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Boat Race parties bigger than ever in Furnivall Gardens and Bishop's Park

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Image captionImage 1: The men's boat race taking place on the river Thames

There’s a great day of family fun in prospect as Hammersmith & Fulham Council plays host to two events to allow residents to watch the annual Boat Races from some of the best vantage points in the borough.

You can watch the start of the races from Bishop’s Park, Fulham, and see the middle of the races from Furnivall Gardens, Hammersmith, on Sunday 27 March from noon to 6.30pm, with big screens, bars, food and funfair attractions helping to create a memorable day out.

The Cancer Research UK Boat Races pull in around 250,000 spectators along the riverside watching from riverside pubs and other buildings with Thames views, while millions more will be following every stroke on BBC One.

There are four separate races being run: The Newton Women’s Boat Race, the Osiris Blondie Race (women’s reserves), the Isis-Goldie Race (men’s reserves) and – as a grand finale – the annual Oxford v Cambridge Boat Race.

The action starts at 3.10pm with The Newton Women’s Boat Race, followed by the women’s reserve race (the Osiris Blondie Race) at 3.25pm.

The men’s reserves from Oxford and Cambridge race against each other at 3.40pm, (the Isis-Goldie Race), with the main event, The Cancer Research UK BNY Mellon Boat Race, starting at 4.10pm.

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Image caption: Image 2: The Boat Race Championship Course map

Having signed a six-year partnership with The Boat Races, the Southwold brewery Adnams will create their own Fan Park in Furnivall Gardens.

Expect to see beach huts and food stalls, beer tents and a giant viewing screen... and it’s completely free to attend.

Meanwhile there will also be a big screen, refreshments, a food village and family fun at Bishop’s Park – which will also be free.

Four separate races means there will be even more rowing action to enjoy than usual, with Cambridge still just having the historic edge over Oxford… despite the rivalry getting mighty tight!

With 81 Boat Race victories to 79, a 2016 Oxford win would reduce Cambridge’s winning margin to just one. There was an official dead heat in 1877.

In the women’s event, Cambridge has a more secure lead (41 wins to 29). 

The men’s race began in 1829, when it was actually staged in Henley. But every race after that has used the Thames in London; a course now so familiar to worldwide television audiences. The first women’s race was held in 1927.

This will be the 162nd Boat Race from Putney to Mortlake. Those hardy souls who took part in the first event in June 1829, when George IV was on the throne and George Stephenson’s Rocket steam locomotive was beating all rivals in speed trials, would be bewildered by the modern spectacle.

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Image caption: Image 3: The Oxford women's boat race crew