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Best Places to Watch the Boat Race

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The Oxford University Vs Cambridge University Boat Race begins. The best places to watch the Boat Race are Putney Bridge, Putney Embankment, Bishops Park, Hammersmith Bridge, Hammersmith Embankment, Barnes Embankment, Dukes Meadows & Chiswick Bridge. The 6.8km Championship Course Oxford-Cambridge Boat Race heads down the River Thames from Putney Bridge, passed Fulham FC and under Hammersmith Bridge to Mortlake in south west London, finishing roughly 17-20 minutes later at Chiswick Bridge. Big screens will be showing the day’s races live in Bishop's Park and Furnivall Gardens and there will be a timetable of events throughout the day. Below is a guide to the best bars, pubs and restaurants along the River Thames for watching the Boat Race.

Image courtesy of Flickr user Supermac1961

Tags: Sport, Pubs, West London

The Duke's Head
Putney / Bar / Cuisine: Gastro

Start of Boat Race - Overlooking the start of the boat race, the Duke's Head pub on Putney riverside embankment is THE place to be on Easter Sunday. Open at 11am through to midnight, but we recommend arriving early for the day's frivolity. The pub will not be taking reservations. Entertainment is planned in the form of live local bands, DJs and a BBQ; oh, and plenty of beer! The pub has an outdoor terrace area that will be home to pop-up bars on boat race day, reducing the queueing time at the bar. The brand new Coxswain dining room provides one of the best views of the Thames too. Contact The Duke's Head directly

The Blue Anchor
Hammersmith / Bar / Cuisine: Pub

Middle of the Boat Race - This section of Hammersmith Embankment is absolutely rammers jammers on Boat Race day which isn't surprising because this pub has a decent outside space next to the river Thames to view the race crews as the boats come under Hammersmith Bridge. The first floor 'River Room' has some great views over the River Thames (as well as its own bar and loo facilities) which would make it a great hire venue if you're thinking about hosting your own Oxford-Cambridge boat Race gathering. If not, stay around afterwards, order some baby back ribs in hickory BBQ sauce and wash them down with a nice Californian Jack Rabbit Unoaked Chardonay. Contact The Blue Anchor directly

The Dove
Hammersmith / Bar / Cuisine: Pub

Middle of the Boat Race - This small hidden gem pub, once frequented by literary giants Ernest Hemingway and Graham Greene, claims to be (a) Britain's smallest bar (but not pub), and (b) the oldest Thames-side bar still in existence. The prospect of watching a tradition like the Oxford-Cambridge Boat Race is almost too enticing to ignore, then. The outside balcony and alfresco riverside terrace offer prime viewing on the northern bank of the river Thames as the boat crews come round Surrey Bend and race along the river. If you don't manage to get into the pub, pop along to the nearby Furnivall Gardens where you can watch the race live on big screens, enjoy entertainment and a pop-up bar. Contact The Dove directly

Old Ship
Hammersmith / Bar / Restaurant / Cuisine: Pub

Middle of the Boat Race - One of the best alfresco dining pubs in London. When the sun is shining, it's hard to find a better London pub for outside drinking and dining. So when the Oxford-Cambridge Boat Race comes speeding round the bend, this riverside Young's pub packs out like you wouldn't believe. Come one, come all, you young and loaded drinkers! Award winning draught, bottled, British and international speciality beers, with at least 3 cask ales available at all times. If you want a table, arrive when the pub opens. On race day be hopeful of standing space. The pub provides a big screen in case your view of the boat race crews is restricted. You want atmosphere; you got it. Contact Old Ship directly

The Black Lion
Hammersmith / Bar / Cuisine: English

Middle of the Boat Race - This pub is half way between Hammersmith Bridge and The Chiswick Steps and boasts the broadest views of the Oxford-Cambridge Boat Race. The pub erects a special Boat Race Grandstand alongside the river for the best views. Priced seats include a drink and some food. There's also the private Directors Box area (limited to 20 people) which includes continuous drinks and food. In addition, the pub will have an ice sculpture competition (Champagne prize), a heated marquee, a one-man band, big screen TVs, a BBQ, a food court, an ice cream bike, a real ale bar, a wine stall, a Champagne stall and an ergo competition for all frustrated rowers. Contact The Black Lion directly

Pissarro's on the River
Chiswick & Brentford / Bar / Restaurant / Cuisine: Modern European

Middle / End of the Boat Race - It's getting down to the nitty gritty when the Boat Race comes gliding passed this modern European restaurant and bar on the outside of the Thames' Surrey bend, and this is the last bar that the Oxford and Cambridge Boat crews pass on the Middlesex bank before they hit Barnes Bridge and the finish line beyond. Live big screen coverage broadcast shown inside too. Book early to ensure the best seats. Contact Pissarro's on the River directly

The Bull's Head
Barnes & Sheen / Bar / Cuisine: Pub

End of the Boat Race - This pub is set back from the river Thames thanks to a reasonably busy road with a large wall to protect against tidal surges along Barnes Embankment. However, the small balconies at the front of the pub might have access if you arrive early enough. Plus, the authentic Thai cuisine on offer might just seal it. Contact The Bull's Head directly

White Hart
Barnes & Sheen / Bar / Cuisine: Pub

End of the Boat Race - This Young's pub is definitely in the top 3 of the best pubs to watch the Oxford & Cambridge boat race. The two balconies, large patio area and seating on the river bank offer loads of great views of the Thames in both directions, so you can watch the Boat Race as the crews head under Barnes Bridge and then on to the finish line. The upstairs bar also has live sport TVs and all of Young's award-winning ales. There's also a BBQ serving burgers if the weather is clement. Fingers crossed. Contact White Hart directly

The Ship
Barnes & Sheen / Bar / Cuisine: Pub

End of the Boat Race - This Taylor Walker pub's location, 5 minutes from Mortlake station, on the River Thames, right next to the Oxford-Cambridge Boat Race finish line, is its saving grace. Everything else about it is fairly standard: traditional pub grub; beer garden; timber decor; cask ales; an open fire. On Boat Race day it will also come ready with an atmosphere though (well, at least once a year). Contact The Ship directly

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