The Boat Race

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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: Saturday 24th March 2018


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 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. Alternatively, you might like to watch from near the start at Putney Bridge, where the big screens on both banks allow spectators to monitor the race as it heads its way around the first bend. Nearby, 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.


Big Screen: Bishops Park

Watch on the big screen in Bishop's Park opposite the start of the course.

Bishops Park, Bishop's Avenue, London, SW6 6SX

Tube: Putney Bridge Station


Dates: 02nd April 2017


Bishop's Park, a green oasis in Fulham which runs north of the River Thames from All Saints church to Craven Cottage, is a hive of activity on Boat Race day. Located opposite the start of the race by Putney Bridge, Bishop's Park is the main hub of free entertainment laid on by the local Hammersmith and Fulham Council. Family friendly entertainment, beer tents and food are all part of the build-up from 12noon and is relayed live on the big screens. A second focus of free entertainment is at Furnivall Gardens near Hammersmith Bridge, mid-way along the course, but the Bishop's Park hub is the larger of the two.


Big Screen: Furnivall Gardens

Head to the grassy area close to Hammersmith Bridge to see the action on the big screen.

Furnivall Gardens, Rutland Grove, London, W6 9DS

Tube: Ravenscourt Park Station


Dates: 02nd April 2017


On Boat Race day the river banks by Hammersmith Bridge are heaving with spectators who come to watch Oxford battle it out with Cambridge at one of the oldest sporting events in the world. And in Furnivall Gardens - which lies in the middle section of the course - there's free family-friendly entertainment, beer tents and food organised by the local Hammersmith & Fulham Council who also oversee a hub of entertainment at Bishop's Park in Fulham. Enjoy the build-up from 12noon before watching the rowing on the big screens with the women's race starting at 4.50pm and the men's race at 5.50pm.



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. Street food and pub drinks are served on The Boathouse terrace while live music adds to the carnival atmosphere on Boat Race day.


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.


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 an outdoor kitchen as well as three pop-­up bars. 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.


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 and is truly a pub for all seasons. In the winter, candlelight flickers from each small, round table while Van Morrison croons comfortingly from the sound system. Old photographs of the area and an array of appropriately nautical nick-knacks provide a fitting backdrop to an evening of composed drinking. In the summer, customers adjourn outside to wooden benches perched right next to the river. It can get a bit busy as drinkers vie for space with local rowing teams but the view of Hammersmith Bridge on a clear, warm night is worth a bit of elbow jostling and a plastic glass or two.


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, 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 prominant 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. The pub has been visited by many of the world's great jazz musicians and continues that tradition on boat race day with jazz vocalist and songwriter Katriona Taylor performing a mix of latin, Brazilian, jazz and soul in the evening.


White Hart, Barnes

The Barnes pub is offering barbequed food and live music 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 which is offering a three-course meal in The Terrace Kitchen from 3pm at £60 per person. Enjoy dishes like White Hart smoked salmon, cucumber and wasabi ketchup or roasted rack of Dorset lamb with rosemary and garlic mash, sautéed spinach and port jus alongside live music. Once the race glides round, diners can take a prime viewing spot on the private balcony. Alternatively, watch the race 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.


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 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 Taylor Walker 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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