top of page
Saturday 14th September 2024.
Provisional 2024 dates
Saturday 14th September 2024  

Watch this space for updates.
  • IP-blueArtboard 7
  • IP-blueArtboard 5
  • IP-blue-eArtboard 6


"Kayak With 1800 Lights Wins Best in Parade"

"Fireworks off Lilly the Big Yellow Duck’s raft was the ‘lift-off’ for the spectacular Illuminated Boat Parade on Saturday evening, which saw a flotilla of 40+ decorated boats sail upstream from Fawley Meadows to Henley bridge."

Henley Herald review  - click to read 

The Event


The Inaugural Illuminated Parade at Henley on Sept  16th 2023, was a huge success. We had 50+ boats take part, with very imaginative lighting.


The building and houses from the Bridge to Fawley Court were brilliantly and colourfully lit, and up to 2000 spectators watched the parade from both sides of the river and on the bridge.


A  marvellous spectacle!

The organisers, Chris Taylor and Penny Palmano were thrilled with the turnout and would like to thank all those taking part who made such a huge effort and to thank those who came to watch.

It will have to be repeated next year.

Many entrants have said they are now planning their 2024 entries and upping their game!


The event was privately funded by the Organisers in 2023.

Sponsors are sought for 2024. Opportunities are:

  • The Trophies with the sponsor's name on

  • Advertising on Social Media with credits

  • Posters and town advertising with credits

  • Projected adverts on some  buildings



Post Event Award

Organisers Special Award

Twilight for ‘The Lionesses’

Runner Up: Paula for ‘Biggles Aeroplane’ owned by Ruth Cassidy

Best in Parade

Jeppo Kayak, owned by Peter Jepson


Runner Up: E133 Shirley Ann ‘Sailing Boat’ owned by Luke Breen

Best Fancy Dress on Board

Joint Winners Mermaids from Boka and Butterflies from Ratty


Runner Up: Flat Bottomed Girl ii

Best Music Boat

Scoopenhagen for Barbie


Runner Up: Coming Soon 


Best Unpowered Boat

Sgian Dubh, owned by Ian Symons

Runner Up: Molly, owned by Geoff Probert

Best Lit Spectator

Beau and Grace

Introducing the 2023 Judges and Commentators! 

Let's meet the remarkable individuals who added their magic touch to this year's parade:

Andy Trotman: A distinguished personality with an eye for excellence.

Dhani Harrison: A true artist with a keen sense of creativity.

Henley Mayor (Sarah Miller): Our esteemed local leader is providing an authoritative presence to the judging panel and leading the way.
Bethan Toop: A connoisseur of all things extraordinary.
Actor Simon Williams: Bringing his unique perspective to the panel.

🎤 Commentators🎤
DJ Mike Read: Keeping the energy high with his electrifying commentary.
Voice of Rowing Robert Treharne-Jones: Guiding us through the parade with his soothing voice.

Together, they made the Thames come alive with their expertise and enthusiasm!

Best Video competition winners - click here to view!


Any boat, any size, any age, powered or unpowered is welcome. Sadly Paddle boards will not be able to enter.

It's not about how much you spend, it's about the creativity of the idea, see The Gallery for thoughts. 



  • We will set up a Whats App group for registered entrants - entrants to give consent when they sign up for event.

  • Please ensure the organisers have your mobile number.


  • Craft must be safe for all aboard and others around them.

  • We regret no paddleboarders this year, as we cannot get insurance for them. 

  • High power laser displays are not permitted.

  • We are on the flight path and would need permits for lasers.

  • Very low power lasers are OK but must be vertically facing only - Not into the crowd.

  • Some people are sensitive to fast flashing lights, no strobes please.

  • Craft must have no sharp edges or spikes.

  • Illuminations should be soundly constructed and properly attached the the craft.

  • Any devices should be waterproof in case of rain.

  • Parade will take place regardless of weather conditions unless there are red boards in place or the river is in flood.

  • No rockets, flares, naked flames or projecting fireworks.  

  • No untethered hot air balloons or lanterns (farms with cattle and crops surround the route).

  • No floating naked flames to be released from any craft.

  • Mooring after the Parade is downstream from Leander and will be marked,  but craft may have to raft up so adequate fendering will be required.

  • Please bring mooring spikes, there are no mooring rings.

  • We know that plastic and other materials may be used in the decorations. Please ensure that no plastic can fall in the river and anything that may go in the river is entirely water soluble and non toxic.

  • Fancy dress  is encouraged, judges  love  themes.

  • Remember to have uplighters  so the  judges can  see the costumes.

  • The more  creative the better.

  • Music  is important,  but remember  that it may be loud on your boat, but make sure  you  have  speakers  facing the crowds

If you haven’t got a boat why not hire one! Click here to download details.

guide to entrants

Taking Part


The first parade was in Cookham in 2015 and was so popular it became an annual event, only postponed due to Covid. It has now been moved to Henley. In 2019 up to 40 boats attended with large crowds watching from the Riverbank and even pop up bars! 

Organiser Chris Taylor is an inventor, and used to hold the event in Cookham when he lived there, but has moved it to Henley after relocating in 2020. He said: “I started this event in Cookham in 2015 when I thought it would be great to get a few lights on some boats and go down to the local pub.

“We had about 10 boats turn up for the first one and then it grew incrementally every year and became incredibly popular with people on both sides of the river, a pop-up bar and food stalls.”



All the proceeds of each event will be donated by the organisers. All the boat entry fees except the mooring fees will be donated to the charities below without deduction.

If you would like to contribute to the charities,  please click this link or donate on the night to the on-site collectors.

The Rivertime Trust

The Rivertime Boat Trust is a Multi Award–Winning Charity that offers disabled and disadvantaged adults, children and young people an opportunity to develop a long term involvement with the River Thames, by providing a safe, supportive and stimulating environment aboard the Charity's boat ‘Rivertime’.


The Leander Trust is a registered charity focusing on rowing and sculling. They aim to:  advance the education of young people by helping with their physical education by the provision of facilities - including grant awards; enable and encourage rowing and sculling; and help with the provision of facilities for recreation for those who need such facilities because of their youth, social or economic circumstances.

The Charities
Contact Us

Our thanks to the following:


Screenshot 2022-02-21 at 14.58_edited.jpg









A Limited Liability UK Company
Company number: 13851576
Registered  Office. 54 Queen Steet, Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire, RG9 1AP

The Parade is organised by a privately owned UK limited company.
The Company’s only activity is to organise an ‘Illuminated Boat Parade’ at Henley on Thames.
All  costs of the first year were covered by a donation from the shareholders
No fees or dividends are being paid to the directors or shareholders.
The event is organised specifically as a fund-raising event for charity.
All fees for entries collected via the website and on the night and any charitable donations at the event will be donated to the two chosen charities less the mooring fees that will be passed on to Hobbs Limited as collection agents for the mooring’s owners.

The organisers would welcome any sponsorship enquiries.
The directors reserve the right to recoup some costs as the event grows in size.

bottom of page