Dozens of dragon boats roar into Gloucester Docks in May 2024

The annual Dragon Boat Festival is returning to Gloucester Docks this May 2024, with up to 30 rowing crews racing towards the finish line along the River Severn.

By Kaleigh Pritchard  |  Published
The Dragon Boat Festival roars into Gloucester Docks this May 2024 – raising money for excellent local causes.

The eagerly-anticipated Gloucester Dragon Boat Festival returns to Gloucester Docks on Sunday 12 May 2023, featuring a series of energetic races.

Teams, made up of 10 rowers, climb aboard impressive 30-foot-long canoe boats fitted with colourful dragon heads — plus a drummer perched on the bow of each boat to keep crew members locked into a consistent rowing rhythm.

Inspired by the tradition that originated in China more than 2,000 years ago, the racing spectacle is now a firm favourite in Gloucestershire with hundreds of spectators cheering on the competitors as they race along Gloucester Docks.

Nautical lovers can expect a day of courageous competition, with 30 teams vying for victory to win the prized Gloucester Dragon Boat Shield.

Starting beneath the swing bridge on Llanthony Road, the boats tear through the water of the Docks Basin, before finishing at Merchants Quay.

The day is split in half, with teams able to choose between taking part in morning races from 9.30am until 1pm, or afternoon races from 1pm until 5.30pm — with the top three teams competing in the final race of the day for the overall win.

Visitors are encouraged to create a great atmosphere with plenty of noise and cheering encouraged to spur on the rowers.

Organised by Rotary Club of Gloucester Severn, this year's fundraising event is in support of the festival's headline charity, Young Gloucestershire.  All proceeds go towards providing opportunities to help young people in Gloucestershire achieve their goals and improve their lives.

For more of the most unique family events taking place in the county, check out SoGlos's list of wacky events in Gloucestershire.


Dragon Boat Festival


Sunday 12 May 2024


From 10am until 5pm


Free of charge for spectators


Telephone number unavailable

More on Gloucester Docks

More from Visit