Top 5 Historical Outings in Maidenhead, Henley & Wallingford

We are lucky enough to live in a beautiful part of the world with amazing history to explore. Here are some of our favourites...

Sir Nicholas Winton Memorial Garden, Maidenhead.

Sir Nicholas Winton Memorial Garden

Sir Nicholas Winton MBE was a British humanitarian who helped to rescue 669 mainly Jewish Czech children who were at risk from oppression by Nazi Germany. He arranged transporting the children to Britain, finding homes and sponsors for them, which was later known as the Czech Kindertransport (German for “children’s transport”). His act of bravery  was uncommon knowledge until the TV show That’s Life in 1988, told his story and reunited him with many of the children he saved.

On a personal note, Sir Nicholas also founded a local support organisation – Maidenhead Mencap – after the death of his youngest child, Robin from meningitis. And another local fact, to celebrate his 100th birthday, Winton flew over the White Waltham Airfield in a microlight piloted by Judy Leden, the daughter of one of the boys he saved.

The following quote, is memorialised in a plaque in the park and whilst this quote is so fitting for the amazing good Sir Nicholas did in his lifetime, it also is somewhat fitting for our amazing care team, who support people, enabling them to stay living well in their own homes – doing good every day.

“Active Goodness is the giving of one’s time and energy in the alleviation of pain and suffering rather than the passive goodness of merely doing no wrong.”

Spending a majority of his life in maidenhead, there is a beautiful memorial garden in Oaken Grove Park, which was opened by Theresa May in 2017. It’s well worth a visit – the park has easy parking and a small refreshments booth.

The Maidenhead Heritage Centre, Maidenhead.

The Maidenhead Heritage Centre, located in central Maidenhead, explores the history of Maidenhead and its surroundings, including the Air Transport Auxiliary (ATA), which was headquartered at White Waltham airfield during World War II. This includes artifacts from Stone Age to modern times.

The Story of Maidenhead exhibition allows you to explore Maidenhead’s history, from before the Romans to Vanwall racing cars, aeroplanes, Hammer Horror films and scandals at Cliveden. Don’t miss the Roman skeleton, buried near Bray about 1600 years ago.

‘Grandma flew Spitfires’ is the only exhibition in the world dedicated solely to the Air Transport Auxiliary (ATA), one of the forgotten stories of World War II.  Enjoy photographs, documents, pilots’ logbooks and interviews with veterans.

A visitor highlight must be the Spitfire Simulator Experience (must be pre booked on 01628 780555 but can be same day if available) With the replica flight controls and wide screen pilot view, the Spitfire Simulator Experience has been described as a ‘great activity for all the family’ and ‘the best fun in town’.  The simulator is suitable for ‘pilots’ aged 8 or over – the oldest person to fly it (so far!) was 97! Fly over London, Paris, New York or Sydney as you open the throttle and listen to the roar of the iconic Merlin engine, you will travel back in time and become one of those famous Spitfire pilots of World War II.

We know some of our clients may have memories from these times so would highly recommend a visit – our care team are always happy to arrange and escort on days out!

Cliveden House, Berkshire.

Cliveden House has always had a rather colourful past from day one. Built in 1666 by the 2nd. Duke of Buckingham for his mistress, Cliveden has been home to scandals, powerful personalities and big iconic parties. Now a 5* hotel, we can all experience some of its glamour – it is a remarkable looking building – by enjoying some of its 376 acres, running along the River Thames. Visitors to this National Trust gem can enjoy its beautiful gardens, marvel at stunning buildings, outhouses, water fountains and enjoy food in the lovely coffee houses and restaurants available.

Cliveden is perhaps most famous as the meeting place of John Profumo and Christine Keeler, who embarked on an illicit affair which was to force his resignation, irrevocably damaging the Prime Minister’s reputation and impact on the course of British politics forever.

Many a famous face has graced the grounds of Cliveden – Shirley Bassey celebrated her 80th birthday there and you can even stay the night at Spring Cottage, where Queen Victoria and the Duchess of Sutherland would take afternoon tea.

A trip to Cliveden can fill a good day out and access for those who are not so mobile is easy. Like most National Trust properties, you do need to pay to enter the grounds.

The River & Rowing Museum, Henley On Thames.

The River & Rowing Museum  in Henley opened in 1998. Located alongside the river in central Henley (don’t worry – there is plenty of parking in Mill Meadows car park) the museum is popular with all ages, thanks to its Wind in the Willows exhibition, the Community Gallery, showcasing local work and projects as well as the John Piper gallery, celebrating the life and work of this internationally renowned artist.

The Museum partners with the National Portrait Gallery, the V&A and the Hayward Gallery in London, displaying their temporary and travelling exhibitions.

There is also a delightful café with a terrace overlooking Mill Meadows, and a shop specialising in children’s books and games, fashion and craft.

And you can end your visit with either a walk around Henley’s lovely boutique shops or a stroll along the river which has easy access for all. We have many clients in Henley so a stroll along the river with an ice cream stop is a firm favourite on trips out with our care team.

The Cholsey Wallingford Heritage Railway, Wallingford.

Something for all you train fanatics now. The Cholsey Wallingford Heritage Railway  first opened in 1866. The Cholsey Wallingford Heritage trainline runs a round trip lasting 45mins from Wallingford to Cholsey. The scenery is beautiful as the steam or diesel engine train moves through the South Oxfordshire countryside. The coaches date back to the 1950s. Trains run on weekends and bank holidays. A ride on a train like this is a trip down memory lane for many of our clients who enjoy to reminisce whilst spending time on steam trains like this.

The locomotive passed Cholsey Church, where Agatha Christie is buried, and as with everywhere it seems in Oxfordshire & Berkshire these days, spot the Red Kites flying over the fields. While in Wallingford, visitors can walk just 10mins from the station to the River Thames, or to Wallingford Castle ruins as well as enjoy all the shops and cafes in Wallingford.