4 events to enjoy in Henley this summer
PUBLISHED: 14:38 06 July 2018 | UPDATED: 14:48 06 July 2018
Dees Chinniah, flickr.com
The town beside the Thames is always a delight in summer – but July/August 2018 is particularly spectacular with a host of events which define the social season
Henley Royal Regatta - 4 – 8 July
From picnics on the riverbank to the ultimate in hospitality, the planet’s most famous regatta defines the town as well as being a first class sporting occasion, attracting rowers from across the world.
Restaurants, bars, shopping and scenery – what more could you want… but how to get there? We’d always advise arriving by train (change at Twyford) so you avoid what can sometimes be hideous queues as thousands make their way to the event.
And our pick of the souvenirs is already chosen: a stunning A3 poster by local artist Hannah McCague a former Wallingford School student who now teaches art at Oxford. It’s just £6.50 at the regatta’s official shop, where you can find details of the schedule, see the dress code, buy enclosure badges, book parking and view hospitality offers.
Henley Festival - 11-15 July
The town hardly draws breath before it’s time for this spectacular feast of music, the arts and comedy, including performances on the stunning floating stage. Every year more big names make their way to Henley and for 2018 we welcome Rita Ora, Grace Jones, Nile Rodgers & Chic, Curtis Stigers and Ronnie Scott’s Big Band performing Sinatra classics, and English National Opera live.
On top of all this is much more musical entertainment, with the likes ofYolanda Brown at the Jazz Club. The comedy line-up is equally impressive with seasoned performers such as headliner Phil Jupitus (Thursday, 12July in the Salon Comedy Club) and Paul Merton, Jon Culshaw and Lee Nelson sharing stages with some of the best newer names on the circuit. Tickets are hot, hot, hot for all this.
Thames Traditional Boat Festival - 20 – 22 July
This summer sees the 40th Anniversary of the event held each year two weeks after Henley Royal Regatta. It’s the largest gathering of traditional river craft in the world – from coracles to Edwardian steam launches, to 1960’s film-stars’ toys.
Poignantly, some 30 Dunkirk Little Ships, treat the TRAD as their annual get-together, and you’ll also see dozens of amphibious vehicles. Most of the boats welcome visitors on-board as the owners are not just proud of their craft but most are here to win coveted annual awards which are scrupulously judged during the weekend.
The Queen’s Rowbarge Gloriana has become the event’s flagship and, of course, there is keen competition to win a place on board as she is rowed out by various local teams during her three-day visit. Bluebird K3 will also be in attendance, on her last visit she was unable to run up the river owing to an engine fire.
Hobbs of Henley offer a free ferry service from near the railway station for visitors with pre-booked tickets and at least one large local steamer, the Alaska, gives river trips during the Festival.
On-shore there is a large vintage ‘military encampment’ to complement the Little Ships, with hundreds of beautiful old cars and bicycles, shopping for all including crafts, clothes and jewellery. The Crooked Billet with great food by renowned chef/owner Paul Clerehugh is the ‘host pub’ this year with music at lunchtime and in the evening. There will also be street food at each end with the pub at the centre.
Rewind South - 17 – 19 August
The summer sounds continue with this retro feast, established back in 2009 at Temple Island Meadows. There’s a fantastic line-up this year, including Midge Ure, Kool & The Gang, OMD, Billy Ocean, Marc Almond, Kim Wilde, Heaven17, Jason Donovan, Nik Kershaw, Toyah… and Chesney Hawkes. Trust us, we’ve hardly touched the sides!
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