Henley Royal Regatta – The Ultimate Guide

Planning a trip to Henley this year?

Here is our Pearl & Pear guide to the five day world-famous Henley Royal Regatta boating event to make sure you make the most out of your trip. What to wear, where to go and what to see.

Henley Royal Regatta

First and foremost, let’s start with a little bit of history so you know what’s what. Since 1839, Henley-on-Thames has been home to the event. With over 200 races, thousands of people make their way over from all over the world to take in the rowing action.

Like with all events, you get the crowd who study the programme of events and seriously know their stuff. You also get the crowd who just like to get dressed up and have a day of great british summer season social schmoozing.

Getting In

There are a number of enclosures, the main two that are arguably the most well-known are The Steward’s Enclosure and The Regatta Enclosure which includes the likes of Leander, Phyllis Court and Rememham Club.

The Steward’s Enclosure is situated right opposite the finish line for the best views and reserved for members and their guests. To even be in with a small chance of becoming a Steward you must have raced at Henley previously. They do also review applications from experienced rowers too. It is significantly easier if you have a great rowing pal who will let you be there plus one!

All of them can be tricky to get into without a connection into rowing but fear not as there are plenty of other options for you to enjoy in the merriment of it all.

Dressing Up For The Occasion

Don’t you just love the great british, none of us are quite sure what’s going to happen, weather! Unless your are enjoying yourself under one of the Enclosure’s, don’t forget to wear sensible shoes and take your brolley should rain be forecast.

Dress etiquette is taken very seriously at Henley Royal Regatta in the Enclosure’s. Ladies must wear knee length, demure dress. Forget it if you think you’ll get away with jeans, shorts and even some skirts can be questioned. Also good to wear a hat. Whilst not compulsory, they are seen as customary. For gents, blazers with flannels or lounge suits are the best option. Boat shoes or loafers will do here. Don’t worry too much if you’re not in any of these areas, you can get away with being much more relaxed about your outfit choices. Not too much, just a little!

Insider Tips

Download the Henley Royal Regatta programme – avoid paying the earth for one and print it off instead. Savvy!

Fancy some live music? Head to The Angel on the Bridge for a lively afternoon.

Stay clear of the Mahiki tent unless you just want to buy Champagne and spray it everywhere for the sake of it.

Get Henley Royal Regatta Radio tuned in and impress your friends with some racing chat.

Pack a picnic and get there early. When you have found the perfect spot for the day, chances are you won’t move. For a great summer picnic inspiration, read our guides to summer entertaining and impress your friends with some cool pre-made cocktails and delicious snacks and salads.

Take cash. Most places except card but if not, there are no cash points. You will have to make your way into the town centre and get in the mile long queue!

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