Get us in your inbox

Search
The Boat Race
© Richard Heathcote

Where to watch The Boat Race 2024 in London

Beat the crowds and find the best spot by the Thames to watch the Boat Race 2024

Alex Sims
Written by
Alex Sims
Advertising

Given its dreaming-spires background, you’d be forgiven for associating the Oxford v Cambridge Boat Race with more hoity-toity events in the sporting world. But unlike the polo and the horse racing anyone can rock up for free along the four-and-a-quarter mile race route from Putney to Mortlake.

In fact, more than 300,000 spectators are expected to cram on to the banks of the Thames in west London on Saturday March 30 2024 to get a load of the action. The races might not begin until 4pm, but the riverside activity kicks off from noon with fan zones and pubs along the course putting on a whole host of food, drink and entertainment in anticipation. 

So, where will you be? We’ve put together a list of prime locations along the route, in Putney, Fulham, Hammersmith, Barnes and Chiswick, all perfect for spectating.

RECOMMENDED: Everything you need to know about the Boat Race

Boat Race Fan Zones

  • Things to do

One of the places to watch the Boat Race is from one of the official fan zones. There are two official spots: The Hammersmith Fan park in Furnival Gardens and the Fulham Fan Park​ in Bishops Park. Both zones are open from 11am and have big screens showing the BBC coverage of the race, food stands, bars and, essentially, loos. Both are also dog friendly. 

You're allowed to bring your own food and drink (booze included) too, as well as the all-important folding chairs if you don't want to get grass stains on your nice chinos. 

Boat Race Vantage Points

Views from the Bridges

If you want commanding views of the race, Putney Bridge is a good vantage point to see the beginning of the route. Chiswick Bridge, at the very end of the race, also commends good views. If you want to bag a spot here, it’s best to arrive well in advance and wear warm clothes – it gets chilly up there. 

Be aware, unlike in previous years, Hammersmith Bridge and Barnes Bridge will close for the race from 10am and reopen at 5pm. 

Boat Race pubs north of the river

  • Bars and pubs
  • Gastropubs
  • Fulham

AT THE START

The Victorian gastropub will have street food pop-ups in its large garden serving everything from burgers to paella. There will be live bands playing over the course of the day and screens to view all the river-based action.

Advertising
  • Bars and pubs
  • Hammersmith

MIDWAY POINT

The ever-popular Blue Anchor pub usually hosts an outside bar for those wanting a riverside view, while indoor screens will be showing all the action in case the rain arrives.

Rutland Arms
  • Bars and pubs
  • Hammersmith

MIDWAY POINT

Like its neighbour Blue Anchor, the roomier Rutland Arms is well-placed and always very busy. Expect to find a good view of the race, crowds permitting.

Advertising
  • Bars and pubs
  • Pubs
  • Hammersmith
  • price 1 of 4

MIDWAY POINT

One of the most historic pubs on this list, it’s likely the first boat race in 1829 was watched from here. The pub is now run by the Fuller’s brewery and we can guarantee it will be standing room only.

  • Bars and pubs
  • Pubs
  • Hammersmith
  • price 2 of 4

MIDWAY POINT

Pair fantastic riverside views of all the action with a spread of food and booze that is quintessentially British. Sporting tipples and scran at The Old Ship include Pimm’s, gin, sausage rolls and strawberries and cream.

Boat Race pubs south of the river

The Boathouse
  • Bars and pubs
  • Gastropubs
  • Putney

AT THE START

You can kick off the race here and stay long after it's over. The Boathouse has a sizeable terrace overlooking Putney Bridge. 

Star & Garter
  • Bars and pubs
  • Gastropubs
  • Putney

AT THE START

With the starting line outside its front door, the Star & Garter always goes big for the Boat Race with TVs and projectors screening the race. 

Advertising
Duke's Head
  • Bars and pubs
  • Putney

AT THE START

As always, The Duke’s Head is going to town with Boat Race festivities. There will be screenings across the pub’s four spaces. But it’s the Coxswain dining room that’s the hotly contested spot for views of the rowers as they commence battle.

Bull's Head
  • Music
  • Music venues
  • Barnes

OVER HALF WAY

A very short stroll from the river (and with excellent views), this renowned jazz pub will have live music after the race you can also take your pints down to the riverside. If the weather is patchy, retreat to screens back inside.

Advertising
Ye White Hart
  • Bars and pubs
  • Barnes

OVER HALF WAY

Capacious and perfectly located, Ye White Hart pub also gets the Boat Race thumbs up for its private balcony view. 

Ship
  • Nightlife
  • Mortlake and Sheen

AT THE FINISH

This pub has a view of the finish line. Expect the Pimm's to be flowing among the crowds that populate the Ship each year.

Recommended
    You may also like
    You may also like
    Bestselling Time Out offers
      Advertising