Henley on Thames

Royal Regatta on the Thames

Back to Previous PageHenley on Thames - Oxfordshire - England
10 June 2001

Accommodation - Restaurants - Pubs

"The Home of Rowing"

Royal Regatta SiteHenley is the jewel in Oxfordshire’s crown, located 56 km / 35 miles west of London. Nestling deep in the Thames Valley, it is one of the county’s most picturesque towns. It provides financial and other services, and has malting and brewing, and light engineering industries. Henley Management Colllege, established in 1946, was the first in Europe. Its main street is elegantly Georgian and there are lovely views downstream to Temple Island.

Royal Regatta Rowing CourseRoyal Regatta

Henley is best known for its Royal Regatta held every July since 1839 and is regarded as the World's home of Rowing. Known and lauded the world over for the Regatta, it is inundated for five days each summer by international oarsmen and visitors, eager to be a part of one of the great sporting and social events. The Regatta is typical of Britain at its pompous and eccentric best. Many spectators are as much interested if not more so, in the strawberries & cream, boaters & blazers and Pimms & champagne as they are in the sporting events happening in front of them. However the sport is deadly serious, over 500 crews from all over the world take part in this unique event. There are more than 270 regattas held around the country with around 80 of those being held on the Thames, but Henley Royal Regatta is certainly the premier event.

For about a mile at Henley the river is straight providing an ideal course for what has become a major international event. It became 'Royal' in 1851 when Prince Albert became Patron of the Regatta. As well as a sporting event it is a major social event retaining much of the 'garden party' feel of Edwardian times.

Boat StorageThe principal events are the solo Diamond Challenge Sculls and the Grand Challenge Cup, the leading event for eight-oared shells. As from 1998, professional rowers were allowed to compete at Henley after the Regatta's stewards had dropped the amateur definition from their rules.

The town gears itself up for the regatta weeks beforehand, as facilities for all the rowers need putting into place. Marquees are lined with boat racks ready for the competition.

Henley Royal Regatta Website


The Thames at HenleyHenley from Thames BridgeSurrounded by lush woodland, it is the quintessential English small town, peaceful and self-contained, yet it is only a few miles from the hustle and bustle of motorway traffic, en route to the capital. While fashions may change and people look to exotic destinations for their pleasure, this little jewel continues to attract visitors from all over the world to sample its delights.

The town became established in the 12th century as a river crossing and port for the supply of timber and grain along the river to London. The present five-arched bridge over the river was built in 1786, the keystones having carvings representing Father Thames and the Goddess Isis. The church of St. Mary is close by and has a 16th century tower topped at each corner by an octagonal turret. It is built with decorative flint and stone chequerwork. Although restored in the 19th century, the 13th century and nave arcades can still be seen.

Brakspear BreweryHenley Town HallMore than 300 buildings in Henley are designated 'of special architectural or historical interest' including a 14th century chantry house, connected to the church and the Speakers house, the home of William Lenthall, Speaker of the House of Commons (1629-1640) who was a signatory to the warrant for the execution of Charles I. The main street has many Georgian frontages built on to older buildings. There are many coaching inns including the Red Lion, which, so legend has it, has accommodated Charles I, Boswell and George III.

The current town hall was built in 1901 replacing the old town hall that was taken down in 1898 and re-erected on nearby Crazies Hill as a private home.

Brakspear BreweryThere are many good eating & drinking establishments in Henley, ranging from small cosy pubs to luxurious hotels. There are the usual awful fast food burger bars but there are also some high quality restaurants. The Angel on the Bridge serves good food and has a wonderful location, the timber terrace actually extends out over the river. The Red Lion also looks out over the river and is a top quality establishment and the Little White Hart Hotel sits in a prominent position opposite the end of the Regatta course. For good ales there is the Bird in Hand and the Catherine Wheel - A Weatherspoons pub.
Henley Brewery Tour, Brakspear's - A taste of England's brewing heritage, the offices date from the 18th Century. Open all year round - weekday & evening tours. There is a brewery shop selling merchandise and beverages. Pre-booked guided tours for groups minimum six people. Tel: 01491 570200

Places to Visit

Rowing on the ThamesLeander ClubThe new River and Rowing Museum in its award-winning building is proving to be a magnet for those who want to learn about the history of rowing, the mighty Thames and, of course, the town. Throughout the year, those out for a stroll along the towpath can enjoy watching crews in training from both local clubs and the world famous Leander Club which has its headquarters just downstream of the bridge. The River & Rowing Museum celebrates the traditions and environment of the River Thames, the excitement and thrills of the sport of Rowing and the historic riverside community of Henley.

Spacious and state-of-the-art, the specially commissioned building was designed by the award winning British architect, David Chipperfield. The museum is already an architectural landmark and complements the picturesque water meadow on which it stands and the vista of the river it surveys.

River & Rowing Museum Website

The town's sporting interest doesn't end with rowing however, rugby, football and cricket also thrive. The Henley Hawks is one of the top 28 rugby clubs in the country.

TEMPLE ISLAND There are boat trips on the river or walking on the towpath, towards Hambleden Lock where there is one of the finest, serene views in England.

For ramblers, the surrounding hills and woodland are criss-crossed with footpaths. With Henley as the hub, a circular walk is an attractive pastime, and one to end with a welcome cup of tea or coffee in one of the town’s many teashops or cafes.

The town has its own symphony orchestra and a choral society. Numerous art galleries show constantly-changing exhibitions. The Henley Festival of Music and Arts in July is an important date in the town's calendar.

GABRIEL MACHIN'S SHOP As for the shops, there is something for everybody and to suit all pockets - fashion boutiques, some selling clothes by top designers, two premier supermarkets, old-fashioned butcher shops, privately-run bakeries and tea rooms with delicious home-made cakes. One traditional butcher, Gabriel Machin, even smokes salmon in his own smokehouse. There is also a Loch Fyne Oyster Bar for the adventurous.

The Kenton Theatre, New Street - one of the earliest playhouses, built in 1805, now run by volunteers.

Bohun Gallery, 15 Reading Road - small gallery with regular exhibitions of contemporary British figurative art.

Chantry House, A late-medieval, timber-framed, Grade I Listed church hall, formerly a school, which dates back to early 14th century.

Cliveden, Built in 1851 on cliffs 200ft over the Thames. Cliveden, once the home of Lady Astor, is now a hotel. 375 acres of garden & woodland include miles of woodland walks with views of the Thames. A National Trust property.

Fawley Court Historic House and Museum, Historic and cultural Polish collections housed in a 12th century Manor House rebuilt by Sir Christopher Wren in 1684. Set in a park designed by `Capability' Brown. Tel: 01491 574917

Greys Court, Rotherfield Greys, named after Lord de Grey, who fought at Crecy and was one of the original Knights of the Garter. Rebuilt in the 16th century and added to in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries, the house is set amid the remains of the courtyard walls and towers of a 14th century fortified house. A Tudor donkey wheel well-house and an icehouse are still intact, and the garden contains Archbishop's maze; inspired by Archbishop Runcie's enthronement speech in 1980. Tel: 01491 628529

Maharajahs Well, Stoke Row. A 25ft-high iron and gilt, Indian temple-style well with winding gear, built in 1863

Nuffield Place, Nettlebed. The home of Lord Nuffield the founder of Morris Motors. Tel: 01491 641224

Stonor House and Park, Stonor. Family home of Lord and Lady Camoys, the Lord Chamberlain to Her Majesty the Queen and the Stonor family for over 800 years.Tel: 01491 638587

The Warburg Reserve, Bix Bottom. A beautiful Chiltern valley in woodland with abundant wildlife and a small visitor centre and nature trail. Tel: 01491 642001


No4 Riverside 01491 571133 Riverside Terrace, Henley, Oxon RG9 1BG
The Anchor Hotel 01491 574753 58 Friday Street, Henley, Oxon RG9 1AH
Danesfield House Hotel 01628 891010 Medmenham, Marlow, Bucks SL7 3EY
Flohr's Hotel & Restaurant 01491 573412 Northfield End, Henley, Oxon RG9 2JG
The Flower Pot Hotel 01491 574721 Aston, Henley, Oxon RG9 3DG
Imperial Hotel 01491 578678 Station Road, Henley, Oxon RG9 1AT
Kingwood Lodge 01491 412488 Badgemore Park, Henley, Oxon RG9 4NR
Little White Hart Hotel 01491 578930 25 Thame Side, Henley, Oxon RG9 2LJ
The Red Lion Hotel 01491 572161 Riverside, Henley, Oxon RG9 2AR
The Springs Hotel 01491 836687 Wallingford Road, North Stoke, Oxon OX10 6BE
The Stonor Arms Hotel 01491 638866 Stonor, Near Henley, Oxon RG9 6HE
Thamesmead House Hotel 01491 574745 Remenham Lane, Henley, Oxon RG9 2LR
The White Hart 01491 641245 30 High Street, Nettlebed, Henley, Oxon RG9 5DD
The White Hart Hotel 0118 940 2590 High Street, Wargrave, Reading, Berks RG10 8BU
Whitewoods 01491 572550 P.O.Box 48, Remenham Church Lane, Fawley, Oxon RG9 3EX


The Angel on the Bridge 01491 410678 Thame Side, Henley, Oxon RG9 1BH
Antico Restaurant 01491 573060 49 - 51 Market Place, Henley, Oxon RG9 2AA
Asquiths Teddy Bear Shop 01491 571978 2 - 4 New Street, Henley, Oxon RG9 2BT
Bengal Spice Indian Takeaway 01491 574518 13 Greys Road, Henley, Oxon RG9 1SB
Cafe Rouge 01491 411733 37 Hart Street, Henley, Oxon RG9 2AR
Caffe Uno 01491 411099 40 Hart Street, Henley, Oxon RG9 2AU
Catherine Wheel 01491 573100 7 - 9 Hart Street, Henley, Oxon RG9 2AR
Chef King Restaurant 01491 873079 3 & 4 The Arcade, High Street, Goring, Oxon RG8 9AY
Chef Peking 01491 577856 10 Market Place, Henley, Oxon RG9 2AH
The Crooked Billet 01491 681048 Newlands Lane, Stoke Row, Henley, Oxon RG9 5PU
The Crown Inn 0118 947 2872 Playhatch, Nr Reading, Berks RG4 9QN
Danesfield House 01628 891010 Henley Road, Marlow, Bucks SL7 2EY
The Dog Inn 01491 628343 Peppard Common, Henley, Oxon RG9 5JU
The Five Horseshoes 01491 641282 Maidensgrove, Henley, Oxon RG9 6EX
Fox & Hounds 01491 612142 Shirburn Street, Watlington, Oxon OX9 5BU
Francescos 01491 573706 8 Bell Street, Henley, Oxon RG9 2BG
Gazal Restaurant 01491 574659 53 - 55 Reading Road, Henley, Oxon RG9 1AD
The Golden Ball 01491 574157 Lower Assendon, Henley, Oxon RG9 6AH
G.M.L. (UK) Ltd. 0118 940 3811 28 Purfield Drive, Reading, Berks RG10 8AR
The Himalayan Tandoori 01491 573474 16 Reading Road, Henley, Oxon RG9 1AG
The Horns 0118 940 1416 Crazies Hill, Nr Wargrave, Reading, Berks RG10 8LY
The Little Angel 01491 411008 Remenham Lane, Henley, Oxon RG9 2LS
Mozarts Austrian Restaurant 01491 641992 The Sun Inn, Nettlebed, Henley-on-Thames, Oxon RG9 5AA
The Plowden Arms 0118 940 2794 Reading Road, Shiplake, Henley, Oxon RG9 4BX
Prego Italian Restaurant 01491 636 324 24 Duke Street, Henley, Oxon
The St George & Dragon Harvester 0118 940 3852 High Street, Wargrave, Reading, Berks RG10 8HU
Stonor Arms Hotel 01491 638866 Stonor, Henley, Oxon RG9 6HE
Tandoori Connoisseur 0118 972 3104 21 Wood Lane, Sonning Common, Reading, Berks RG4 9SJ
Thai Orchid 01491 412227 8 Hart Street, Henley, Oxon RG9 2AV
Villa Marina 01491 575262 18 Thame Side, Henley, Oxon RG9 1BH
The Walnut Tree 01491 638360 Fawley, Henley, Oxon RG9 6JE
The White Hart 0118 940 3673 Shiplake Row, Henley, Oxon RG9 4DP
Wimpy 01491 576347 6 Duke Street, Henley, Oxon RG9 1UP
Yew Tree Restaurant 01494 882330 Frieth, Henley, Oxon RG9 6PJ


Anchor Hotel 01491 574753 Friday Street, Henley-on-Thames
Angel on the Bridge 01491 410678 Thameside, Henley-on-Thames
The Bell 01491 573883 Bell Street, Henley-on-Thames
Bird in Hand 01491 575775 61 Greys Road, Henley-on-Thames
Bull Inn 01491 574821 Bell Street, Henley-on-Thames
Catherine Wheel 01491 573100 Hart Street, Henley-on-Thames
Flowerpot 01491 574721 Aston, Nr Henley-on-Thames
Golden Ball 01491 574157 Lower Assendon, Nr Henley-on-Thames
Little White Hart 01491 574145 Riverside, Henley-on-Thames
Maltsters Arms 01491 628400 Rotherfield Greys, Nr Henley-on-Thames
Old White Horse 01491 575763 100 Northfield End, Henley-on-Thames
Plowden Arms 0118 940 2794 Reading Road, Shiplake, Nr Henley-on-Thames
Queens Head Duke Street, Henley-on-Thames
Rose & Crown 01491 578376 56 New Street, Henley-on-Thames
Rowbarge West Street, Henley-on-Thames
Saracens Head 01491 575929 129 Greys Road, Henley-on-Thames
Three Tuns 01491 573260 Market Place, Henley-on-Thames
Two Brewers Wargrave Road, Remenham
Three Horseshoes 01491 573971 90 Reading Road, Henley-on-Thames
Victoria 01491 575628 48 Market Place, Henley-on-Thames
Wheatsheaf 01491 573234 Reading Road, Henley-on-Thames