10 of the best things to see and do in Marlow and Bourne End
PUBLISHED: 10:50 28 August 2018 | UPDATED: 10:50 28 August 2018
We round up some of the best things to do in Marlow and nearby Bourne End
Find a shady spot in Higginson Park and enjoy your picnic close to the Thames… but if you can’t face making and carrying it all yourself then simply head to The Resolute Café close to the play area – Nina and Karl Shaw opened their on what was a Costa Coffee site. A big thumbs up from us, and all those enjoying the pizzas, muffins and teas there.
On the Lawn
That’s the name of the summer restaurant at The Compleat Angler, and what a spot it is for an al-fresco dining experience. Chef Raj Chakraborty has chosen dishes to suit the season and location, including the likes of coal-baked mackerel fillet with fennel, anchovy and crostini. Other choices include pulled lamb with pomegranate, mint salsa and focaccia and baked halloumi with sweet and sour vegetables. Leave room for some super, refreshing desserts.
After that foodie session we need to walk some of it off, and for all the lure of the High Street area’s glitz and glamour, find time to take to the historic back streets and alleys. Everyone seems to know that Mary Shelley finished writing Frankenstein in Marlow, but you’ll find many plaques recording other worthies who lived in the town.
In Mill Road we came across a plaque honouring Vice Admiral Sir James Nicoll Morris KCB, who commanded HMS Colossus in the battle of Trafalgar in 1805. Back in the High Steet, another plaque records that artist Edward John Gregory RA, lived in Marlow for three years. That may seem a short time, but one of the most well-known paintings by the late 19th century president of the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours is ‘Boulter’s Lock on the River Thames at Maidenhead’.
You’ll find more history clues at Marlow Museum, beside Court Garden Leisure Centre, open Saturdays 1-5pm, Sundays 1-5pm, and Wednesdays 2-5pm.
The Thames Path
Here’s one route from Marlow to Bourne End – or vice versa – as you can walk all the way from one to the other beside the river. Perhaps the answer is to take the Marlow Donkey train, as it’s known, which runs between the two… at least on the way back!
Yet Another Golden Oldie
Of course, you can combine history and food, and we did so at The Two Brewers in St Peter Street, which prominently displays a sign announcing that it is the oldest pub in Marlow, serving cask ales and food since 1775. There’s a shady courtyard so we picked a spot to enjoy a very modern dish – a tangy pawn and avocado salad, £6.25. In duty, we plumped for Franklin & Sons apple and rhubarb soft drinks to go with it, although the Pimms or pink gin spritz could have lured us!
By road, you pass through Little Marlow and should really call in Emmetts Farm and Produce shop, opposite the newly re-opened Kings Head pub. Before we go shopping it’s worth noting that the pub had looked set to become a gastropub under Raymond Blanc but was instead taken over by the Old Spot Pub Company.
As for the farm shop, what a treat that is. We learned that nearby hayfever sufferers swear by the local honey for alleviating symptoms. It’s all there with a host of local produce including bread from Jungs Bakery of Beaconsfield and Rex Bakery of Little Chalfont – but one of the things that caught our eye was the luscious cavolo nero cabbage, also known as ‘Italian kale’.
Emmetts is a real gem for those who need to live gluten-fre, with some tremendous quiches, sweet treats and staples produced by Rosie’s Munch Basket (Rosie O’Hagan of Munch Tout of Wooburn).
From something new we head to something a little more well-established, shall we say, as Burgers at The Causeway have been serving the people of Marlow for 75 years and the Swiss perfection and attention to detail of the founders continues to the present day. What to choose? It’s a tough one… Pastries laden with summer fruits are irresistible.
We came across Satollo in Liston Court, the fascinating collection of little stores and independent offerings just off the centre of the High Street. You’ll find some very authentic treats in the deli section and it’s possible to spend quite a bit of time checking out the bottles of wine you simply won’t find elsewhere. The full body reds from the likes of Tuscany and Lombardy are hard to resist.
Co-owner Luca Sanno introduced us to a selection of delectable cheeses, olives and cured meats. Of course you could just settle for a perfect Italian coffee to enjoy at a courtyard table.
Simone Markham’s My Boutique at The Parade, Bourne End, was busy with customers checking at out the rails when we called – no surprise as they were filled with gorgeous, floaty styles and accessories perfect for summer holidays that you are unlikely to find elsewhere other than at Simone’s store in Farnham Common.
But there was still a surprise… the prices of pieces she sources from the UK and fashion hubs overseas, such as Italy.
Turn over price tags bearing sums like £18 for intricate, exceptionally well-made pretty tops and with so much below the £50 tag and you’ll soon see why those in the know flock here.
Just One Gelato
We finish our trip with a stop at Bourne for Desserts in The Parade, discovering that it has a touch of the American diner. The gelato list includes some extraordinary sundaes but we suspect many regulars pop in for great coffee and a chunk of apple pie or the red velvet cheesecake.