Henley Women’s and Henley Royal Regattas 2024 are both now less than six months away, but it is not too late to plan your visit to the green Thames Valley for some of the best racing on the planet.

In recent years, there has been increased entries and interest in both regattas, but the logistics of taking groups of athletes to another country to compete can seem very daunting. Here’s hoping this provides some handy starting points to consider.

Start as early as possible

Easy things to start organising early include figuring out your budget for the trip, clarifying how the trip is funded and ensuring your team has appropriate travel documents. For most US teams this is simply a passport which does not expire prior to your departure from the UK, but if someone needs to obtain a passport or a visa the time to start is sooner rather than later.

Which regatta are you dealing with?

Two fours side by sideThere are only three regattas on the boomed Henley course. In chronological order they are:

1) Henley Women’s Regatta, a three day regatta in mid-June which runs 1,500m from the downstream end of Temple Island to the upstream end of the Remenham Club and runs events for women only (male coxswains permitted). Henley Women’s Regatta is always two weeks before Henley Royal Regatta;
2) Ending on the first Sunday of July is Henley Royal Regatta which is 2,112m along the longest straight portion of the Thames running from the same start as Henley Women’s Regatta to the finish in the Stewards’ Enclosure; and
3) Henley Masters Regatta, a two day regatta for rowers over age 27 which runs 1,000m from the top of Temple Island to Upper Thames Rowing Club the week after Henley Royal. As masters tend to organise themselves well, this article is focused more on teams preparing for Henley Women’s and Henley Royal.


Depending on which regatta you plan to enter, you need to do the anticipatory work for entries. British Rowing runs an online system named BROE. Overseas crews need to be registered to use BROE.

There is no cost, but it should be noted this is not an automated process, and requires an actual human at British Rowing headquarters to get the team issued with a log on to the system. Every year someone discovers this too late, and at their peril.

Getting set up on BROE costs nothing, and stays the same from year to year, so there is no disadvantage to obtain the log in as soon as your team is contemplating a Henley entry. Both Henley Women’s and Henley Masters use BROE, but Henley Royal has its own, separate entry system.


Women's double sculls racingFigure out which entries your team is eligible to enter. If you want to enter championship or open events at Henley Women’s or Royal, classification is easy. But figuring out the nuances of the lower divisions can be a challenge, and the entry rules often get tweaked from year to year. Be sure to check the entry rules after they’ve been updated – each website has the respective dates updates are anticipated. You don’t want to select your team only to discover too late you’ve entered the wrong event.

Henley Women’s and Henley Royal both vet overseas crews to ensure appropriate classification in events. For Henley Women’s, all competitors for any non-championship event need to send a full CV for to the entries secretary prior to the entry being made, so that a determination of eligibility can be made.

For Henley Royal, every overseas crew is reviewed by two Stewards from that region, both to ensure eligibility and to determine who will need to go through the time-trial format qualifying races, which take place on the Friday before the regatta starts.


Once you have your entries determined, then you need to figure out where you’re going to stay. Henley is a town of approximately 11,000 people, but nearly 3,000 competitors race at Henley Women’s and, if you include those trying to qualify, nearly 5,000 race Henley Royal. Those are just athletes, not coaches, trainers, administrators or anyone else.

But in a town so small the rest of the year, there are nowhere near enough hotel rooms (and the rooms there are command a hefty premium during the regattas). The tradition is that athletes and coaches stay with families in the town, hopefully walking distance from the course.

A crew posing for a portraitBut how to find that housing? Henley Women’s and Henley Royal each have a dedicated housing officer who can match a crew to a house or houses in the town. Sometimes it is just a room for a coach, or some places can take an entire eight plus cox with everything in between. All prices are set by the hosts themselves, and the housing officer/crew liaison can help you work to stay within your budget. Crew Accommodation & Boat Hire

Prices for crews arranged by Henley Women’s in 2023 topped out at £60 per person per night including breakfast, though reports of private arrangements indicate prices of £90 per person and higher.

It certainly helps to start early as many repeat crews also repeat their housing, so a large swath of houses go off the regatta housing market very early in the year. Consider whether or not athletes can share rooms – coxes of a different gender may need their own space – and whether they can share beds, as some places will offer this option. For three days it might be acceptable to your crew but for a three-week Henley Women’s and Henley Royal stay that’s a big ask of athletes.

Consider also the distance to the courses, pet allergies, kitchen access and whether coaches will live with the crew or be in separate housing.


There’s no point turning up to a regatta without a decent boat to race in, so how to find one acceptable to your team in another country? Your starting point should be with your boat manufacturer in your home country.

California on the startWhile this may seem counterintuitive, most, if not all manufacturers take the requests and determine who has priority for the boats they have available. If you’re not lucky, or they quietly tell you you’re unlikely to be so, they also have the links for other crews who might have boats of that model they may be willing to lend. Some contact details are on Crew Accommodation & Boat Hire

Similarly, the crew liaison and Henley Royal have contacts to help find boats so simply ask and help shall be given. Note though that renting a boat doesn’t automatically come with oars, so check if you are also renting oars as crews have definitely had this panic on landing and picking up their boat and finding nothing to propel it.

If oars are not included or you have specific needs, contact your preferred oar manufacturer, who will likely be in attendance at both Henley Women’s and Henley Royal both to assist with rentals and adjust any oars you may need.


Henley, as previously noted, is a small town and the influx of rowers – as well as all the spectators – require feeding. Some houses will allow kitchen use and access, and the race courses have a variety of food options.

But what about team dinners? A number of the Henley pubs, if arranged well in advance, will do a training table for teams of two courses for a set price, changing every day. The crew liaison can help put you in contact with the pubs that offer this service.

Many Henley cafés and restaurants offer discounts for Henley Women’s competitors with a competitors’ wristband.

The Henley experience

International crew reception at the River & Rowing MuseumInternational crews competing at Henley Women’s Regatta are invited to the International Crew Reception on Thursday evening, before the regatta begins. It’s free to attend, but you need to book tickets via the regatta website, and also book for the related pasta supper if you want to eat at the reception too.

Spectators at Henley Women’s are welcome to wander the banks and take advantage of being close to the action, but you can book a table at the Chairman’s Enclosure by the finish for an extra-special experience.

For Henley Royal, the bank is also freely available for spectators but space is limited and anyone travelling to support you may want to buy a ticket for one of the famous enclosures down the course. Bear in mind there’s a dress code – arguably part of the fun – for Stewards Enclosure. Competitors receive passes allowing them into Regatta Enclosure, but you must book ahead if you’re not a competitors for both enclosures. Many clubs have alumni members who can help obtain Stewards badges.

These are just the basics, but if you have these sorted you’re well on your way to being confident in a successful trip. For Henley Women’s contact Anne Buckingham at crew@hwr.org.uk or for Henley Royal contact Isobel Harris at crewshosting@hrr.co.uk.
Anne Buckingham