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River & Rowing Museum
The acclaimed architect David Chipperfield is responsible for this striking wood-and-glass construction. There are a variety of spaces, including a meeting room for up to 10, the Thames Room for up to 120, and the Rowing Gallery for evening functions of up to 200. It’s possible to get a licence all the way through until 1am with a bit of notice.
Mill Meadows, Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire RG9 1BF, tel: 01491 415631, BR:- FR:3 M:120 D:200 R:250
If you want a bit of sporting success to rub off on your delegates, Leander Club might just be the place – its athletes have racked up an astonishing 99 Olympic medals (‘and counting’, it proudly proclaims on its website). The club has a variety of meeting and function spaces, including a dining room (with walls festooned with trophies) overlooking the Thames for up to 80. This can be combined with the Members Balcony Room, which fits up to 30. Henley-on-Thames RG9 2LP, tel: 01491 575782, BR:11 FR:4 M:60 D:110 R:120
Red Lion Hotel
Henley’s oldest hotel dates back to the 1500s and has hosted the likes of King Charles I (Room 108), Dr Johnson and Boswell (113 and 112) and Princess Grace of Monaco (114). Keith Chegwin has also passed through. There are three meeting rooms (the largest for 140 delegates), a private dining room for up to 100 and reception space for up to 200. The hotel also offers hospitality for the Regatta.
Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire RG9 2AR, tel: 01491 572161, BR:39 FR:4 M:140 D:110 R:200
Bateau du Vin at HdV Henley
The 43-bed Hotel du Vin, in the old Brakspeare Brewery, has no river frontage, but instead small groups of up to
12 can charter Bateau du Vin, its restored Victorian barge (complete with oarsmen) for trips up the river to secret picnic spots and riverside restaurants.
New Street, Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire RG9 2BP, tel: 01491 848400, BR:- FR:- M:- D:12 R:12
It’s fair to say that if you’re in Henley for the Regatta, there are few better places to be than the Grandstand Pavilion at Phyllis Court Club. It overlooks the finish line and has private boxes for up to 24 guests to enjoy cocktails, canapés and lunch. You can also hire the top deck for up to 80 and the lower deck for up to 94, though don’t ignore the meeting and function spaces in the club itself.
Marlow Road, Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire RG9 2HT, tel: 01491 570500, BR:17 FR:5 M:250 D:250 R:300
You approach this Georgian folly at the start of the Regatta course by boat. Groups of up to 40 can enjoy a sit-down meal in the carefully restored interiors (which are the finest example of the Etruscan style in England), or up to 120 for an alfresco party on the lawns. Hospitality during the Regatta is handled by Prestige (see box below).
Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire RG9 2LY, tel: 01491 572153, BR:- FR:1 M:40 D:40 R:60
Henley Business School
You’ll find the business school two miles from town, in a Grade II*-listed building that once housed the WH Smith family. There are 10 conference rooms and a plethora of meeting spaces, not to mention a riverside restaurant and 21m outdoor pool. A good choice for weddings or large summer balls.
Greenlands, Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire RG9 3AU, tel: 01491 418810, BR:100 FR:11 M:115 D:120 R:100
This article was first published in Square Meal Venues & Events, summer 2011