Ok, so youíve got your new outfit and youíve got your tags, finally the day has arrived and you have to work out how to get to Henley. Some clubs organise coaches to take supporters to and from the event, others prefer to take the train. For those of you wishing to drive, we now look at the delicate subject of "where to park the car"

accredited press get free parking for the weekBefore setting off in you car please take note: if you are coming to partake of "The Royal" from a non-competitive angle, you must endeavour to be driven, as you will be incapable of getting a car through the three wobbling gates at the end of the day, i.e. you need to employ a chauffeur - this could be a competitor; someone allergic to alcohol (The rabbit's personal favourite) or someone gullible enough to agree to stay sober for the duration.

Of course, if attending all 5 days, you may wish to drive yourself on the Friday thus enforcing a mid week "be nice to your liver day"

It should also be taken into consideration the fact that it is likely to take an hour or more at peak times to either enter or leave the car parks, no matter from which direction you try to come. Adding to this problem in recent years has been the increase in popularity of large 4X4s, which don't pass well on the narrow roads to and from the car parks.

It is very possible that those travelling by car to HRR could face significant delays, so you are advised to allow plenty of time to reach the Regatta site. Leaving at the end of the day can be problematic as well, especially on Saturday night after the fireworks, when the lane grinds to a complete halt. NOTE - it's really NOT a good idea to attempt to drive down the lane towards the course while everyone else is attempting to leave - even if you have promised your other half that you'll collect them.

Bad traffic can impact competitors as well as spectators, for example, several years ago one St Edward's boy who got stuck in traffic; had to leg it across Fawley meadow, then got a lift across the river in a boat and finally had to run like mad up the towpath in order to make his race on time - after under-estimating just how impossible it is to get into Henley during the Regatta.

Indeed, this can be a really bad problem on the first day of the regatta, not because of the large numbers of spectators (because there aren't that many on the wednesday), but because the usual local non-regatta traffic will have forgotten about the royal and the need to find an alternative route.

Finally, one other point of note - Henley Bridge is closed on the Saturday of HRR (owing to the numbers of inebriated people staggering around town) - so remember you'll have to head up the hill and round via Marlow or Reading if you need to get to the Bucks side of the river.

If this all sounds like too much bother - try getting the train.

The Car Parks
As you should be starting to realise, everything at HRR has a hierarchy, and car parking is no exception. Depending on the car park, your allocated slot may be based on your position in the rowing world hierarchy or your longevity as a member of club or enclosure, or simply on how early you requested the pass.

There are only five car parking areas worth their salt along the whole of the regatta course, these are:

  • The Competitors car park,
  • Lion Meadow,
  • Butlersís Field,
  • Greenís field and
  • Remenham Club (Including the allocated Remenham Club spaces, i.e South end, of the Copas Hillside carpark).
  • Here you can pre-book and be safe in the knowledge that you will have somewhere to park. Car park labels, subject to availability, may be purchased for cash at the entrance or in advance from Regatta Headquarters from 1st May by personal callers or by post.

    The following costs for 2009 apply:-

    • Wednesday £23
    • Thursday £23
    • Friday £27
    • Saturday £27
    • Sunday £24
    • Wednesday £15
    • Thursday £15
    • Friday £18
    • Saturday £20
    • Sunday £15

    Competitors get a limited number of free car park passes for each crew, which enables them to park in Butler's field or Green's field. Accredited members of the press can also apply for free cark park passes.

    The main Remenham Hillside Carpark is available to purchase on the day (non-reserved) or in advance via the Copas website

    There are lots of enterprising locals who allow parking on their land, such as
    Henley Cricket Club, Henley Rowing Club, Wargrave Meadows, Henley rugby club or numerous public parking areas such as the station and Grays Road. These have absolutely no Kudos as parking areas, as they require you to walk for far too long (though it's worth noting that sometimes walking back to your car at the station can be a lot quicker than the wait to drive out of Rememenham lane...)

    Rabbitís advice is get parking by the course if you can, otherwise resign yourself to parking in one of the others, bring some comfortable shoes and put up with the long hop required to reach the enclosures.

    Reserved Parking - Obtaining a Pass click to enlarge
    Competitors get access to the competitorís car park for a number of vehicles, dependant upon how many crew members there are (e.g. two Car park spaces are allowed for an VIII - put the cox in the boot)

    Remenham Club (including RC allocated Remenham Hillside) spaces may only be purchased by members of The Remenham Club

    Butlerís Field and Greenís Field spaces may only be purchased by members of the Stewardís Enclosure.

    Lionís meadow contains only 5 day reserved spaces and the hierachy for obtaining one is as follows:

  • Steward
  • Rowing Dignitary
  • Previous Holder
  • Random member of the stewards enclosure who gets an application in early enough.
  • Indeed Lion's Meadow spaces are so valued that members have to apply before 31st March to retain their spot, otherwise they might be relegated to Butlerís Field and then itís dead manís wheelarches before they get back in to the Meadow.

    Other Parking Points to Remember

    things to do in a car parkCar parks are excellent places to collect points for bad behaviour (see section on entertainment)

    They are also excellent places to have picnics or score free drinks/ lunches by wearing a blazer which gets you invited to join random groups of old boys or girls of your school, college, university, commonwealth team or whatever.

    /Introduction/Dress Code/Enclosures/Car Parking/
    /Launch Trips/Rowing/Drinking/Food/Entertainment/