News | Henley Royal Regatta - Rowing & Relaxation

News | Henley Royal Regatta - Rowing & Relaxation

So this year’s Regatta has arrived, as has the crazy traffic, but despite the odd cloud the mood is still bright and the ladies and gents are arriving in their best. The town is rarely so packed than when Henley Royal Regatta arrives. Used to around 11,000 people - seeing around 200,000 visitors descending on the small town of Henley-on-Thames makes for a great atmosphere, with blazers and bubbly a plenty.

Talking of bubbly…  I remember a knowledgeable local Henley gentleman and customer once told me that Henley Regatta was in fact originally a drinking festival! Apparently after some years they felt they had best give it a bit more of a ‘purpose’ rather than it just revolve around drinking, so they introduced rowing and the Regatta was born! True? Who Knows? ….and some might say that not much has actually changed from those 'days of yore' to now, but everyone certainly still enjoys themselves!

Henley’s first recorded history was 1179 when the town survived an outbreak of the Black Death when it lost 60% of its population, but now of course it’s best known for the Regatta and it’s beautiful setting. The Thames itself is the longest stretch of river in England with Henley’s north stretch being one of the straightest sections thus naturally makes it ideal for rowing.

1839 saw the start of Henley Regatta which grew so much in popularity over the years that it went from its original one day event to the five day event it is today. It then became known as Henley Royal regatta since 1851 when Prince Albert, married to Queen Victoria, became the first royal patron and since his death, every reigning monarch has agreed to be the patron.


(Image Source: Francis Frith Henley Regatta 1890)


The Edwardian era and therefore style has left its mark and the Steward’s enclosure at The Royal Regatta still has a strict dress code. Blazers, jackets and ties for the gents and dresses or skirts below the knee for the ladies – so ladies in trousers or culottes beware as you will not be admitted!

But for those not into dressing up, many bag themselves a great front-row seat from a boat on the river itself. You can actually boat-hop from one side of the river to the other when the river is at its busiest… if you dare… or have had enough of the aforementioned bubbly.


(Image Source: © copyright CJ Holding 2017)

With several bars and restaurants which line the river you can make yourself comfortable to watch the various rowing event races for both men and women over the course of five days. With approximately 200 races in various classes there’s certainly lots to see and much to do! Rowers from clubs all over the world come together, with University teams represented as well as there being a strong association with Olympians past and present. Henley’s own Gold Medallist Sir Steve Redgrave is now Chairman of the event.


(Image Source: Superstars


So why not cruise your way to Henley to catch a glimpse of the last few days of this spectacularly unique event that is Henley Royal Regatta and you’ll be sure to have a great time whatever your age or interest.


© CJ, Stitch & Ware