December in Henley-on-Thames
22nd November 2013
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There will be lots going on in Henley this December in the run up to Christmas. So I thought that I would write a blog bringing all the information together in one place.

First up is award winning Living Advent Calendar  Running for the first 24 days of December the Living Advent Calendar has different performers at different venues in and around Henley. The performances are at 6.15pm each evening and who the artists are going to be are kept a secret. So like a normal advent calendar every one attending the performance gets a surprise. The Best of Henley Events pages have  Google Maps of all the venues. 

The hosting venue works with anothe sponsor to provide food and drink at the venue. The idea is to keep the audiences warm and fed on what can be chilly December evenings.

Henley is the first town in the UK to hold a living advent calendar. The idea was brought to Henley by Julie Perigo after seeing it performed in Sweden. Julie is Chair of the Henley Partnership and she thought that it would be a great way of boosting the town in the run up to Xmas. The LAC has proved so popular over the last two years that is has now won a few awards. Most recently the LAC  won the regional business and economy and partnership and strategic working category in the Towns Alive! Awards, and was one of only three national finalists in the Association of Town Centre Management Awards. 

The Living Calendar is free to attend, with a raffle being held each night to raise money for charities. This year the chosen charities are Henley Youth Centre, the Regatta for the Disabled, Fourbirdsaboating and the Royal British Legion’s Poppy Appeal.

 Henley's Late Night Shopping Event will this year be held on 6th December with roads through Henley closed from late afternoon onwards.

Henley celebrates the start of the Christmas period with a Festival of seasonal entertainment, fun fair rides, late night shopping, carol singing and dazzling lights. This is always a very popular evening and its great to see families enjoying the traffic free roads.

Timetable of Events

5pm Children's Illuminated Procession through the town

5.30 - 9pm Santa's Grotto will be open at the Kings Arms Barn and the Chocolate Theatre Company will be serving hot chocolate in the courtyard to families.

7pm The Mayor with the winner of the Mayor's Christmas Card contest turn on the Christmas Tree Lights

7.10pm Carol Singing in Market Square accompanied by The Marlow Town Band and the local Invesco Perpetual Choir. The festival will feature an illuminated parade through a joint initiative with the River and Rowing Museum and is supported by Hotel du Vin.

For the fifth year running, Henley's premier personal training gym, 'Expert Fitness Studio' of Bell Street, Henley will be holding their annual spinathon at the Henley Town Christmas Fair. Our stand will be in it's usual place outside Starbucks and we will be serving warm mulled wine and mince pies for a contribution to our chosen children's charity Sparks ( Please drop in and say hello and support us on the night, we look forward to seeing you there.



On the following Sunday 8th December there is to be a Santa Fun Run from the from the River & Rowing Museum. In aid of the Mayor's Fund that supports local charities the run is only 2 miles long and the course is out and back to the museum. The fun starts at 10.00am and there will be soup and mince pies served at the end of the run.



Over at the Kenton Theatre there are two different pantomimes this December. The first is Aladdin from 19th to 28th December and secondly Dick Whittington from 30th to 5th January.

The Kenton does have a performance of the Nutcracker Ballet on Sunday 8th December by the Ballet Theatre.


On Tuesday 10th December Henley Choral Society are performing a Christmas Fanfare with help from  top brass ensemble Chaconne Brass. . See Full details here 


On 1st December Love Henley are holding a Christmas Market at the Hotel du Vin in New Street.

 The market will feature high quality local produce, beautiful bespoke jewellery, free range and organic meats, smoked fish and cheeses, English wines, beers and liqueurs, handmade cakes and sweets,
pickles and jams, stunning handmade woodwork, local cards, artisan mosaics, fine clothes, music, vinyl, high end gifts and sustainable cosmetics.

Visit the River & Rowing Museum for some family Christmas fun on 14th December from 10.30am until 4.00pm 

Join in with Mr Toad and his friends Ratty, Mole and Badger as they celebrate Christmas with crafts, activities, songs, dance…and presents! Find out what happens to wildlife in the winter.

Most suitable for under 10s

Museum admission + £3 per child 


Also happening at the Museum in December.

 Sunday 1 December – Free family fun at the Museum – storytime, dressing up and museum trail, with appearances from Mr Toad! Free with museum admission

Thursday 5 December – Living Advent Calendar. Looking forward to participating in the town’s festive celebrations, and will be offering a 20% discount in the shop on the eveningWednesday 11 December –

Wednesday Club Christmas lunch – please call Margaret Thomas to book a place for you and your friends – 01491 415609

Friday 13 December – Charity Coffee morning. We will be raising money for the inspirational crew of Row2Recovery, the military charity aiming to raise awareness of and funds for servicemen living with life changing injuries.


Christmas Farmers' Markets are being held on Wednesday 18th December and Sunday 22nd December in the Market Place from 8.30am until 2.00pm

Traditional Carol Service at St. Mary's Church, Hart Street, from 6.30pm on Christmas Eve.


About the Author

Gill and Phil C

Member since: 9th July 2012

Hi, We are Phil and Gill Chappell. We own the Best of Henley-on-Thames. We live in Henley so would love to hear your views and opinions about all things Henley.

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