The Henley Festival


The Henley Festival is one of the biggest, best established and most well-loved art festivals in the UK. The black tie event is held for five nights every summer on the banks of the Thames, welcoming visitors and performers from all over the world. At its heart, The Henley Festival is a charity, and profits go to help support the activities of The Henley Festival Trust. The Henley Festival Trust “profoundly believes that the arts have the power to transform lives at every level”.  My husband and I support The Henley Festival Trust as Friends, and have attended the Festival for several years. There are art installations, pop up art galleries, cabarets, stand up comedy, bands and orchestras, roaming performers and stellar performances on the floating stage. In my opinion, it gets better every year.

Sting at The Henley Festival


Sting at The Henley Festival

My favourite performance this year had to be Sting, who on the Wednesday evening performed to a full house. His energy, vocal ability and showmanship are amazing. Supported by incredibly talented musicians, this high energy show was an absolute delight. On the Thursday we attended a Diamond Jubilee Celebration hosted by Katherine Jenkins. Joined by Nathan Pacheco and The Military Wives Choir, Katherine led a fabulous classical performance. For the finale, rousing choruses of ‘Land of Hope and Glory’ and ‘Jerusalem’ echoed across the Thames as the audience joined in. Other evenings, shows included Alfie Boe, a Saturday night party with Lulu and a performance by Olly Murs.

Another big part of The Henley Festival is the food. Roux at the Riverside, La Scala and The Terrace Restaurant are only a few of the wonderful places to wine and dine. Our meal at The Terrace Restaurant on Wednesday was wonderful. The photographs speak for themselves.


Asparagus and Mascarpone Tart with a Hollandaise and Balsamic Dressing | Open Ravioli of Mushroom and Baby Spinach with Parmesan Truffle Oil and Vegetable Crisps


Lemon Tart with Nut Brittle Ice Cream | Belgian Chocolate Torte with a White Chocolate Fruit and Nut Florentine

On the Thursday evening we ate across the river at Phyllis Court, before travelling to the Festival in a small launch manned by the Sea Cadets. I’ve never boarded a little boat wearing a formal dress and heels before…luckily I managed not to fall overboard!

At the end of each evening, the Festival finishes with fireworks.


Vogue magazine were absolutely right when they billed the festival as ‘unmissable’. The next Henley Festival takes place in July 2013. For more information as it becomes available, visit The Henley Festival website.

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Article by April Harris

April has written 1286 great articles for us.

April is a writer, recipe developer, frequent traveller and blogger sharing travel, food, and style. Based in the south of England, April is a British Canadian who is passionate about family, hearth and home, healthy living (with treats!) and the transformative power of travel.

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