Located in the south of Oxfordshire, Henley-on-Thames is a traditional town that lies on the north side of the River Thames, about 10 miles northeast of the larger town of Reading. Established in the 12th century, the town is relatively small, with a population of about 10,500; however, its numbers swell in the summer season as visitors arrive for the annual boating regatta for which the town is famous nationwide and even worldwide.
The town is home to quite a few historic structures, with Henley Bridge being one of the most famous. This five arched structure was built in 1786 and features on many picture postcards of the area. Meanwhile, the magnificent church of St Mary, which can be seen from around the town, is a short distance away and features a tower that dates back to the 16th century. About a mile up the river, visitors will find the old Marsh Lock, which is worth seeing for its unusual horse bridge.
If boating is your thing, then July is without a doubt the best time to visit Henley. Stretching over five days, starting on the first weekend of the month, Henley Royal Regatta is a rowing event which draws spectators in their thousands, who come to see crews from all over the world compete for the prestigious Grand Challenge Cup. Visitors can view the proceedings from Thames River locations along the Berkshire side of the river or from the Regatta Enclosure, located next to the Steward’s Enclosure.
Henley’s main museum is appropriately themed around rowing; the River and Rowing Museum opened in 1998 and is situated in Mill Meadows and features displays that provide information on the Thames River, the town of Henley and the sport of rowing. The museum is set in an award-winning building which was designed by modernist architect David Chipperfield.