The Boat Race


Oxford vs Cambridge Boat Race


The famous Oxford v Cambridge Boat Race brings thousands of spectators to London's riverside as the two elite universities take to the water in a gruelling four-mile rowing race between Putney Bridge and Chiswick Bridge. Find out the best places to watch.

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Oxford v Cambridge Boat Races

Putney Bridge, Between Fulham and Putney, London, SW6 3JD

Tube: Putney Bridge Station


Dates: 29th March 2020


One of London's oldest sporting events, first raced in 1829, The Boat Race sees England's two elite universities take to the water in a nail-biting 4.2 mile rowing race between Putney Bridge and Mortlake Bridge in southwest London. Thousands of fans line the Thames each year to see Oxford battle against Cambridge. For spectators, there's a great view - and some great pubs - around Furnivall Gardens on the north side of the Thames near Hammersmith Bridge. Head to Putney Bridge, where big screens are put up on both banks, to watch the start of the race. At Bishop's Park behind the South Stand of Fulham football ground Craven Cottage, you'll find food stalls, family attractions and a large beer tent, while the banks of the river around Barnes are another popular spot. The warm-up starts with the reserve crew race between Isis and Goldie held before the main event but the build-up at the river bank starts well before, from 12noon at Bishop's Park and Furnivall Gardens.


The Boathouse

Sitting on the riverfront in Putney, The Boathouse is a good spot from which to watch the start of the Boat Race.

Brewhouse Street, London, SW15 2NP

Tube: Putney Bridge Station


Sitting on the riverfront in Putney, The Boathouse is a lovely place for a pint, especially when the sun shines. Watch the boats bob up and down while enjoying a beer at this Young's owned pub situated in a prime location for watching the start of the famous Oxford v Cambridge boat race which brings crowds of spectators to this spot every spring. Once the action has started, join the party on the mezzanine where there'll be entertainment, outside bars and burgers to keep you going into the night.


Thai Square Putney Bridge

The Putney branch of this chain of Thai restaurants is in a prime location for Boat Race day.

2-4 Lower Richmond Road, Putney, London, SW15 1JN

Tube: Putney Bridge Station


Right on the waterfront, few restaurants offer a better view of the annual boat race than Thai Square Putney Bridge. Enjoy fine dining in the second-floor restaurant and you'll get live broadcasts of all the action on the water. For those who want to get even closer to the drama, and watch the race kick-off on the riverbank, small portions of Thai Square favourites, including vegetarian and duck spring rolls, chicken satay, stir-fried noodles and chicken green curry will be served outside at prices starting from just £1, all washed down with Thai beers and other drinks. The festivities don't stop when the racing does; there will be live music and resident DJs rocking the ground floor bar until 2am.


The Duke's Head

Occupies an enviable position next to the water near Putney Bridge.

8 Lower Richmond Road, London, SW15 1JN

Tube: Putney Bridge Station


The riverside terrace at Putney's The Duke's Head is a popular spot from which to watch the boats go by, particularly for the annual Boat Race. The Duke's Head gets geared up with homemade street food, cocktails and local craft beers so you can eat by the river, enjoy live music and cheer on the crews at the start of the race. For those who don't manage to grab front row seats, plasma screens showing the race throughout the indoor spaces including the pub's historic Rowing Club. And the celebrations don't end once the race is over, entertainment continues into the evening with live music on this busy day of the year.


The Crabtree Tavern

The riverside Victorian pub is perfectly located close to Fulham FC's home, Craven Cottage.

Rainville Road, Fulham, London, W6 9HA

Tube: Baron's Court Station


A welcome addition to the riverside pub scene between Fulham and Hammersmith is the renovated Victorian pub The Crabtree. The sheer size of the main room, combined with the lovely beer garden on a river bend, means there's plenty of room for a pint close to the action on Boat Race day. The race will be shown on two projectors and six plasma screens with the build-up starting from 12noon.


Brasserie Blanc Fulham Reach

Ryamond Blanc's riverside brasserie overlooks Hammersmith Bridge.

Goldhurst House, Parr's Way, London, W6 9AN

Tube: Hammersmith Station


Overlooking Hammersmith Bridge, the riverside Brasserie Blanc in Fulham Reach occupies a beautiful spot, particularly on boat race day. Just for the occasion they're putting on Happy Hour from 4pm until 7pm where selected cocktails are 2-4-1 and live music from 4pm. Cheer on Oxford or Cambridge from the beautiful pedestrianised terrace and indulge in pulled pork buns or something from the a la carte menu. One of six brasseries in London by Raymond Blanc, this one is particularly good for watching the boats go by, thanks to its prime position on the Thames Path.


The Blue Anchor

Small, but perfectly formed, traditional riverside pub in the shadow of Hammersmith Bridge.

13 Lower Mall, London, W6 9DJ

Tube: Ravenscourt Park Station


Tucked away in the shadow of Hammersmith Bridge this small, but perfectly formed, traditional riverside pub offers a peaceful retreat from the chaos of Hammersmith's relentless one-way system and energetic rowing fraternity. Famously appearing in the film 'Sliding Doors', The Blue Anchor is a great location on and off the set. In the summer, customers adjourn outside to wooden benches perched right next to the river. At the boat races it gets very bit busy but the view of Hammersmith Bridge is worth it if you don't mind a crowd. They also put on a BBQ on the terrace, an outdoor bar and live music.


The Rutland

One of a pair of pubs in the shadow of Hammersmith Bridge.

15 Lower Mall, Hammersmith, London, W6 9DJ

Tube: Ravenscourt Park Station


The Rutland, just two doors down from the Blue Anchor, is one of a pair of pubs in the shadow of Hammersmith Bridge, and one of the best places to be when the boat race is on. Sunshine and the riverside setting transform this rather nondescript pub serving decent lager into one of the busiest pubs in this part of town. It's a beautiful spot, a real sun trap with great views and The Rutland's outdoor benches are positively crammed from May to September. The beer of choice is watery Australian lager, although there is a decent bitter and they do a good Pimms. The most important thing about The Rutland though is the service - which is fast and friendly. Very important when the sun worshipers are six deep at the bar.


The Dove

One of London's best loved and smallest riverside taverns.

19 Upper Mall, London, W6 9TA

Tube: Ravenscourt Park Station


The Dove is one of London's best loved riverside taverns. This charming 17th century inn is tucked away down a tiny alley and features Britain's smallest snug bar. The picturesque conservatory is covered with creepers and is a popular place to watch the famous Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race. Former regulars include the poet James Thomson who lived upstairs and wrote 'Rule, Brittania!' in the bar. Traditional pub food has been replaced with more Modern European fare with varying success - over priced and over vinegar-ed salads are best avoided. Come instead to lap up the riverside views at this charming, historic spot.


The Old Ship

A waterside favourite since 1722, sports a spacious balcony.

25 Upper Mall, Hammersmith, London, W6 9TD

Tube: Ravenscourt Park Station


A waterside favourite since 1722, The Old Ship occupies a wonderful riverside spot between Hammersmith and Chiswick and sports a spacious balcony that offers fantastic views up and down the river. Inside, the maritime-themed decor reflects the pub's proximity to the river that makes it an ideal viewing spot for the annual Boat Race when a pop-up BBQ is set up outside and live music plays from midday. The bar has a good selection of drinks - think Pimm's, Sipsmith gin cocktails, bottles of beer by the bucket and Fuller's ales - and a decent gastropub menu. There's more in the way of pub grub with sausage rolls and pasties followed by strawberries and cream, and chocolate brownie sundae pots on offer.


The Bull's Head, Barnes

The Barnes riverside pub is putting on live music all day, a hog roast and barbeque.

373 Lonsdale Road, London, SW13 9PY

Tube: Stamford Brook Station


The Bull's Head, or 'The Bull', as it's known by locals, is located in a prominent spot in Barnes, overlooking the River Thames and boasts a long history as one of London's best-loved jazz venues. But back when it was first established in 1684 as a hostelry it made a perfect stopping off point for the many travellers to and from central London. The building was completely rebuilt in 1845 and went through various refurbishments in the late 19th century and in 1959 it became a jazz venue, a tradition which continues today with live music every night of the week.


White Hart, Barnes

The Barnes pub is offering BBQ burgers on Boat Race day.

The Terrace, Riverside, Barnes, London, SW13 0NR

Tube: Kew Gardens Station


Having been originally built in 1660 and then rebuilt in 1899 the White Hart in Barnes stands as a goliath of Tudor grandeur with the stunning imposing design of high Victorian Gothic. Boat Race day is a big event for the Barnes pub. Once the race glides round, diners can take a prime viewing spot on the private balcony. Alternatively, watch from the riverbank and grab a pint and a burger from the outside BBQ, before the DJ takes to the decks to take you into the evening. Situated near the finishing line, this is a prime spot for guessing who'll come in first.


The Ship, Mortlake

This Mortlake pub is most famous for its location on the finish line.

10 Thames Bank, London, SW14 7QR

Tube: Kew Gardens Station


Built in 1781, the Ship is without doubt most famous for its location on the finishing line of the Oxford v Cambridge Boat Race. Located on the river at the end of Ship Lane in Mortlake, Chiswick Bridge - the finish line for the famous race - lies to the left and Mortlake to the right. Sitting out with a pint on the pub's terrace by the river path is a lovely way to spend a sunny Sunday enjoying the beautiful river views. As a Greene King pub, it has all the hallmarks of a traditional English pub, an open fire, timber floor and beer garden but it's the secluded location with its views along the river which makes the Ship one of the most picturesque pubs in this part of Mortlake.

The Boat Race
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