River & Rowing Museum (Wind in the Willows)

River & Rowing Museum (Wind in the Willows)

Oxfordshire

Kenneth Grahame

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There’s nothing as pleasant, when the ‘wind is in the willows’, as messing about in boats. This is especially true when drifting along the Thames and enjoying the scenery that inspired Kenneth Grahame's children's classic story.

The Wind in the Willows, so magically told by Kenneth Grahame, comes to life in an exhibition in the River and Rowing Museum at Henley on Thames, Oxfordshire.  Pick up an audio guide and step into Chapter One.

Kenneth Grahame's much loved Wind in the Willows characters jump of the pages as you turn each corner – Ratty, Mole, Badger and Mr Toad of Toad Hall. The scenes are delightfully true to the book’s illustrations by E. H. Shepard.  His other works included The Relunctant Dragon which like the Wind in the Willows was adapted for the stage and film.

Outside some lovely walks along the River Thames await, from where you can observe many more related sites. Mapledurham House near Reading in Berkshire is reputed to have been the inspiration for E. H. Shepard's illustrations of Kenneth Grahame's Toad Hall.

Mapledurham House is today open to the public and located within the grounds is the Mapledurham Watermill. Be sure to enjoy the riverside – but don’t expect to see Kenneth Grahame's preposterous Mr Toad lurking about.

Further down the river is the village of Cookham in Berkshire where Kenneth Grahame lived. Nearby is Bisham Wood, said to be the inspiration for the Wild Woods in the Wind in the Willows – and beyond that, as Grahame warns us, is the Wide World.  

Kenneth died in Pangbourne, Berkshire and is buried in Holywell cemetery in Oxford.

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