Henley Beach (named after Henley-on-Thames in England) is an Adelaide beach-side suburb which, as the name suggests has a beach, and an excellent one at that, part of a 30km plus beautiful white sand beach which runs from Outer Harbor south to Brighton and beyond. Henley Beach is one of many seaside resorts on Gulf St Vincent and one of my favourites – genteel yet modern.
The rather well healed suburb, from a visitor perspective, is centred around a small square, Henley Beach Square which is pretty much lined, on three sides, with restaurants.
These include Estia, a quality Greek restaurant at which I had lunch – highly recommended (picture 3). Less than fifty metres south on Seaview Road is a branch of Royal Copenhagen Ice Creamery and Dessert Bar – delicious and a firm favourite of mine. Royal Copenhagen ice-cream can also be procured at Brighton, Glenelg, and Semaphore. Alas the Adelaide City store, like the parrot on Monty Python, is no more.
Talking of eating, which I don’t write much about in my reviews, I also recently ate at another restaurant in Henley Beach, Evida Café at 269 Seaview Rd (not on the square). While having decent sea views, from its window seats, we had to wait ages for what was overpriced and poor quality food.
Like all the other resorts along the Gulf St Vincent, Henley Beach has a nice jetty – great for a walk and it becomes a welcome refuge (under it) from the sun on a hot day. Sadly gone, lost in a storm in 1945, is the old Henley Beach Pavilion (with its three floors of Devonshire teas, fine music, and ocean views) which used to adorn the end of the Jetty.
Also gone is the tramway and railway line which used to connect Henley Beach with the city centre. The train now terminates at Grange about 20 minutes beautiful walk, north along the esplanade. Along this highly recommended walk, just as you leave Henley Beach you will come across some (in fact 30 of them along the way) beautiful mosaics. See my separate review – Mosaics on the Rocks.
A great way to get to Henley Beach is to cycle there from the city centre, around 15kms one way (or from the foothills of the Adelaide Hills – approx 37 kms one way – if you are up to it), along the River Torrens cycle path which meets the sea a couple of kilometres south of Henley Beach Square. See my separate review on the River Torrens Linear Trail. If you don’t want to ride back to the City, ride up to Grange Station and take the train which permits bicycles – concession fare during peak times, free in non-peak times.
Henley Beach is a lot quieter and more refined (if I may use that word in a non pretentious way) than Glenelg a little further to the south and has better dining options than Semaphore to the north, but less of historical interest. It’s really a matter of what you are after and even your mood on a particular day – all the resorts along Gulf St Vincent have something different to offer and are very worthy a visit.