In the centre of well-heeled Pangbourne, The Elephant is a stroll to chi-chi gift shops, an award-winning cheese shop – Cheese Etc – and the Thames. Amble along it; hire a boat or kayak if you fancy a splash about. This is also a handy base for the Henley Regatta.
Inside, smiley staff buzz around and colonial era glamour reigns: wooden floors, club chairs to recline in, old tea chests – and quite a lot of elephants! Book in for afternoon tea or settle down for sandwiches, sharing plates or a salad in the Babar bar. The Herd Restaurant is open in the evenings – treat yourself to a steak, they are sublime.
There are no fewer than 56 gins on the menu – fun to sit in the bar at a table made from an old aeroplane wing to sample a couple of them. Upstairs, grand bedrooms continue the old school sophistication. The garden annexe rooms have the best views across the gorgeous gardens to the church next door.