Travel News

The best spots along the Thames to watch the 2024 Boat Race

Simon Calder’s Travel

This Saturday (30 March) will see the annual Boat Race stream through the Thames, while spectators keen to catch a slice of the sporting action will be lining the banks of London’s river.

The famed amateur sporting event between crews from the University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge weaves through 4.25 miles of west London Thames on a course rowed upstream between Putney and Mortlake.

An estimated 270,000 spectators are expected to be bankside on the towpath on either side of the action-packed stretch of the Thames.

The 2024 event marks the 169th Men’s Boat Race and the 78th Women’s Boat Race in the Oxbridge rivalry’s sporting calendar.

Eight crews are competing in the event – Cambridge crews racing in light blue and Oxford in navy – to win the Aberdeen ‘Quaich’ and Newton trophies.

If you aren’t watching from SW15’s London Rowing Club as part of the event’s hospitality packages, there’s free access to fan zones featuring street food, drinks and giant screens in Hammersmith and Fulham.

Furnivall Gardens in Hammersmith hosts race fans in the festival spirit from 11am to 6pm for a vantage point of crews as they navigate the river bend.

At Fulham Football Club’s Riverside Stand, 14 screens, live music and Chapel Down English sparkling wine make it a great spot to watch the first leg of the race and, provided the Easter weekend is blessed with good weather, festivities spill into Grade II-listed Bishop’s Park.

For a view of the start line under Putney Bridge, pedestrians can pitch up on Putney embankment to watch the ‘The Coin Toss’ between Oxbridge presidents.

To see the tense final leg of the rowing race visit pubs on the southside of the river in Barnes including the White Hart or head to the splash zone Ship pub by the Mortlake finish line below Chiswick Bridge.

Due to various road closures – including both Hammersmith and Barnes Bridge closed from 10am until 5pm – public transport links to west London tube and bus stations will be the best way to access spectator areas.

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