Henley-on-Thames Just 9 miles from our bed and breakfast in Benson is Henley-on-Thames, well known internationally for its annual Rowing Regatta which attracts the world's best sportsmen. Henley boasts a long straight section of river ideally suited to professional rowing events and has long been regarded as the home of English Rowing. Just down the river at Marlow-on-Thames lives Sir Steve Redgrave who won gold in 5 successive Olympic Games, an international record. His fame is immortalised by a statue of him in Higginson Park, Marlow, unveiled by the Queen. Statues of Sir Steve and Sir Matthew Pinsent greet visitors to Henley's award winning River and Rowing Museum. Henley, a pretty market town with a population of 10,000, has many other attractions. The town's prosperity goes back to the 12th century as river trade developed because of the town's position. Today there is a comfortable mix of architectural styles spanning the centuries with many interesting features. Ashort distance from the riverbank is Henley town centre with its historic church, town hall and market square, the latter bustling with busy stall-holders and shoppers on market days. They also enjoy browsing the town's many boutiques. Henley also attracts golfers to local courses, is home to the nationally known Henley Hawks rugby club and successful cricket and football clubs as well as a privately-owned polo ground. The stretch of river between the regatta finish and Henley Bridge is the location for the annual Henley Festival of Music and Arts. Now a popular hospitality venue it attracts some of the world´s top entertainers to perform on a floating stage in front of a dinner-jacketed audience and the site includes exhibitions of art and sculpture. The thriving Kenton Theatre is one of the oldest performing theatres in the country. The town is home to a number of small curiosity and antique shops that are sure to spark your interest. Visitors can enjoy a boat trip down the regatta course, either in one of the commercial boats that operate along this stretch or, rather more energetically, in a rowing boat. Afterwards they can relax in the well-maintained Mill Meadows public park. Another form of enjoyment is the opportunity to enjoy a meal in one of Henley's many and varied restaurants and in April 2006 the Market Place and Town Hall hosted a two-day Henley Food Festival.