The riverside village beloved of Jerome K Jerome and George Clooney is home to a swish bar and restaurant and, now, characterful but good-value bedrooms to match
It is obligatory, when writing about the Thames-side village of Sonning, to quote Jerome K Jerome. In his 1889 novel Three Men in a Boat he said: “It is the most fairy-like little nook on the whole river. It is more like a stage village than one built of bricks and mortar.” It has retained these charms but now there is another name to drop: George Clooney. He and his wife, Amal, bought a £10m house here in 2014. They are the latest in a long line of celebrity residents of this village four miles east of Reading, from Terence Rattigan to, er, Uri Geller.
I arrive expecting to see Clooneys around every corner. Alas, it isn’t to be: perhaps they are in one of their other houses, in LA, Lake Como, or Mexico … But enough celeb-stalking; I’m here to check out the Great House at Sonning, which reopened in May after a major refurbishment. The main building is a Grade II-listed Elizabethan inn, with gardens spilling down to the river. There are more rooms around the courtyard – 49 in all, from “cosy” to suites.