Rowers hit the water as the Henley Royal Regatta returns

Video report by ITV News Meridian's Charlotte Briere-Edney

The Henley Royal Regatta is back after a break because of the pandemic.

Last year was the first time in the event's 182-year history it had to be cancelled, apart from during the two world wars.

Thousands of spectators are expected over the week with more than 300 races on the water.

As spectators lap up the atmosphere, schools, universities and independent rowing clubs will each have their moment on the 2,112m course.

Credit: ITV News Meridian

After months of training, competing here is a dream come true.

Rower Mary O'Donnell said: "We've been working for this all year and it's the end point. So it is just really cool to be here."

The Royal regatta is vital for Henley, bringing in much needed visitors to the town.

This year the event was largely ticketed, and the site rearranged to keep everyone Covid safe.

One change that caught the headlines was a relaxation of the dress code, allowing women to wear trousers in the Steward's Enclosure for the first time. 

Whatever the sartorial choice, the Henley tradition of sport and celebration appeared as strong as ever.