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Everything you need to know about Henley Royal Regatta

It’s a showpiece social and sporting event of the hospitality calendar, but how much do you know about Henley Royal Regatta? We’ve compiled a list of everything you need to know, before you attend this world-famous five-day rowing event.

History of Henley Royal Regatta

Now a highlight of the English sporting social calendar, the Henley Royal Regatta started out as a publicity stunt to attract tourists. First held in 1839 and staged by the Mayor and people of Henley with a fair and other amusements, the focus rapidly changed to that of competitive amateur rowing. The event then grew from one to five days, and has been held annually ever since, except during the first and second World War. Originally a local affair, the cream of the rowing crop now descends upon Henley-on-Thames every year to race along the one-mile course, along with thousands of spectators.

The rules of Henley Royal Regatta

  • Henley Royal Regatta operates under it’s own set of rules. Not as an act of rebellion, it was simply devised long before national and international rowing federations were formed. Whilst it isn’t subject to the jurisdiction of the Amateur Rowing Association in England or the International Rowing Federation (FISA), it is officially recognised by them both.
  • Competitors row head-to-head. The races are organised in knockout draws with only two boats racing the course in each heat. As many as 100 races, each taking approximately seven minutes take place on each day.
  • In July 2017 participation reached its peak with 629 boats entered into the competition, including crews with Rio 2016 Olympic medallists.

By royal appointment

In 1851 H.R.H Prince Albert became the Regatta’s first Royal Patron. Following his death, the reigning Monarch has always consented to become a Patron. It is this patronage that means the Regatta has remained Henley Royal Regatta. Members of the Royal Family are often spotted by event goers.

A friendly tradition

Whilst races are hard-fought, both competitors and spectators are traditionally congenial. Every boat is applauded from the side lines and when the race is over both the winning and losing team gives one another three cheers just beyond the finish line. The winning boat is first to congratulate the losing boat, and then vice versa.

A dress code applies

Both ladies and gentlemen should dress in a manner as befits a formal occasion. Dresses and skirts should be modest in length, defined as falling just above the knee or longer than the knee. Trousers must be full length. Hats are not mandatory but traditionally customary. Shorts, jeans and trainers are strictly forbidden.

Gentlemen are required to wear lounge suits or jackets, blazers with flannels or a collared shirt. Whilst not compulsory, wearing a tie or cravet is encouraged. Shorts, jeans and trainers are strictly not permitted.

How to have views from the best vantage point

Henley Royal Regatta 2018 will take place from Wednesday July 4 to Sunday July 8. You and your guests can experience the world’s most prestigious rowing event and highlight of the British summer social calendar in style with the official hospitality programme. Enjoy exclusive hospitality from the picturesque banks of Fawley Meadows or at the stunning private oasis of Temple Island; two charming locations with elevated views of the course.

Looking for the perfect mother’s day gift, or ready to start planning your summer hospitality events calendar? Take a look at the full range of packages or contact our team to find out more.