Falcon Inn, Denham, UK

Over the years, we’ve written a lot about the quaint English village of Denham.

Although only a tiny dot on the map of county Buckinghamshire, Denham has made a big impression on us as a fine example of village culture and British history, set in stunning natural surroundings.

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It’s the traditional storybook English village – with the advantage of being easy to reach from Heathrow airport and London.

We’ve gathered together a collection of our reviews and articles about Denham over the years.  Some of the information may repeat itself, but we can never get enough of this awesome village — so forgive our enthusiasm.

Our experience of Denham was certainly influenced in no small way by one of the oldest buildings in the village – the Falcon Inn.  Talking about this wonderful inn is a perfect way of introducing this collection.

So, welcome to Denham through our eyes and camera lens — and if it inspires you to visit, please say ‘hi’ to our friends at the Falcon. You can’t miss it!

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This 16th Century inn is an absolute gem, sitting squarely in the historical heart of the village amid stone and red brick cottages, wisteria bushes and bubbling streams.

The Falcon Inn – or Emmots Deye as it was called in the time of Henry VIII – has played a key role in the history of Denham.

According to the inn’s website, it once belonged to Robert Bowyer, the brother of Knight of the Realm, Sir William Bowyer, who had purchased the whole Manor of Denham.

It’s said that the Bowyer family crest was a “Falcon rising”.

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Today, the Falcon Inn overlooks Denham’s delightful village green, where you can easily while away restful hours listening to the birds and the relaxing sounds of village life.

If you are a guest, you can also sit on the village green and use the Falcon’s free wifi.

On our visit to the inn, we hired a car and driver for the 15 to 20 drive from Heathrow Airport. Once there, we had no need for a vehicle to explore the wonderful old village set close to a section of the Grand canal.

It’s easy to walk through the area’s parkland and winding bridleways to quickly discover the natural beauty of Denham and its surrounds, especially the regional park in the Colne River valley.

It’s also only a short walk on a level, paved path to Denham station where trains run regularly to the from London.

Our hosts at the Falcon Inn put us in one of the building’s top floor rooms, where we were impressed with the exposed oak beams and old world decor.

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The room radiated the 16th Century charm of the Falcon Inn, yet contained all the modern conveniences you could want.

The free wifi operated perfectly throughout the building.

The bed was comfy and fluffy and the ensuite was the equal of any big city accommodation.

The view across the rooftops of Denham was also eye-catching and scenic. Sure, there were some narrow stairs, but nothing more than you would expect in a building of its age.

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Downstairs, the ambience continued in the bar and brasserie where we enjoyed several sumptuous meals and plenty of chatter with people fortunate enough to call Denham home.

The Falcon Inn is apparently well known for its fine cask ales and the few we tasted were as good as any glasses we have raised in the UK.

All in all, the operators of the Falcon Inn went out of their way to ensure out visit to Denham was unforgettable.

We have no hesitation in thoroughly recommending the inn and Denham as a wonderful way of experiencing life in a lovely English village.

The Falcon Inn is located in Village Road, Denham, Buckinghamshire, about 18 miles from London via the A40.

UK hotels

English village series: Arlington Row and Gold Hill

If you love the traditional villages of England as much as we do, then you’ve undoubtedly heard about Arlington Row and Gold Hill.

These stunning areas are among the most photographed scenery in the United Kingdom – and it’s easy to see why.

The picturesque cottages of Arlington Row are located in the acclaimed Cotswold village of Bibury, Gloucestershire.IMG_1351

Built in 1380 as a monastic wool store and converted into cottages for weavers in the 17th Century, the row attracts big crowds of visitors, especially in Spring and Summer.

The street is a notable architectural conservation  area that is shown on the inside cover of all United Kingdom passports.

When we wandered through the cottages, the beauty of the location was enhanced by the backdrop of the bubbling River Coln and Bibury’s stone bridge.

We were amazed at the low level of some of the cottage floors that were well below the height of the roadway outside. It’s a real case of ‘mind the gap’.

Bibury is about 83.4 miles – or one-hour-and-42 minutes -from London via the M40 and A40. The trip takes about three-and-a-half hours by bus from London’s Victoria Coach Station and about three-hours-and-50 minutes by train.

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Gold Hill is a stunning cobbled street at Shaftesbury, Dorset – often described as “one of the most romantic sights in England.

The view down the Hill over Dorset’s Blackmoor Vale appears on the covers of many books and is a popular film and TV setting.

Shaftesbury is about two-hours by car from London and about two-hours-and-37 minutes by train.

Of course, everyone seems to have their favourite English villages and readers will know of our liking for Denham in Southern Buckinghamshire – and its wonderful 16th Century Falcon Inn – as well as the Gower villages in Wales, Lacock in Wiltshire, Painswick in Gloucestershire, Stamford in Lincolnshire and Port Isaac in Cornwall.FullSizeRender 12

See our report on Denham and its location close to London – yet a world away.

But we will also touch on a few more of our preferred English villages in coming months – so Follow us to see if your favourites are mentioned.

 

 

 

 

 

Bibury Shaftesbury UK village life

A village experience tinged with history

Travellers to Denham for an English village experience follow a well worn path.

Although Denham Village remains a largely unspoiled and tranquil collection of historic English buildings, the area has roots back to Saxon times – and even earlier Roman ruins have also been found nearby.

The first written record of Denham was in the 11th century. It’s understood that land was given to the Abbot and convent of Westminster in 1299.

Later, King Henry III granted the village a weekly market and an annual three-day fair.

Denham fair continued until the 1870s.

The stately buildings that are part of Denham’s appeal as a perfect getaway location for travellers from around the globe, began to be noticed  near the end of the 17th century.

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A fine brick mansion known as Denham Place, for example, was built around that time and is said to be noted for its friezes, ceilings and chapel.

Another outstanding old building, Denham Court, stands at the end of an avenue of lime trees.

Part of a 14th-century hall still survives at another house, Savay Farm.

Located in southern Buckinghamshire, Denham is ideal for an English village experience.

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A stunning area of red brick buildings draped in wisteria, Denham is only about 15 to 20 minutes journey by hire car and driver from Heathrow Airport – a ‘traditional’ English village without the need for exhausting travel.

 

Denham

Countryside can be as charming as villages

We love staying in traditional English villages, but not only because they offer a taste of a more gentle age.

The countryside can also be an experience all its own.

For example, our favourite village of Denham, in Buckinghamshire, also involves getting up close and personal with a world class nature reserve – the stunning 43 square mile Colne Valley Regional Park.

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From Denham, you can stroll at your leisure along a network of footpaths; an ‘easy access route’; roads; bridges and ‘Bridleways’ lined in part with hedges.

In minutes, you are in an astonishing mixture of woodland, farmland and water amid the Colne, Misbourne and Fray’s rivers.

On the way, you’ll probably find  the white swans which have become the symbol of Denham village.

The swans glide through the water with grace and are a photographer’s dream.

As you soak up the natural beauty of the Denham Country Park and Denham Lock Wood – important individual sections of the regional park – watch for a variety of water fowl; herons; geese; and possibly rabbits, squirrels, foxes and even deer.

Stop at the Colne Valley Park Visitor Centre, which includes  car parking, a cafe, meeting rooms, toilets, educational displays and exhibitions.

The visitors centre is an invaluable community resource located with Denham Country Park, but serving the much wider Colne Valley parkland.

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This centre is also the start of a ‘family explorer’ route through the parkland, as well as an orienteering trail.

Information on these routes and all aspects of the regional park is readily available from the centre staff, who include members of the Friends of the Colne Valley Park.

From there, you can meander along the well maintained and accessible paths  to the Grand Union Canal and the Denham Deep Lock, which is a complete experience in itself.

Just over the canal from Denham Country Park – although not as suitable for wheelchairs – is the Fray’s River Local Nature Reserve, where lakes made from old gravel pits attract their own bird life, wildflowers abound and locals say that, in early summer, a disused railway embankment is home to glow worms.

On the same side of the canal is Denham Lock Wood, a wet woodland, which also boasts considerable birdlife, wildflowers and beetles, moths and snails.

Fray’s River runs under the Grand Union Canal just upstream from Denham Deep Lock and is a popular place to watch for herons

Not far from the lock, there’s also an aqueduct, which was apparently used to create an artificial loop in the River Colne. The loop once supplied water to six flourmills.

Colne Valley Regional Park also takes in Buckinghamshire Golf Course, although the only way general members of the public can use the course area is by  public footpaths.

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The circular  ‘easy access route’  – which can take you from Denham’s  Village Road to the banks of the Grand Union Canal – is about 1.3 miles long and is ideal for visitors with impaired mobility.

By itself, Denham offers an exceptional traditional English village experience – all within easy reach of London’s Heathrow Airport.

However, the Colne Valley Regional Park is truly the cream on the cake – a ‘must see’ for anyone visiting this picturesque part of the UK and a crucial part of  a Denham holiday.

And a memorable destination indeed.

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Features UK village life

English villages: Denham ticks the boxes

How can that cherished dream of experiencing English village life ever come true when you only have two weeks or less – and you’re currently on the other side of the world.

The prospect of getting off a plane tired and jetlagged only to drive a car or drag bags onto a coach, can seem all too hard to consider for a short stay.

The long trip to the UK from all corners of the globe can leave the traveller exhausted and reluctant to seek out that village experience.

Relax … an answer is at hand.

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There’s a tranquil Village Green, running streams and Saint Mary’s Church of England has a flint stone Norman tower built in the early 12th Century, a Chancel dating from the 13th Century and a Nave that was built in the 15th Century.

But, the real secret is that Denham is only about 15 to 20 minutes drive from Heathrow Airport – a ‘traditional’ English village without the need for exhausting travel.

The Falcon Inn, Denham UK

In fact, Denham shares a boundary with the London Borough of Hillingdon (formerly Middlesex) – and it is possible to get a car and driver from the Heathrow Airport to the village for about 20 Great British pounds.

And once at Denham, there’s no shortage of quaint yet high quality accommodation.

How about the Falcon Inn, a former 16th century Inn converted into a lovely old bed and breakfast, with attic rooms featuring exposed beams and a view over the Denham Village Green.

The amenities at the Falcon Inn are first class, with superb food and every opportunity to mingle with the locals and feel part of the village atmosphere.

At Denham, you can meander along the local ‘Bridleways’ – and an ‘easy access route – to the Colne, Misborne and Fray’s rivers and take a short stroll to the Grand Union Canal that passes close to the village.

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Part of the extensive network of canals constructed across England and Wales in the late 18th Century, the waterway allows visitors to soak up a gentler pace of life and watch sleek and colourful narrow boats as they negotiate the Denham Deep Lock.

With a fall of almost 3.5 metres, the Denham lock is said to be the deepest on the Grand Union Canal and is fascinating to watch in action.

You can get ringside seats at Fran’s Tea Garden, which is located in part of the eye-catching Lock Keeper’s House. Here, it’s possible to sit back with a cuppa and marvel at the boats passing almost within reach.

The teahouse, which is literally surrounded by water and wildlife, is clearly marked with a novelty weather vane that features a teapot and a cup.

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Denham  Deep Lock is a highlight of the Colne Valley Regional Park, a magnet for wildlife lovers, walkers and others exploring one of England’s environmental jewells.

In our next post, we’ll ramble down the many paths, bridges and walkways that make up this wonderful park and discover the swans, waterbirds and the impressive community effort that keeps the area open for our enjoyment.

Village rambling

Just along from the lock there is an aquaduct, used to create an artificial river loop. Locals say the loop once supplied water to six flourmills.

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Back in Denham village, you can explore the grounds of Saint Mary’s church, which includes the graves of well known British actor, Sir John Mills CBE and his wife , the writer Mary Hayley Bell.

In the heart of the village is a walkway called The Pyghtle, a quaint Anglo Saxon word meaning a small enclosure of land.

The tarmac footpath on The Pyghtle links the village with nearby Denham railway station which, in turn, has direct services to London Marylebone station – another example of the village’s convenient location.

If you are so inclined, a stay at Denham can coincide with another  phenomenon, the ‘roundabout’ carboot market.

Each Saturday between March and November (weather permitting) buyers and sellers from a wide area of southern England gather at a nearby roundabout on the A40.  Although far from a traditional village experience, this unorthodox market is certainly an experience just the same.

And, when your time at Denham comes to a close, you can farewell the locals satisfied that the English village dream has come true within a relatively tight schedule and without driving you to exhaustion.

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Although Denham has largely stood still since the early 20th century, its location on the edge of London and close to Heathrow Airport opens the door to an English village experience, with the minimum of stress and the maximum of enjoyment.

Denham is truly a memorable destination.

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