A guide to Henley Royal Regatta

Henley Royal Regatta is one of the most prestigious rowing events in the world and we are lucky enough that the Club’s own rowing section are competing this year. So, with that mind here is a brief guide to Henley royal regatta:

Getting there:
Trains or the Elizabeth line run frequently from Paddington. Change at Twyford to take the “regatta line” to Henley on Thames, traditionally this runs half hourly during regatta week.

Section Event:
On the Saturday of Henley, the East India Club will have a gazebo in the Henley Cricket Club Fields from the lunch break onwards. Please contact eicrowingsocial@gmail.com for more information.

Henley Regatta is broadly split into the two sides of the riverbank.
The “Berks” or Berkshire side is the side with the Steward’s Enclosure and the side most rowers congregate as it has Leander club, the Boat Tent, most Club Enclosures / Marquees. It’s also the best place to see the start of the races up close. A narrow foot path runs along with the “village” shopping area that sells rowing accessories and kit. There are bars along the route along with other refreshments like the Pimm’s or Nyetimber bus and the main camping area.

The “Bucks” side of the bank is where our reciprocal Phyllis Court is. On this side of the bank, you traditionally find corporate hospitality with marquees and pleasurer cruisers or some rowing clubs as the amount of space you have is linked to the mooring you hire. We personally recommend staying on the “Berks” side and avoiding PCC.

The only crossing point is the bridge past the finish line so make sure you have comfortable shoes and remember it is not a short walk to the start. Races start at the furthest point from the town’s bridge called Temple Island and race toward Leander club. (https://www.hrr.co.uk/about/regatta-course/)

The Stewards’ Enclosure is the most exclusive area of the regatta and offers an incredible experience. To gain entry, you’ll need to be a member of Stewards, obtain an invitation, or find a friendly rower from the Section social group chat that will lend or sell their pass. A strict dress code applies. There are however different levels of enclosure. There is also the Remenham Club about ¼ mile from the finish and Leander Club beyond the finish where a few of us our members and Leander. It pays to hunt around for the best pitcher of Pimm’s, although you can’t take a drink from outside into the enclosure (https://www.hrr.co.uk/frequently-asked-questions/#dress-code).

Witness the Start:
To truly appreciate the skill and intensity of rowing, position yourself near the starting line. The best vantage points are near Temple Island or the Upper Thames Rowing Club, where you can watch the crews prepare and witness the races start.
Picnic by the River:
It is quiet traditional to bring along a picnic and find a comfortable spot along the banks of the river.

Experience the Riverside Enclosure:
The Riverside Enclosure provides an excellent viewing spot, offering a vibrant atmosphere and a range of food and drink options. It’s a popular choice for many spectators who want to enjoy a lively atmosphere while watching the races.

Temple Island:
Located near the start of the course, Temple Island is an iconic landmark and serves as a gathering point for rowers and spectators. The island itself is private hire during the regatta but you can stand on the “Berks” bank and watch starts.

This year the Regatta starts on Tuesday 27th and ends on the Sunday. Henley works on a one-on-one heats system as you progress through to the finals on Sunday. The Club has previously raced on the Wednesday in 2021. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hZwkyJM4qxE&t=297s&pp=ygUSZWFzdCBpbmRpYSB2cyB2ZXRh)

What to wear:
Rowers make a point of wearing extremely bright rowing blazers; the clubs blazer being burgundy with silver and navy piping. If you’re not a rower then simply chinos and a blue or cream blazer will suffice, keep a tie in your pocket if you want to go into anything more than a pub.
The course is long so you won’t get to watch it from start to finish with your own eyes but the loud speakers give you an update and the regatta YouTube channel live streams every race

Henley-on-Thames After Dark:
After the races, the town of Henley-on-Thames comes alive with festivities. Explore the lively pubs, bars, and entertainment venues, where you can celebrate the day’s successes and continue the socializing into the evening. Experience the vibrant nightlife and revel in the camaraderie of fellow regatta attendees.

It’s advisable to book in advance, as tickets sell out quickly. Remember to check the regatta’s official website for the latest updates on race schedules, ticket availability, and additional activities during the event.

We recommend Mahiki, the Catherine Wheel, the Angel on the Bridge, and Magoos for a good night out.