Henley Royal Regatta, June 2010

La Henley Royal Regatta

A festival of rowing

The picturesque market town of Henley-on-Thames in Oxfordshire will be transformed into a cosmopolitan hub of rowing when the Henley Royal Regatta comes to town from 30 June-4 July. This 5-day festival is one of the highlights of the British summer social calendar.

The Henley Royal Regatta, which was first held in 1839, is a fantastic rowing festival offering up to 90 world-class races. The races are head-to-head knock out competitions, raced over a course of 1 mile 550 yards (2,112m) from Temple Island upstream towards Henley Bridge.

The Regatta attracts international rowing crews, and recent years have seen entries from Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the USA, Greece, and many more. Last year, Henley played host to 93 international crews.

There are several trophies awarded during the Regatta, but the most prestigious of these is The Grand Challenge Cup for Eights, which dates from the very first Regatta in 1839. The Cup has been won by overseas crews 44 times – including 12 times by crews from Germany and 11 from the USA.

You can usually watch the races from a number of locations along both banks of the river, although you’ll find more areas open to the public on the Berkshire (towpath) side. A channel of the river remains open throughout the Regatta, so why not see if you can hire a boat to watch the races from?

The Regatta culminates with a fireworks finale to send the town partying into the Henley Festival from 7-11 July.

Henley-on-Thames comes alive during the Regatta, and you’ll find plenty of events happening throughout the week. The town is home to a number of boutiques and antique shops, as well as the award-winning River and Rowing Museum, a fitting attraction for this time of year.

For more information, visit the Henley Royal Regatta website .