Wylde World: The Chequers, Marlow

Report and photography by Etienne Gilfillan

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A beautiful weir, as there is in Bath. A stately chain bridge like Budapest's (designed by the same architect, no less.). And an Ivy Café, as you'd find in London.

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Marlow is a town that definitely aims to impress. A quaint English village with a smattering of chic high street shops, Marlow has as much history as it does exclusive brands, not to mention beautiful riverside views coupled with elegant listed architecture.

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The town's past inhabitants include poet Percy Shelley, and his wife Mary – who completed her Frankenstein novel in a cottage that still bears their name – as well as TS Eliot, who lived there during WW1. More recent residents include Robbie Williams and Heston Blumenthal, and Marlow’s centre certainly reflects the gentrification of its population. Space NK and the White Company rub shoulders with stylish restaurants including the aforementioned Ivy Garden Café, and Tom Kerridge’s Coach. 

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However if you’ve come to Marlow to escape all the trappings of modern life and intend to do it in style, there’s only one place that really feels like a step back in time, with today's luxuries. Chequers, a 19th century historic building with tons of period character, immediately embraces you with its warm, country-house ambience; its wooden-timbered interior a comforting space in which to wind down.

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Locals obviously feel very much at home here, the bar was chock full on a Wednesday night, with guests spilling over into the adjoining Churchill tap Whiskey bar, established in the 17th century and still retaining much of its historic feel.

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Chequers restaurant has an equally convivial atmosphere. The menu offers a special Butcher’s Block steak section, with Fillet, Sirloin and even Chateaubriand to choose from. Service was friendly and welcoming, more like going to your local favourite gastro-pub than some high end formal restaurant, all adding to the charm and glow of the place.

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Rooms at The Chequers didn’t disappoint either. Despite the hotel’s old-fashioned interiors, its bedrooms felt spacious and modern while retaining elements of the building’s historic charm thanks to a clever mix of bespoke furniture, quirky antiques and contemporary fittings.

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The bathroom was a delight; immaculate and designed with the sophisticated traveller in mind, offering both a stand-alone, old-fashioned tub and modern power shower. A special mention needs to be made about the beds:  incredibly comfortable and great to collapse into after a day of shopping and sightseeing.

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At only an hour and ten minutes away from Paddington, Chequers certainly feels like the perfect antidote to the stress of London life, a cosy hideaway in an idyllic village setting. Thoroughly recommended!


53 High St,




01628 482 053