Henley-on-Thames: Henley Royal Regatta
The Home of British Rowing
Held on the river banks at Henley-on-Thames since 1839, and near to where Oxfordshire meets Berkshire and Buckinghamshire, Henley-on-Thames is the unassuming British home of one of the most physically demanding and dramatic sports – rowing.
The most prestigious event is Sunday’s main event: the Grand Challenge Cup. Held for men’s eights. Each year the Royal Regatta attracts more and more attention, boasting a record-breaking 660 entries in 2019, which was 100 above the agreed limit in 2018.
Surrounded in stunning natural beauty, and the serenity of an ancient market town, it’s no wonder rowers from across the globe flock to compete on the famous Thames course.
Many guests opt to attend Henley Royal Regatta as VIPs with luxury hospitality packages. Henley-on-Thames hospitality facilities treat guests to the finest experiences. We offer four different hospitality packages for the Henley Regatta: the Boaters Enclosure, Fawley Meadows, Temple Island Enclosure and the Riverside Enclosure.
The Henley Royal Regatta is the world’s most famous rowing event. Henley has hosted the event for longer than any governing body in the sport has existed, so the Henley Stewards are in the rather unique position of being allowed to stay independent.
The Henley Festival, which first took place in 1983 has fast become one of the most sought after events of the year. It usually takes place in July and is without a doubt one of the biggest events of British summer, combining the world’s finest music, culture and food across six magical days. The floating stage is a spectacular sight to behold and is unlike anything at any other event in the UK.
We provide hospitality options for Henley Festival too, which welcomes some of the world’s biggest artists; with previous acts including Sir Elton John and Elvis Costello across this spectacular event.
The earliest recordings of Henley-on-Thames come from the twelfth century, with royal records marking purchases of land, with the town being under the ownership of the Crown.
The famous Henley Bridge has existed in various forms since the thirteenth century, and the one seen today was constructed in 1786, although significant repairs were carried out in 2010.
Henley Bridge is a Grade I listed building, indicating that it is ancient and the upkeep and maintenance of it is of significant interest. The current bridge was built to replace a timber one in the late eighteenth century, however, there remains even more ancient stonework which indicates another bridge had once existed in the town.
Historians debate as to whether this original bridge at Henley-on-Thames was crossed by Romans while invading this area of Britain. Some are certain that it is, but many refute this claim. The market in Henley has existed since the mid-thirteenth century. King Henry VI granted the market by charter as legal permission was required in those days to hold a market.
Major Henley-on-Thames events
Henley is the setting for two major events each summer – the Henley Royal Regatta, and the Henley Festival. The Royal Regatta is one of the most iconic meetings both in British sport and in global rowing. It brings hundreds of thousands to the town each year, from across the globe. Olympians line up on the same track as school teams and compete in the most quintessentially British location.
Henley Festival is a five-day event, featuring a mixture of music, art and comedy in and around the town. Each year it attracts many to the town.
Henley-on-Thames is overlooked by breath-taking Chiltern woodland. The gorgeous countryside is full of wildlife and is alive all year round with the peaceful tunes of birds nesting in the picture-perfect beech woodland.
The Chilterns is a protected Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and guests to the town often are enamoured with the unspeakable natural beauty of the area. Due to this incredible local beauty and the serene town, Henley-on-Thames was named the second most expensive market town in the country by Lloyds Bank, by average house price.
In sports, Henley is best known for rowing. It is the home of the Henley Royal Regatta – an annual six-day festival of both sporting prowess and all things British. Aside from rowing, Henley also is home to the Henley Hawks rugby union club. Henley is also home to Henley Cricket Club and Henley Hockey Club. The town’s football club, Henley Town F.C. is the oldest recognised by the Oxfordshire FA, having been founded in 1871.