High Society

Take a trip to Henley and see how the other half live

If you love messing about on the river, or simply fancy a posh tipple on the bank, then dust off your straw boater and get ready for British regatta season – kicking off with the king of events at Henley.

Henley Royal Regatta

Spectators on the Thames at Henley The prestigious Royal Regatta runs from 2 to 6 July in the picturesque Thames-side town and sees spectators enjoying a series of rowing races. The event has been held every year since 1839, except during both World Wars. The reigning monarch is patron of the regatta and members of the royal family often visit. HRH The Princess Royal went along in 1999 and HRH The Duke of Gloucester was welcomed in 2004.

The private Stewards' Enclosure is only open to regatta members and their guests and a strict dress code applies. Membership is limited to approximately 6,500 and there's a waiting list of more than 1,100. Preference is given to those who have competed at the event. The Regatta Enclosure is open to non-members but a fee of up to £18 per person applies. Official website »

Swanage Regatta

Swanage Sailing Club hosts its regatta at the end of carnival week, from 26 July to 2 August. Gig racing, kayak racing, running and swimming competitions can be seen from the pier and the seafront. Look forward to live music every day, sand-castle competitions, fireworks, and even an aerial display by the Red Arrows. Official website »

Cowes Week

Sailing boats in Cowes harbour A huge event in the sailing calendar, Cowes Week runs from 2 to 9 August on the Isle of Wight. Around 8,500 competitors and more than 100,000 spectators descend on the famous port every August, for one of the longest running sporting events in the UK. Launched in 1826, it's become the largest sailing regatta of its kind in the world. As well as the races, visitors can enjoy live music and entertainment, beer and Champagne tents, fireworks, barbecues, and a vibrant party atmosphere. Official website »

Falmouth Regatta

The Cornish town of Falmouth holds its Champagne Regatta during Falmouth Week, from 9 to 16 August. It's the largest regatta in the South-west and up to 20 classic superyachts are set to compete in the bay, as well as keelboats, traditional craft and dinghies. In total around 450 yachts are due to race in front of more than 100,000 people.

Torbay Royal Regatta

The bandstand at Henley The pinnacle of Torbay Week, from 22 to 27 August, this regatta boasts a rich array of vantage points thanks to the natural landscape. Take your pick from Hopes Nose, Meadfoot beach, Daddyhole Plain, Torquay, Paignton, Brixham, Berry Head, or any of the coves in between. Extend your stay and find an AA Walk in the area. As well as plenty of sailing, Torbay Week features a funfair, a fun run, fireworks and an aerial display by the Red Arrows. Official website »

Port of Dartmouth Royal Regatta

This major event, from 28 to 31 August, attracts around 200 yachts and 70 smaller boats each year. There are waterborne treasure hunts, raft races, motorboat handling courses and a rowing tug of war. On dry land, pick from a crab fishing competition, a golf tournament, an international trolley race, and darts matches; and the guns of the Royal Yacht Club are fired twice a day. Official website »

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26 June

Henley Royal Regatta image courtesy oepkes.com