On July 20th an ancient tradition returns to Windsor with ‘Swan Upping’ taking place.

The royal swan uppers under the auspices of Royal Swan Marker David Barber will set off from Eton Bridge for a three-day conservation exercise.

Resplendent in their uniforms they will row traditional Thames skiffs upstream; marking cygnets and recording the welfare of the birds and health of the river in general.


An 8.30am start will ensure the team can make it to Marlow by the end of the first day. On the Wednesday they will go from Marlow to Sonning and on the last day will row from Sonning to Moulsford, a little way past Goring on Thames.

This tradition harks back to when swans were a valuable food source and the annual ceremony of Swan Upping has been undertaken for hundreds of years. Since the twelfth century The Crown has had ownership of all unmarked mute swans swimming on the Thames.

Did you know! The law relating to ownership of mute swans applies to dead as well as live birds and to any parts of birds. So technically, if you pick up a swan feather during your visit to Windsor you could be headed for the Castle dungeons! 

Swan Upping 2021