The world’s largest gathering of traditional river craft will be seen this summer in the UK town most associated with glorious riverine pursuits – Henley on Thames. The Thames Traditional Boat Festival will be held from Friday 14 July – Sunday 16 July in the beautiful setting of Fawley Meadows on the banks of the Thames, right opposite the renowned Henley Royal Regatta course. Visitors to this, the annual Thames Traditional Boat Festival, will be treated to the spectacular sight of hundreds of different traditional river craft sailing downriver as a flotilla against a natural backdrop of gently wooded hills.
This year’s Festival is expected to attract over two hundred craft, ranging from coracles and canoes to a Victorian steam cruiser, boats of special historical interest, including the only WWI torpedo boat still afloat, and even military and amphibious vehicles! The Festival provides a unique opportunity to see some of the rarest and most beautiful examples of traditional craftsmanship and boat building, including traditional Thames slipper launches and motorboats. As the spirit of its founders was a focus on the need to preserve British heritage and tradition, the Festival has expanded in recent years and now also includes vintage and classic cars and motorcycles. To add to the excitement, the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight (including a WWII Dakota) and the WW1 Display Team bi-planes and tri-planes will fly past, and military and amphibious vehicles from past decades will also be on display.
But the jewel in the Thames Traditional Boat Festival’s crown is almost literally just that – the Queens’ Royal Row Barge, Gloriana, which was used for the Diamond Jubilee. Gloriana will be the centrepiece of the Festival for the whole three days and visitors will be able to purchase tickets at the event to cruise down the Thames on her, surely a unique and unforgettable experience.
As well as an opportunity to experience and wonder at the sheer variety of traditional craft on display, The Trad is a not to be missed weekend of learning and entertainment that will delight everyone, from the very young to the youthful at heart. Alongside the boats and vehicles, there will be a wide range of exhibitors selling everything from nautical essentials to vintage fashion. Visitors can also expect excellent refreshments to be available at pop up restaurants and bars. Anyone interested in bringing their own traditional boat or vehicle to the Trad needs to apply online before June 1st at www.tradboatfestival.com
Tickets are available to purchase online now at http://www.tradboatfestival.com/festival-tickets at prices ranging from £8 for a day ticket on Friday to £26 for a full 3 day weekend adult ticket. Parking is included in the ticket price.