Henley Festival, Henley-on-Thames, UK

Henley Festival, Henley-on-Thames, UK

July 10 – July 14

Henley Bridge, Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire, UK

In July 2024, the picturesque town of Henley-on-Thames in Oxfordshire will host one of the most prestigious and grand events in the UK's social calendar - the Henley Festival. From July 10 to 14, the entire town will transform into an epicenter of luxury, high fashion, exquisite cuisine, and top-notch entertainment.

Glamour and Tradition on the Thames

The Henley Festival has its roots in 1859 when a team of rowers from Staines first visited Henley to participate in the regatta. Impressed by the scenic views and the hospitality of the locals, they decided to organize a festival combining rowing competitions with a social event for the aristocracy. The Henley Festival began about 40 years ago as a charitable classical music event, and its nonprofit spirit continues today, with proceeds supporting both national and local charities.

Since then, the festival has become a hallmark of Henley-on-Thames. Each year for five days, the banks of the Thames turn into a luxurious camp of tents, marquees, and temporary structures for guests. It’s a true social spectacle with wine tastings, star chef dinners, jazz concerts, and, of course, thrilling river races.

Festival Program

The highlight of the Henley Festival is traditionally the Royal Regatta

The highlight of the Henley Festival is traditionally the Royal Regatta – prestigious rowing competitions featuring the strongest clubs and university teams from around the world. In addition, guests will enjoy an extensive cultural program:

  1. Evening concerts on a floating stage with performances by global stars such as Gladys Knight, Nicole Scherzinger, Nigel Kennedy, Sam Ryder, Rylan, Dave Stewart’s Eurythmics Songbook, Trevor Nelson, House Hospital Choir, and Ministry of Sound Ibiza Anthems with Ellie Sax.
  2. Tastings of fine wines and delicacies by Michelin-starred chefs.
  3. Fashion shows by leading fashion houses.
  4. Outdoor contemporary art exhibitions.
  5. Jazz and classical music evenings.

There will also be plenty of fun with carnival parades, fireworks, fairs, and other entertainment for guests of all ages. Comedians Angela Barnes, Mark Watson, Sara Pascoe, Dara O Briain, and Flo and Joan will perform in the comedy lineup.

The luxurious Riverside restaurant will offer a special menu for visitors. Other gourmet options include Garden Bistro by Jimmy Garcia, Oink, Hotel Chocolat, Black Cab Coffee, and Jessecco Prosecco.

The festival's RISE project supports young talent, with performances by KATYA, Louise Parker, Alex Francis, Eden Hunter, The Multiverse, The Great Leslie, and The Wave Machine on the RISE stage.

Sunday is Family Day with kids’ activities, eccentric comedy, and interactive performances.

How to Get There

Henley-on-Thames is just an hour's drive from London

Henley-on-Thames is just an hour's drive from London, making it easily accessible for guests from around the world. You can get there by:

  1. Car via the M4 and M40 motorways.
  2. Train from London (Paddington Station) – the journey takes about an hour.
  3. Riverboat on the Thames from London – a scenic but longer route.

You can also take a train to Henley-on-Thames station – about a 10-minute walk from the venue.

Accommodation and Delicacies

Finding a place to stay in Henley during the festival days is a premium service. Popular options include historic hotels in the town, as well as renting countryside cottages and estates. For comfort seekers, we recommend renting one of the luxurious tents or marquees right on the festival grounds.

The Henley Festival is also a paradise for gourmets

The Henley Festival is also a paradise for gourmets. Here you can taste exquisite dishes by world-renowned chefs, sample rare wines from the best wine regions of the world, and enjoy traditional English delicacies such as oysters, smoked salmon, and strawberries with whipped cream.

The festival is the only one in the UK with a "black tie" dress code. Organizers claim that at Henley, you can never be overdressed. However, the dress code is relaxed on Family Day on Sunday.

Immerse yourself in the atmosphere of true British luxury and aristocratic traditions! The Henley Festival 2024 is a must-visit event for all connoisseurs of the high life. Book your tickets in advance, as demand will be very high.

The picturesque market town of Henley-on-Thames is surrounded by the hills of the Chilterns – an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It will be the perfect place for a weekend getaway between festival events.