A day out at Henley Royal Regatta


Well where do I begin….. for those of you who are unfamiliar with Henley Regatta it is an annual upper class rowing event held on the River Thames and located in a beautiful county of Berkshire and in a quaint little town called Henley-on-Thames in the UK.  The regatta runs for 5 days in total and held over the first weekend in July. Races are head-to-head knock out competitions and raced over a rather large course of about 1 mile, 550 yards. 





Before I get started you are probably wondering if I am really going for the rowing or just to socialize and get all fancily dressed up with the other 80% of people who are mostly going for the same reason? I’m sure you can answer that one no problem… and yes you would be right. 






My day didn’t start quite the way I had planned but fortunately we were up super early to get ready (its okay we except we are girls and it is normal to take two hours).  The wonderful district line was being its usual ‘im going to change my destination of where I am going’ and lets stop every 30 seconds due to one of those annoying signal failures. A journey to Paddington which would normally take 13 minutes ended up taking 35 35 and lets just say that the flat shoes were on and we were making a bolt for it for fear of not only nearly missing our train but not even being able to get on the damn thing. 

We made it with a few moments to spare and even managed to secure a seat which was very surprising considering how rammed it was in every carriage . As I imagined with beautiful looking people, very chatty and in high spirits, ready for fun day out. 








Our arrival into Henley was just before the lunch hour and the rain had thankfully cleared off with a nice bit of sun greeting us with open arms, perfect timing. As this was my first time to the Regatta I had no idea about long the distance of the  course and where our marquee was located so we decided to walk it, completely oblivious to the fact that it was actually near the start line and was going to be an extra 50 minutes from the train station. Did anyone say fail?! So unprepared with no water or food you could say I was getting a tad grumpy and that mile was seeming more like ten.  If you have seen the snickers advert you will understand what I am meaning here.  After asking three people for directions we finally managed to work out where we were and I was relieved to say the least and ready for that glass of bubbles! The journey time in total was three hours which is quite ridiculous but the set up for the enclosure was absolutely stunning and all seemed well worth it for the horrendous morning we had already endured. (it didn’t end here by the way)






I had 6 other fabulous friends joining me at the table. The Courtyard enclosure was one of the bigger tents separated in two with a lovely garden out the front looking out to the river with prime views of the race and even a croquet set if that’s what you are into. 









I love organising a girls day out and being the perfectionist I am, I always feel it is my responsibility to make sure everyone is happy and having a great time. I seriously should have been in events. Anyway I was really looking forward to digging into the food courtesy of Mr Jamie Oliver and couldn’t quite remember what time the lunch was actually being served so I let it go and enjoyed the time to catch up with everyone over a few glasses of wine and prosecco. Unfortunately another fail on my part. 2.30pm and we were still waiting for our food. By this stage I was starving, feeling very light-headed and unwell. I can never ever go 3 hours without eating especially when I am working out a lot, it’s just how my body is and with the mix of alcohol, well that probably wasnt helping the situation either. As we were one of the first tables to sit down I was abit disappointed that everyone else around us had been served already.  Finally after begging with the unorganised staff we got out food at 3pm. Our waitress in the end was super helpful and offered us bread and our desserts straight after the main for the runaround.  The food, I have to say was most delicious – luckily Jamie, luckily.  





The silver option which is what we ordered as part of the package, consisted of the herb crusted duo of lamb with spiced Aubergine, minted pea and broad bean pesto.  Lots and lots of good flavours but when you’re hungry I suppose anything tastes great. The dessert was a goodie – chocolate brownie with salted caramel popcorn. Very decadent and pretty rich but I managed to eat it in 30 seconds without leaving a mouthful to spare. 




After we had eaten, the mood changed dramatically from our intense angry hungry state and we continued to sip on wine out in the garden while admiring the surrounding views. 











As always the time seemed to pass so quickly and before you know it, it’s already 6pm and the atmosphere is getting increasingly louder and people are getting less classier. We were already to move on and try out a few of the other bars they had on offer.  Some of the big names were there like Mahiki and Chinawhite which also had Pete Tong DJing later on in the evening. I was happy to settle with the Barn bar which was drawing a younger more hip crowd of people and seemed to be a lot more lively from where we had just come from. A few jugs of PIMMS later and sneaking in some hot salty chips, with some boppy tunes seemed to be the right combination for the end of the day. The flat shoes were back on by this stage so I knew it was not far of ending for the day. 





As we all know good things have to come to an end which also means having to deal with the long journey back to London….. all I could think about was a hot refreshing shower, pjs and bed. 


Even though there was a few curveballs along the way, I really did have a wonderful day with some amazing friends. As they say it’s not always about the event itself but the company you surround yourself with. If I can give you any advice, I would strongly suggest you stay in Henley itself.  The town is stunning and without having the stress or worry of driving in or catching a train in that morning, trust me it is worth it. Over the years it has become increasingly popular so get there as early as possible, bring a picnic basket and find yourself a nice spot to perch along the river. There are plenty of food stalls and bars and even fireworks later in the evening, which this time around we sadly missed. 



Apologies for larger amount of photos in this post, there were just too many snaps to choose from!  



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