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Outdoor Swimmer Henley Swim Festival

5 races scheduled · 700 participants · 2021-07-11 · Henley-on-Thames
Safety measures in place ·
Tickets on organiser’s site
About this event

This outdoor, family-friendly Henley Swim Festival has multiple distances to choose from. Get the whole family involved in this open water experience. Come for the finisher's medal, live music and entertainment, and a whole day of family fun.

Raceday details
How to enter

Tickets available until Thu Apr 08 2021

What's included:

  • All finishers receive a completion time
  • Goody bag
  • Medal
  • Prizes for junior swim winners
  • Access to the entire Outdoor Swimmer Henley Swim Festival for you and your spectators
  • Experience live music
  • Food and drink
  • Exhibitors
  • Equipment testing
  • Endless pool
  • Whole day of fun by the river
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Frequently asked questions
Route description
Route description

The Henley Mile is a straight line downstream River Thames swimming event, held over the Henley Royal Regatta boomed course.

The distance options are:

  • 200m (age 8-12)
  • Half-Mile (age 9+)
  • Mile (age 14+)
  • Suits vs Skins
  • 4 Mile Challenge

All courses are downstream and finish at the event area.


Suits vs Skins

The Suits vs Skins challenge sees swimmers completing two non-consecutive mile swims, one with a wetsuit and one without. The person who has the fastest cumulative time will be crowned the winner.

4 Mile Challenge

In this event, swimmers will swim the 1 mile course 4 times throughout the day for a real chance to push themselves. It's recommended that swimmers start their day with their first swim in Start Wave A.

There are no waves between 12:30 - 13:45, so swimmers should plan their day around this. It's also recommended entrants bring their own food as concession lines can be long during the day.

To enter the 4 Mile Challenge all entrants must be able to swim and walk/jog a mile within 75 minutes.

Water Temperature

The water temperature at the Henley Swim Festival will depend upon both the outside temperature and the quantity of rainfall in the days and weeks running up to the event. It is therefore very difficult to predict.

Based on previous years, in mid-July, expect the water to be between 17 and 20 degrees centigrade.

Did the Half-Mile (9+ yrs) in 2019
It was a great day, an amazing setting, a fantstic course. my only criticism would be the queues for food and drink.
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Logistics and schedule


08:45 1 Mile Mass Start

09:30 - 12:30 Suits vs Skins First Race Start

09:30 - 10:15 Wave A Starts & 4 Mile Challenge Start

10:15 - 11:00 Wave B Starts

11:00 - 11:45 Wave C Starts

11:45 - 12:30 Wave D Starts

13:00 200m Start

13:20 Clubs Half Mile Mass Start (by invite only)

13:25 - 13:40 Half Mile Rolling Start

13:45 - 14:30 Wave E Start

14:30 - 15:00 Wave F Start

15:00 2nd Suits vs Skins Race must start before this time

15:15 Clubs Mile Mass Start (by invite only)

Entertainment and Event Village

You and your supporters can enjoy the atmospheric festival ‘village’ for post swimming celebrations, information and advice, and spectator entertainment including craft, yoga, live music and more.


All Mile swimmers should be confident of being able to swim at least 2.5k non-stop to take part in this event and Half Mile swimmers should be able to swim 1km non-stop.

All 200m swimmers should have completed basic swimming lessons and be comfortable treading water in the deep end of a swimming pool. Ideally they should be able to swim 20 lengths without stopping.

Age Requirements

Children are allowed to swim alongside an adult if they are the following ages for each event:

  • The Mile - 14 years and older
  • Half Mile - 9 years and older
  • 200m - one adult can accompany children aged 8-12 years old free of charge

If your child is 13+ they can swim without an adult accompanying them, however it's recommended that you walk alongside them to support them. It's also required that your child can complete the distance they are entered for.


You can bring friends and family to support you, and there is plenty for them to do on the land. There is no charge for spectators, and you are able to pre-book additional car parking if required.

Spectators can walk alongside the river, cheering you on, for the entire course.


If you are interested in volunteering at this amazing event please visit:

If you volunteer at one event (minimum 5 hours), you will receive a FREE entry into one of the other events (for a Thames Marathon entry or for the 4x Challenge at the Henley Swim Festival, you qualify after volunteering at two events).

How to get there

Temple Island Meadows, Temple Island Meadows, Remenham Lane, Remenham, Henley-on-Thames RG9 3DB, UK

Get directionsExternalLink


There is plenty of parking available at the event, but it is encouraged to car share wherever possible. Cars will be charged £10 to park, or £5 if booked in advance when registering.

Subscribers to Outdoor Swimmer magazine will receive free parking, so should not pre-book.


Basic camping is available on the Saturday night at the event site, including toilets and drinking water, but no electricity.

Complete the festival experience by arriving the afternoon before your swim and enjoying time by the river or in Henley. You will wake up to stunning views of the River Thames, ready to tackle your swim and enjoy all that the Henley Swim Festival has to offer.

The campsite will be open from 3pm on Saturday to 5pm on Sunday. Campers can bring their cars to the campsite, and do not need to book additional parking.

Frequently asked questions
Will there be prizes at the Henley Swim Festival?
There will be prize giving for the junior Half-mile and 200m events. These will be broken down by sex and age group, and will be presented at the event soon after the results are available. As there are waves throughout the day, the results of the Mile and Suits vs Skins for both adults and juniors will not be known until the last wave is complete. Swimmers will be able to check their times after their swim, and a complete list of results, including age group positions, will be available online at the end of the day. The junior Mile and Suits vs Skins prizes will be sent after the event. There will not be prizes for the adult categories.
Can I swim any categories with my children at the Henley Swim Festival?
Yes, you can swim with your children in all events. The Mile – if your child is 14 or over you can swim the Mile together, please make sure you select the same wave during the registration process. The Half-mile – if your child is 9 or over you can swim the Half-mile together. The 200m – if your child is aged 8-12, one adult can accompany the child free of charge. Children are allowed to swim alone, and do not need to have an accompanying adult.
Are children allowed to swim without an adult at the Henley Swim Festival?
If your child is aged 12 or under, you will need to make sure that they have either an accompanying adult swimming with them, or walking the tow-path alongside them. When you register your child for the event, you will be asked to confirm that you have understood this. Children aged 13+ do not require this, however it's very much hoped that you will be supporting your child throughout their swim. You can walk alongside all the way. It is also asked that you to be sure that your child has the capability to swim in the event that you enter them in.
Is there any event memorabilia at the Henley Swim Festival?
There will be memorabilia available to buy on the day.
Do you have to wear a wetsuit for the Henley Swim Festival?
Wetsuits are optional for this event!
What if I am a member of a swimming club when I'm entering Henley Swim Festival?
Members of swimming clubs can email [email protected] to qualify for the invite only start times.
Booking related questionsDo you have a question about bookings, cancellations, or refunds?
Tickets on organiser’s site

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