Designed by David Chipperfield Architects to reflect the style of local boathouses and barns, Henley's family-friendly museum explores the history of the Thames, the sport of rowing and the community of Henley-on-Thames and makes a good out-of-town jaunt. The rowing gallery has video footage of races from 1897 onwards, including what is believed to be the first cinematic show reel and a recording of the 1936 Olympics race won by the GB team and watched by Hitler.
A virtual reality exhibit allows visitors to experience the cox's view of a race, but the top attraction is probably the Sydney IV boat in which Steve Redgrave won his fifth Olympic gold medal in 2000 – visitors apparently never fail to comment on the size of the rowers' shoes, which are still in the boat. In time for London 2012, the special exhibition 'Perfect Rower: 100 Years of Racing for Glory' gathers artefacts from the previous London Olympic Games in 1908 and 1948 and looks at how the design, technology, training and psychology of the sport has changed over the last century (Mar 31-Sept 30). A permanent exhibition on the 'Wind in the Willows' portrays Kenneth's Grahame's story (and costs extra).