Swan Upping at Goring Lock

Colourful ceremony dating from medieval times

Swan Upping

The Royal Swan Upping takes place every year in late July. It starts at Sunbury Lock and ends at Abingdon Bridge. The ceremony dates from medieval times when the Crown claimed ownership of all mute swans as they were then an important food source. Ownership has been shared with the Vintners' and Dyers' Livery Companies since the fifteenth century.

The Queen's Swan Marker, accompanied by the Swan Uppers of the Vintners' and Dyers' Companies, use six traditional Thames rowing skiffs in their five-day journey upstream. Scarlet uniforms are worn by The Queen's Swan Marker and the Swan Uppers, and each boat flies appropriate flags and pennants. The swans are counted and the cygnets weighed and measured, and all birds are checked for any sign of injury.

Dates and approximate times at locks are available from the Office of The Queen's Swan Marker. Phone 01628 523030.