The River and Rowing museum celebrates three themes: the past, the present, and the future of the river Thames, the historic riverside community of Henley-on-Thames, and the international sport of rowing.
Since it opened to the public in August 1998, the Museum has received numerous awards for its design and architecture, including the National Heritage/NPI Museum of the Year award. The Museum is also a recognised centre for the arts and has hosted a number of high profile art exhibitions as part of its on-going programme of special exhibitions and related talks.
A new exhibition, The Wind in the Willows, opened at the River and Rowing Museum in May 2004. It features Ratty, Badger, and Mr. Toad from Kenneth Grahame’s book of the same name. E.H. Shepard’s famous illustrations are brought to life via 3-D models in the interactive walk-through exhibit. The charming exhibit is popular with both adults and children.
The museum has many interactive exhibits and av presentations. The Rowing Gallery spans the time from Greece to the Olympics to today with interesting details about the boats and the rowers. A partial model of a Greek trireme, a three level rowing ship, is set up to allow visitors to try their hand at rowing. More information is available on the gondolas of Venice, lifeboats, and London’s water taxis. Models of seats, materials, and oars make for interesting details.
The Thames Gallery gives the sights and sounds of the river from its source down to the barriers. On display are copies of artwork showing the Thames. Living on the river—milling and fishing—are covered. There is a locks and lock keepers display. The Henley Town Gallery shows a speeded up movie of a day in the life of its famous Royal Regatta, begun in 1839.
Open: daily from 10am-5pm, until 5.30pm May-Aug
Admission prices: £6 for adults and £4 for children, £5 for senior citizens and concessions.
Tel. 01491 415600
Website: Henley River and Rowing Museum
Henley-on-Thames Tourist Information Centre
King's Arms Barn
Tel. 01491 578034
Local buses serve Henley and the surrounding area
Insider tip: The self-service restaurant has delicious, freshly prepared food. An attached outdoor patio overlooks the river. The museum is easily reached by train from London. Head right out of the train station, take a right at the first street and ignore the signs to the museum. Instead keep walking straight ahead to the river, then turn right along the scenic river path to the museum. Even if you have never rowed a boat, this museum has enough to interest you for a couple of hours. Time your visit to include lunch, if possible.
Photo credits: Henley on Thames bridge and museum exterior courtesy Henley Tourist Information Centre at Visit Henley
Other photos courtesy River and Rowing Museum
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