Mill Meadows, Henley-on-Thames RG9 1BF

The river and rowing museum, opened in 1998, celebrates all aspects of the river Thames and life on and by the river, and it has swiftly risen to become one of the UK’s leading independent museums, attracting over a hundred thousand visitors per year. It has twice been shortlisted for family friendly museum of the year (kids love the Wind in the Willows exhibit) and it does a lot of work in education and conservation.

It’s no surprise that a museum in Henley should have a great deal about the international sport of rowing, and there are many fine exhibits, information points and pieces of memorabilia dedicated to it, the rowing gallery includes:

  • Six communities who relied on the oar for their livelihood
  • A race at the Henley Royal Regatta in 360° panoramic vision
  • Rowing across the world, and throughout the centuries
  • Races at the Olympics, Boat Race, etc.
  • Professional rowers, sports stars of their day
  • Coaches and boat builders whose work has allowed champions to flourish
  • Racing craft spanning 200 years of design and innovation

But probably the most popular pieces are about the Thames itself, tracking it from its source at Kimble, all the way to the sea. The history of the Thames is of course the history of not only London, but also rural life in Southern England, so there’s much for the whole family to learn and enjoy.

Kenneth Graham’s masterpiece “The Wind in the Willows occupies its own gallery, and young and old can immerse themselves in the exploits of ratty, Badger, Moley and Mr Toad.

There’s an extensive collection of art dedicated to the river, and a crowdfunded gallery was opened in 2017 to display the works.

Invesco Perpetual Henley Gallery

This gallery details the history of Henley from the Iron Age coin hoard up to today, and is well worth a look.