bridge across the river © Jupiterimages/iStock/Thinkstock
The hustle and bustle of the city is what we’re all about here at Zipcar. But sometimes even the most motor-obsessed Londoners need to stretch their legs. When the circuits of Hyde Park and the gardens of Kew simply won’t do, venture out to the Oxfordshire parish of Henley-on-Thames, from where you can enjoy innumerable rambling opportunities.
 
Henley-on-Thames © Steve Mann/iStock/Thinkstock
 
Henley is a picturesque town on the banks of the Thames between London, Oxford, and Reading. The surrounding country of ancient fields and shaded woodland is everything you’ve been dreaming of, interspersed with chocolate box villages and cosy rustic pubs. With Zipcar, it’s never been easier to embrace your inner country mouse for the day: make an impromptu decision and hop in the car at the end of your street; you’ll reach Henley-on-Thames in less than an hour, via a straightforward route along the M4.  
 
Bistro du Vin © Bistro du Vin
 
No doubt you’ll be feeling peckish when you first arrive, so why not build up your strength with a robust cooked breakfast or Sunday brunch at Bistro du Vin (New St, Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire, RG9 2BP, Tel. 0844 736 4258, http://www.hotelduvin.com/locations/henley-on-thames/bistro/). This Michelin-starred bistro is a winning combination of polished French cuisine and British home comforts. It offers extraordinary everything, from smoked haddock with mustard butter to a heavenly brioche French toast. 
 
bridge across the river © Jupiterimages/iStock/Thinkstock
 
After an unreasonably decadent breakfast, we expect you may want to make amends and attempt some kind of personal reform. Begin a 10-mile circular walk (http://www.walkingclub.org.uk/book_1/walk_01/index.shtml) at nearby White Hill, crossing over the river and following the signs for a riverside Thames Path. After a little while walking downstream, with the river on your left-hand side, you’ll come across an old church at Remenham, St. Nicholas. Pause here, or continue beyond Temple Island to Hambleden Lock, where you’ll pass through a wooden kissing gate and follow the public footpath across the weir. 
 
Kissing gate © starekase/iStock/Thinkstock
 
If you’ve not stopped already, you’ll soon be able to take a break at the historic Stag & Huntsman (Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire, RG9 6RP, Tel. 01491 571 227, http://www.thestagandhuntsman.co.uk/), and enjoy a hearty pub lunch while you’re at it. Offerings include breaded scampi with garden peas, and old fashioned pan-fried liver with streaky bacon and wholegrain mustard mash. Having taken the time to refuel over a leisurely lunch, don’t neglect to explore the pretty streets of Hambleden Village, which was listed as one of The Times’ 30 Best Villages in Britain in 2013. 
 
Hambleden Village © Paul Davis/flickr
 
When you feel like heading back, don’t return the same way you came; take the path up into the Great Wood, and loop round via Roundhouse Farm and Orchard Wood: the views across the meadows are worth it. 
 
Rolling fields © Mani Babbar/iStock/Thinkstock
 
If you missed out on brunch at the Bistro earlier, why not stop here at the end of your journey for a restorative afternoon tea? ‘Tea’ is in fact an understatement: this is closer to a banquet, replete with elegant finger sandwiches, tea loaf, cream cakes, and scones – not to mention macarons and petit fours. 
 
Whether you’re itching for some exercise in the great outdoors or just fed up of the daily commute, Henley-on-Thames provides Londoners with a great excuse to get out in the open air. And don’t forget, with Zipcar these adventures are both affordable and hassle-free. 
 
 
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