It’s not often that Yara and I go to a museum which has THE perfect balance between children’s exhibits and ones more for the adults. Yet the River & Rowing Museum in picturesque Henley on Thames has hit the nail on the head, and then some.
I was invited down to do a review of their vast space by the river Thames and as it was a cloudy day, there was nothing better for Yara to do than to wander the long and airy upper space of this museum.
Although this part was all about the history of rowing and boats (which I loved reading all about it), Yara was able to run around freely and touch and feel many of the exhibits.
She also gave a rowing machine a go, which was funny and there was even a whole display about water consumption which is excellent in teaching kids about saving water.
Yara was also given an Easter Egg trail (running till the 21st April) to follow which kept her entertained. We then ventured downstairs to the Clangers, Bagpuss & Co exhibition. The beautiful thing was there was a table containing colouring pages and a few books and jigsaw puzzles -very attractive for the kids and Yara was straight in there doing the puzzle.
Also, did you know that the Clangers go way back to the 1960’s?! It explains a lot about how weird and wonderful this show still is. We also saw the real Bagpuss; not a show Yara had ever seen but I remember it from back in the 90’s.
The museum also has an exhibition on the ‘Wind in the Willows’. It was simply fantastic how all the displays were made, so colourful and expressive. There was also a big caravan that Yara went into and played in.
The only thing I would suggest is read the book beforehand or get the FREE audio guide (which I forgot to do). I had missed the book in my childhood and felt a bit clueless seeing this exhibit but immediately went home and looked up the story. But I’m sure Yara will do it at some point in school.
Lunch was served at the Wild Fork Cafe in the museum and you get a 10% discount with your entrance ticket, which is always a nice gesture. Since we went in at 1pm, the service was a bit chaotic as it was quite busy but once it had calmed down, the service improved. Yara had a perfectly sized burger and i had a deliciously healthy salad (did I tell you I was doing SlimmingWorld?!) and I paid about £20 for both meals which is not too bad.
The only downfall for now is the museum shop – it was a bit limited in space and felt a bit dull and grey. But the good news is the whole entrance and shop are getting a revamp – the builders were there hammering it out as we were visiting so I’m sure in weeks to come, that whole area will be transformed and I am told a special London designer is involved in ‘beautifying’ it…so watch this space!
The one thing I didn’t know about coming to this lovely museum is that it has FREE parking! And if you’ve ever been to Henley on a busy weekend, you’ll find this parking heavenly, saving you the hassle of battling for spaces. Want another bonus? Your admission ticket is valid for a 12-month re-entry…you’re welcome!
As you will see from the interviews I did with Claire Woods, Marketing & Communications Assistant and a couple of visitors at the museum (click here for the WycMum Facebook page), this place is a must-see for anyone fond of the history of our river Thames, rowing or just boats in general. Believe me, your children will thank you and will learn something along the way too…can’t go wrong with that!
Have a Happy Easter!