Suzy Hobbs is co-owner of Hobbs of Henley, the family firm that’s been providing boats on the Oxfordshire Thames since 1870. Married with three kids, she knows the area like the back of her hand, so her favourite places are all bang on the money. Read on, and book up!
I love this independent boutique selling mainly designer fashion and great accessories. Fluidity is not somewhere I can afford to go very often, but occasionally I’ll treat myself. They only buy in a couple of items so you know the whole of Henley isn’t going to be wearing the same dress as you! Their personal shopping service is really excellent – my husband will go in for a birthday or Christmas present for me and the staff know what I like and what works for me, so it’s very useful!
Pakleni islands, Croatia
It might sound a bit like a busman’s holiday for us to be on a boating vacation, but we had the most incredible holiday sailing around the Dalmatian islands. they’re absolutely beautiful, with turquoise seas and stunning food and beaches, and the Pakleni islands in particular have stayed with me – just south of Hvar are the the most spectacular beaches I’ve ever seen. There’s a loungebar called Laganini that I’d really recommend – think lovely hammocks looking out onto a beuatiful day and amazing fish dishes. We’re going back again next summer to boat for a week and then stay in a villa.
Farm Shop, The Quince Tree, Stonor
The Quince Tree is an amazing place to go and have a coffee and pastry. There’s amazing cheese in the deli, and gifty items for the home, so it’s always good for presents. I have two dogs so I do lots of walks around Stonor, and then pop in and buy food for the weekend. The Quince Tree provides our on-boat hampers and now they’ve opened a cafe at the River & Rowing Museum so they’re even more local to us now.
The Tree Houses in Chewton Glen
This is such a treat in the most incredible place. The Tree houses in this hotel and spa are high amongst the trees, all glass fronted with a panoramic view of the woods in the New Forest. You feel like your miles away from anywhere, like you’re on safari or something. We took our three children and our dogs Louis and Wilbur as they’re very much part of hte family. It was a perfect setting to unwind. The spa is excellent but we just ended up going to Mudeford beach and Christchurch nearby. There’s a fantastic restaurant on Mudeford beach, and it’s just so idylllic there, we love it.
Kynance Cove, Cornwall
One of the most beautiful places we go to is Cornwall. Johnny’s parents have a cottage near Penzance and we go as much as we can down there. I love the rural rustic feeling of Cornwall and Kynance Cove near the Lizard Peninsula is the prettiest cove I’ve ever seen in this country. It’s National Trust owned and a bit of a trek – you have to walk down very steep steps to get there, but it’s so worth it. The caves down there are lovely – the kids enjoy playing in them, and the beaches are white sand. It’s a dramatic, stunning stretch of coast.
Luscombes, The Golden Ball, Lower Assendon, Nr Henley
The best Sunday roast you’ll ever eat! I love cooking and am actually very proud of my roasts, but my kids say the Luscombes one rivals mine – the chef there is brilliant. We went there last weekend and sat in the garden in the sun, but it’s equally lovely for a good dog walk and a winter pint inside the traditional old house. One of my favourite times to eat at Lusombes is the summer, because they do wonderful seafood lunches. The crab is always to-die-for.
Dormey House, Cotswolds
We’ve stayed here a couple of times before and are returning for our anniversary. It’s a beautiful 17th century farmhouse, and I love the fact that it’s so small and cosy. It’s sumptuous but not flashy. I don’t like flashy. When we’re here we love to go for walks, though this time we’re not taking our kids and dogs – my sister lives across the road so she steps in when we’re away. It will be strange walking in the countryside without our dogs but we’ll be a bit more free to do what we want to do. There’s a new spa just opened so that will be a good start!
Hobbs of Henley are now taking bookings for Christmas party nights and Santa Cruises – either hire a boat exclusively or book individual or group tickets.