is Shiplake Village with plenty of Grade II listed buildings including the historic church of Saints Peter & Paul, parts of which date back to the 12th century and the former Plowden Arms, dating from 1749 which, following refurbishment has been renamed The Plough. 

Lower Shiplake has a more commercial feel being home to Shiplake Corner Shop & Post Office Shiplake butcher’s and the Baskerville pub.  For the weekly shop, nearby Henley-on-Thames has several supermarkets including branches of Waitrose, Sainsbury’s and Tesco – and a wealth of other independent and High Street stores.  

The Bell Surgery and The Hart Surgery are within a couple of miles of Shiplake – next door to each other and close to Townlands Community Hospital in Henley.  Sonning Common Health Centre also welcomes patients from Shiplake.

Burford town centre.
The tea rooms in Burford.
Huffkins bakery and tea rooms in Burford, Oxfordshire.

Relax over morning coffee, afternoon tea or a meal with friends

Meeting friends for a drink or dining out?

The 18th century Flowing Spring pub, with a huge garden flanked by streams, is a friendly, cosy, country pub serving fresh home-made food including vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free and dairy-free options and holding events from live music evenings to stand-up comedy and astronomy nights. 

The Baskerville Arms has just been bought by local residents who intend to re-establish it as a community-based pub serving good food.  Newly restored and renamed ‘The Plough,’ this is a gastropub with a  homely, modern atmosphere, an open fire and food cooked by an enthusiastic and passionate chef. 

Orwells Restaurant in Binfield Heath, named after famous local resident, George Orwell, boasts an outstanding tasting menu, a la carte menu and traditional Sunday lunches. 

Of course, in Henley-on-Thames, you’ll find a wide range of places to eat and drink from coffee shops and tea rooms to upmarket chain restaurants like the Giggling Squid and popular independents such as The Shellfish Cow.   

Oxford city centre
Blenheim Palace, Woodstock, Oxfordshire

From community choir to sports activities, there’s always something to do in Shiplake

Living in Shiplake, you’ll never be bored. 

There’s a branch of the Women’s Institute and a whole range of interest groups from art and bridge to community choir, bell ringing, book club and local history. 

Exercise classes are held in a variety of local venues including Shiplake Memorial Hall, the Church Rooms, Church Hall and Shiplake College – you can try Pilates, Yoga and Stretch.  

There’s no shortage of sporting activities – fishing, sailing, rowing, tennis, table tennis, bowling, badminton and football – and, of course,  several golf clubs in Henley including Henley Golf Club and the members only Castle Royle Golf & Country Club.

Shiplake is also home to an excellent bowling club with a high-quality bowling green. The Shiplake Village Bowling Club has seen success at a local and national level, however they are are happy to accept members of all levels, from beginners to experts. 

Oxfordshrie countryside
Cotswold Way public footpath sign
Oxfordshrie countryside

Getting out and about in the fresh air

There are some beautiful walks in and around Shiplake. 

The Thames Path runs through the village and there’s a network of well-marked footpaths in the countryside.  Both the Chiltern Way and the Ridgeway are within easy reach.  Explore Shiplake Lock on the River Thames or follow the circular pathway to Sonning which takes in fields, woodland and riverside paths, Sonning Village and the popular Coppa Club Bar & Restaurant.  

At Warburg Nature Reserve, high in the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, you’ll find flower-rich grasslands, woodland and an abundance of wildlife.


Culture and Entertainment within easy reach

For an evening out, The Mill at Sonning is a delightful venue with a theatre and restaurant set within a converted flour mill on an island in the Thames. 

There’s also the Kenton Theatre in Henley – and the town’s Regal Picturehouse – a small and cosy local cinema showing the latest movies. 

Throughout the year, there are so many events and exhibitions to attend – and all within easy reach of Shiplake.  Shiplake holds an annual Arts & Crafts Exhibition in early May as part of the Shiplake Arts Trail and Binfield Heath Flower & Dog Show is always well attended. 

Wargrave and Shiplake Regatta is held each year, with 330 events over the two-day programme and, of course, Henley is home to the Henley Royal Regatta as well as to the Henley Festival, the Henley Rewind Festival, The Henley Jazz & Blues Week, the Henley Show and the Henley Living Advent Calendar.  

233 Woodstock to Burford bus
Shipton for Burford railway sign
Train arriving into Charlbury station

National Trust Properties Near Shiplake

Greys Court, Henley-on-Thames

This country house, originally built in the 14th century with views over the Chiltern Hills, has a charming series of walled gardens and two waymarked walks. 

The Cowshed Tearoom, open daily, has indoor and outdoor seating where you can enjoy hot food, drinks and snacks.  A shop, created in the old woodshed, sells homeware, books and seasonal gifts and there’s a Book Nook selling pre-loved books.

Excellent transport connections

Shiplake station lies on the line from Henley to Twyford and trains run every 30 minutes during the day. 

For trains to and from London Paddington and Reading, it’s easy to change at Twyford with a journey time from Shiplake to London Paddington of approximately 45 minutes.  Nearby Reading has an excellent commuter rail service into London Paddington and the Crossrail service from Reading to London means its possible to travel east from Reading all the way to Abbey Wood without changing at Paddington mainline station. 

The regular bus services passing through Shiplake include the 800 Arriva bus between Reading and High Wycombe and Thames Travel’s X38 hourly service between Reading and Oxford.  There’s also the Henley HandyBus, an 11-seater minibus which helps people in the Henley area get out and about to meet friends and go shopping locally and, twice a month, to Reading.

Shiplake is located on the A4155 Henley to Reading road with easy access to the M4 motorway (8 km away), the M40 (13 km) and the M25 (27 km).  Heathrow airport is only 28 km west of Shiplake. 

Our retirement properties in Shiplake

Manor Gardens

Shiplake, Shiplake, RG9 4AE

Anticipated launch early summer 2024

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