BOAT RACE 2023: Your guide to the riverside action in H&F
Hammersmith & Fulham is the home of the annual Oxford v Cambridge Boat Races, hosting the longest stretch of the course.
They return to the River Thames on Sunday (26 March) and there are two great local spots where you can watch the drama unfold.
Here’s how you can spend the afternoon on the ‘Thames Riviera’:
In Bishops Park, Fulham you can watch the start of each race and then turn to the big screen.
Or in Furnivall Gardens, Hammersmith you can catch all the action near the two-mile mark and watch on the big screen.
To watch all the build-up to the races televised live, tune into BBC One from 3.30pm. There are also a huge number of other good vantage points – often near our great local riverside pubs – to watch the race.
- Women’s Boat Race - 4pm
- Men’s Boat Race - 5pm
Race route map:
View a high resolution image of the Boat Race 2023 route map (png 620KB).
Download a pdf of the Boat Race 2023 route map (1.9MB).
Bishops Park, SW6 6EA
The Fulham Fan Park area will open at noon and closes at 6.30pm. It is located at the very start of the race, next to Putney Bridge. There will be a big screen in the park with live BBC coverage from 3.30pm.
Food will be on offer from Free Wheeling Pizza, La Cocinita, Poor Boys, Feed the Village, Chicken ‘n’ Sours and Duck Shed.
Drinks will be on sale from the Shepherd Neame bar, the Chapel Down bar and other refreshment stations. It is not BYO. Covered areas, seats and toilets will also be available.
Furnivall Gardens, W6 9DG
The Hammersmith Fan Park area will open at noon and closes at 6.30pm. It is located at the two-mile mark, the midpoint of the 4.25-mile race. There will be a big screen by the river with live BBC coverage from 3.30pm.
Food will be on offer from Free Wheeling Pizza, La Cocinita, Poor Boys, Feed the Village, Chicken ‘n’ Sours and Duck Shed. Drinks will be on sale from the Shepherd Neame bar and Dead Good Coffee. Covered areas, seats and toilets will also be available.
It’s an apt place to watch the race... Dr Fred Furnivall, a Victorian academic with a passion for physical fitness and rowing, founded the Hammersmith Sculling Club in 1896 as a sporting facility for working-class girls.
An extraordinary man, with a wide range of interests and skills, he was a vegetarian, teetotal non-smoker who helped set up the Oxford English Dictionary, and after whom the cherished gardens with the fine river views are named.
Turning back the cox
The men's race has been an annual fixture on the Thames since 1856, only interrupted for the First and Second World Wars and in 2020.
In the overall standings, Oxford trail Cambridge in both the men’s (80-84) and women’s (30-44) races.
Several big names have taken part in the legendary event. House actor Hugh Laurie was in the 1980 Cambridge crew. And Olympic gold medallist James Cracknell returned to rowing 15 years after his triumph in Athens 2004. He joined the winning 2019 Cambridge crew at 46 years old to become the oldest-ever Boat Race competitor.
Our iconic 135-year-old Hammersmith Bridge is also a significant marker in the race. It is just before the halfway point of the race, where coxes traditionally aim for the second lamppost from the left where the water is deepest and the river fastest, before beginning the long left-hand turn. And 80 per cent of crews ahead at Hammersmith Bridge go on to win.
Following expert safety advice to avoid congestion, Hammersmith Bridge will be closed to pedestrians, cyclists and e-scooters from 11am to 6pm. Read how we are working to restore our historic bridge to its Victorian splendour.
Public transport or walking
From Hammersmith Bridge, it is a short walk to Hammersmith bus and Underground stations.
From Hammersmith bus station, the 220 bus runs towards Wandsworth and crosses the river via Putney Bridge.
The 533 towards Castelnau, Lonsdale Road or 190 towards Richmond take you over Chiswick Bridge.
Or walk along the river path to cross at either Putney Bridge or Chiswick Bridge. (Barnes Bridge will also be closed on Sunday 26 March.)
Are you inspired to row?
Fulham Reach Boat Club, set up in 2014, is based at Distillery Wharf, Fulham, and offers training courses just 200m from Hammersmith Bridge. Head to the Fulham Reach Boat Club website.
Dr Furnivall’s Furnivall Sculling Club is still going strong in Hammersmith, whether you’re interested in rowing competitively or just for fun. Here's the link to the Furnivall Sculling Club's website.
Sons of the Thames is a club based on the Tideway, just upstream of Hammersmith Bridge, which combines social events and competition rowing. Find out more here on the Sons of the Thames website.
And there’s also the Auriol Kensington Rowing Club at Lower Mall, Hammersmith, which bills itself as the friendliest rowing club on the river. Find all the information you need on the Auriol Kensington Rowing Club website.
Meanwhile, for more details about the Gemini Boat Race, including the history of the race and crew announcements, visit the official Boat Race website.
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