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  • Henley Royal Regatta Etiquette Guide


    Henley Royal Regatta is a rowing event held annually on the River Thames by the town of Henley-on-Thames. The regatta lasts for five days, ending on the first weekend in July. Races are head-to-head knock out competitions raced over a course of 1 mile and 550 yards. A wide range of rowers, from Olympians to amateur oarsmen, are sent from all over the world. Rowing clubs from countries including Australia, Netherlands and China as well as prestigious universities such as Harvard, Yale and Durham will be racing.

    If you’re going this year, here’s an etiquette guide to all things Henley.


    Henley River



    Situated on the Berkshire bank, opposite the finish line, the Stewards' Enclosure is reserved for members and their guests only.


    Ladies Style Guide

    • Dresses or skirts with a hemline below the knee
    • Divided skirts, culottes or trousers of any kind are not permitted
    • Whilst not a requirement, it is customary for ladies to wear hats


    Gentlemen Style Guide

    • Lounge suits, or jackets or blazers with flannels, together with a tie or cravat
    • Shorts or jeans are not permitted


    What to wear to Henley Regatta



    If it’s your first time, it’s a good idea to go armed with some knowledge of the event:

    • Henley was established on 26th March 1839
    • The regatta pre-dates any national or international rowing organisation
    • The most prestigious event at the regatta is the Grand Challenge Cup for Men's Eights
    • The regatta is organised by a self-electing body of Stewards, who are largely former rowers themselves
    • It is regarded as part of the English social season
    • Each event in the regatta takes the form of a knockout competition


    Henley Regatta Enclosure



    Many people choose to bring a picnic to the event, as there are plenty of places to stop and enjoy it along the Thames. Just remember that you will not be allowed to bring your own food into the enclosures. You’re also not allowed to bring in your empty hamper, so make sure you have somewhere to leave your basket.

    If you would rather buy food on arrival, there are plenty of food and drink options depending on your enclosure:

    The Upper Thames has a buffet lunch.
    The Remenham Club serves coffee and Danish pastries in the mornings and a full lunch provided by the clubhouse.
    The Regatta enclosure has a bar and catering behind the grandstand.
    Stewards has several eateries on site including the Oyster bar, the main restaurant and cream teas throughout the day.
    The Leander Club has a three-course lunch.


    Henley Regatta Enclosure



    • The total cost of staging the five-day regatta is now almost £3,000,000
    • It is one of the few major sporting events with no reliance on commercial sponsorship
    • Spectators can watch up to 90 races in a single day
    • The regatta has been known as Henley Royal Regatta since 1851 when Prince Albert became the first royal patron
    • For most of its history, Henley has only been open to male competitors however in 1979 the Committee announced an event for women


    Henley Spectators



    The regatta runs this year from Wednesday July 4th until Sunday July 8th.

    If you’re getting the train there, a special timetable means frequent services will be operating between London Paddington and Henley for the duration of the event. There will also be a late-night bus service operated by Reading Buses that travels from Henley to Reading on Friday and Saturday night.

    As there is limited parking on site, drivers are asked to book in advance, more information on which can be found here.


    How to get to Henley



    If you’re looking to make your Henley experience that extra bit special, these hotels are all close to the river:



    See you at the regatta.