Rowing is a hugely popular sport in the United Kingdom, with people of all ages and abilities taking to the water at different locations to row up and down the country. In this article, we are going to take a look at 10 of the best rowing locations in Britain. We’ll discuss why each location is so good for rowing, as well as highlighting any famous rowing clubs that are nearby. If you’re looking for a place to get your row on, then read on – you might just find your perfect spot!
Top 7 Rowing Locations
Henley on Thames
Henley on Thames is an iconic location in the world of rowing, home to some of the most prestigious rowing clubs in the UK and indeed, the world. This picturesque town on the River Thames is synonymous with the sport due to its rich history and tradition, and its annual hosting of the world-renowned Henley Royal Regatta.
One of the key rowing clubs in Henley is the Henley Rowing Club. Founded in 1839, it has a vibrant and diverse membership, with over 350 active members. The club offers excellent facilities and coaching for all levels, from beginners to competitive rowers. It is based on Wargrave Road in Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire, right on the banks of the River Thames.
Another prominent name is the Leander Club, one of the oldest rowing clubs in the world. Known as the home for distinguished rowers, it is a private members’ club that caters to both local residents and visiting rowers. Over the years, Leander Club has produced numerous Olympic rowers and medalists, making it a significant contributor to the UK’s success in the sport.
The Upper Thames Rowing Club is also a major name in Henley. It is one of the top rowing clubs in the UK, boasting excellent training facilities and high-quality coaching. Its location on the historic river Thames makes it a desirable destination for rowers from around the country and beyond.
In addition to these clubs, the Remenham Club and the Phyllis Court Rowing Club also contribute to the vibrant rowing scene in Henley. The Remenham Club, located on the Henley Regatta course, is a consortium of seven London-based rowing clubs, while the Phyllis Court Rowing Club is situated on the same stretch of the Thames as the Henley Royal Regatta, offering a wonderful environment for rowing enthusiasts.
Last but not least, the Henley Royal Regatta is a cornerstone of both the sporting and social calendar. This annual event attracts top rowing talent from around the world and is considered the best-known regatta globally.
Henley on Thames is a hub for rowing, offering a mix of leisurely and competitive rowing opportunities, high-quality facilities, and a rich history that continues to inspire rowers today.
Eton Dorney, also known as Dorney Lake, is more than just a rowing location: it’s a hub for the sport’s enthusiasts. Located in Windsor, UK, this purpose-built rowing lake is renowned worldwide and was even used as a venue for the 2012 Summer Olympics. The Eton College Rowing Centre at Dorney Lake is home to both the Eton College Boat Club and the Dorney Boat Club.
The Dorney Boat Club offers an inclusive environment that caters to all abilities. Their weekly sessions offer opportunities for both juniors and adults to learn and practice the art of rowing. The club trains on Sundays from 2-4pm and Wednesdays from 6-8pm, making it accessible for people with varying schedules.
In addition to club activities, Eton Dorney also hosts rowing courses. These non-residential rowing courses are based at Dorney Lake and provide intensive training for those looking to improve their skills. They also open applications annually, so prospective rowers can plan their training accordingly.
A unique feature of Eton Dorney is its connection to local schools. The Dorney Lake Schools Rowing Programme provides local schools with the opportunity to learn to row at this historic venue. This initiative helps to foster a love for the sport among young people and nurtures the next generation of rowers.
Lastly, to enrich the rowing experience, Eton Dorney houses a Rowing Museum. Here, visitors can delve into the history of the sport, adding a touch of cultural education to the physical activity.
Eton Dorney is not only one of the best rowing locations in the UK but also a thriving community for rowers of all levels. From its inclusive clubs to educational programmes and historic museum, it truly embodies the spirit of rowing.
Queen Adelaide Straight
Queen Adelaide Straight, located on the River Great Ouse north of Ely, is an excellent location for rowing. It boasts a 5km stretch of unobstructed water, with minimal river traffic, making it a tranquil and safe space for those who love to row. The width of the river allows for several boats to row simultaneously, promoting a sense of camaraderie among the rowers.
One of the key rowing clubs near Queen Adelaide Straight is the Isle of Ely Rowing Club. This club has a close association with the straight, given that the Cambridge University Boat Club uses this stretch of water for their Boat Race training. The Boat Race is a highly anticipated annual event between the Cambridge University Boat Club and the Oxford University Boat Club, further highlighting the significance of the Queen Adelaide Straight in the world of rowing.
The Queen Adelaide Straight is not only popular among university rowing clubs but also with local rowing clubs. The West Norfolk Rowing Club, for example, has had competitors take to the waters of the Queen Adelaide Straight. The straight has been described as a challenging course, especially on breezy mornings with a testing headwind, providing an opportunity for rowers to test their skills and endurance.
The man-made Adelaide Straight is also notable for the Boat Race 2021, which started at the Queen Adelaide Bridge and finished just shy of the Sandhill Bridge at Littleport. This race brought attention to this quiet backwater, showcasing its potential as a competitive rowing location.
Despite its challenges, Queen Adelaide Straight remains a beloved location for rowing. The wide, straight stretch of river provides a perfect environment for both practice and competition. Its importance in training for prestigious events like the Boat Race underscores its status as a prime rowing location.
The River Thames
The River Thames, known as the lifeblood of London, is a hub for rowing activities, offering a mix of leisurely and competitive rowing opportunities. Its 215-mile stretch provides scenic beauty and a variety of water conditions, making it an attractive course for rowers of all levels.
Numerous rowing clubs dot the banks of the Thames, each with its unique charm and history. Among them are the Emanuel School Boat Club, Furnivall Sculling Club, The Imperial College Boathouse, Parrs Priory Rowing Club, and Putney Town Rowing Club. They cater to rowers of different skill levels, providing excellent facilities and coaching.
The stretch of the Thames that runs through Henley-on-Thames holds a special place in the heart of the global rowing community. Known as the ‘rowing capital of the world’, Henley hosts the annual Henley Royal Regatta, a prestigious event that attracts top rowing talent from around the world. This event, with its combination of sport and social festivities, has become a highlight of the British summer season.
Another iconic rowing event on the Thames is The Boat Race, an annual competition between Oxford and Cambridge Universities. This race covers a 4.2-mile stretch of the Thames in West London, from Putney to Mortlake. Known as one of the oldest and most famous amateur rowing events, The Boat Race draws thousands of spectators each year, both on the riverbanks and on TV.
In addition to these high-profile events, the Thames hosts several other regattas throughout the year, like the Marlow Town Regatta, contributing to the vibrant rowing culture along the river.
For those interested in the history and culture of rowing, a visit to the River & Rowing Museum in Henley is a must. With galleries dedicated to rowing, the River Thames, and the town of Henley, the museum offers a deeper understanding of the sport’s significance in the area.
Rowing on the River Thames is an experience that combines sport, history, and culture. Whether you’re a novice looking to learn, an experienced rower seeking competition, or a spectator wishing to soak up the atmosphere, the Thames has something for everyone.
If you’re looking for a challenge, then why not try rowing on Windermere? This lake is the largest in England, and at over 11 miles long, it’s sure to give your arms a workout! Rowing on Windermere is particularly popular in the summer months, when the weather is warm and the water is calm.
The River Severn is another great choice for rowers of all abilities. The river is long and winding, making it perfect for a leisurely row. Plus, there are plenty of stretches of river that are ideal for racing if you’re feeling competitive. There are also plenty of rowing clubs located nearby, so you’ll be able to find one that’s right for you
Alternatively, if you’re looking for a more relaxing rowing experience, then Coniston Water in the Lake District might be more up your street. This lake is much smaller than Windermere, but it’s still a beautiful place to row. Rowing here is the perfect way to while away a lazy afternoon.
So there you have it – our pick of the best rowing locations in Britain. Whether you’re looking for a challenge or a place to relax, one of these spots is sure to be perfect for you. So what are you waiting for? Get out on the water and start exploring!
The United Kingdom offers a diverse range of rowing locations that cater to both beginners and experienced rowers. From the serene waters of the River Thames to the challenging courses of the Henley-on-Thames, there’s something for everyone.
Whether you’re looking for a peaceful row in the beautiful sceneries of Windermere or a competitive race in the historic Dorney Lake, you’ll find it all in the UK. So gear up, pick a location from this list, and experience the thrill and tranquility of rowing in the United Kingdom. It’s not just about the sport, but also about immersing yourself in the stunning landscapes and rich history that these locations offer. Happy rowing!