If you haven’t heard of Henley Royal Regatta, (are you living under a rock?) it’s a rowing event held on the river Thames in Henley. Despite the rowing being great to watch, there is much more to the regatta itself that makes it worth going to even if you’re not into your rowing.
For those not in the know, here’s the lowdown on the regatta….
It is always held over the first weekend in July and lasts for 5 days Wednesday to Sunday, preparations begin around 2 weeks prior with marquees and tents set up all along either side of the river. There are different enclosures/tents which you can buy tickets for to watch the races – these aren’t cheap or in my opinion the best way to experience the regatta. They also come with their own dress codes and are fairly strict which can be a nightmare in the heat. Alternatively you can go along without a ticket and sit on the grass bank or visit one of the many pop up pubs, Pimms tent, or bars. You will still have a view of the river and can watch the boats go by. There are also plenty of food stalls if you walk down the river far enough (it’s a fairly long walk) so you can definitely make a day of it.
Through some miracle, the sun always makes an appearance in time for Henley Regatta. Every year. For this reason it’s great to go along in the day, sit outside and have a Pimms or 3. However, let’s get to the good bit. The best part of regatta is the pop up bars. Think live music, pretty dresses (or suits), sitting outside drinking cocktails in buckets and pineapples. As it’s close-by to where I live, it’s an annual event which everyone I know goes to for at least one if not multiple days. So from plenty of experience I can tell you, the place to be is Mahikis (just ask the cast of Made In Chelsea). It will cost you a pretty penny to get in and buy drinks but it’s definitely worth it.
A few things to keep in mind, get there early. I’m talking 5/6pm. Yep, you’ll need to pace yourself! Before 5pm it’s free to get in (although it changes every year) and after it goes up a fiver every hour starting at £15. There is limited seating inside so getting there early will also ensure you get a table, although you probably won’t stay sat down for long. There’s no specific dress code although trainers or any casual clothing won’t get you in. It’s an occasion to dress up, start looking for your dresses early though, to make sure you aren’t wearing the same as someone else! (Outfit guide coming shortly! In the mean time check out Pinterest for Inspiration.) Thursday and Friday are in my opinion, the best days to go.
If you love nothing more than getting dressed up, sitting outside drinking cocktails, dancing to a live band and you happen to live anywhere near Henley-on-Thames- what are you waiting for get planning!
(Excuse the blurry iPhone photos, they’re all I had of last year’s regatta!)