Draycott Hotel Guide to the Boat Race
For 190 years, rowers from Oxford and Cambridge Universities have competed for ‘The Boat Race’ in one of London’s most eagerly anticipated sporting events of the Spring.As a long-standing tradition, the event has been held since 1829 and annually since 1856, with a long list of notable victories, controversies and memorable close calls throughout the years. Historic honours are fairly even, with the Cambridge leading Oxford 83 victories to 80 in the men’s category and 43 to 30 in the women’s category.
The race runs along a 4.2 mile stretch of the River Thames, with the present-day iteration of the course running from Putney Bridge to Mortlake church tower, just before Chiswick Bridge. The race is an extremely popular spectator event, with up to 250,000 people lining the banks of the Thames to cheer on their team and soak up the atmosphere with picnics, pints and in the pubs along the Thames.
So if you’re visiting London on the weekend of the 6th/7th April, then we thoroughly recommend joining in the frivolities for the historic race. To help you get the best spot, here at the Draycott Hotel, we’ve put together guide to viewing the race and join in with the celebratory atmosphere:
Near the Start – Putney Embankment
If you are happy with an early start and want to enjoy the build-up, then head to Putney embankment. Soaking up all the pre-race build up and giving you a great view of the start of the race, there are some great pubs and restaurants lining this area. The Star & Garter and the Boat Race are some of the most popular locations near the start, perfect for food and drink pre or during the race. If you’re planning to enjoy the whole day and evening, the Duke’s Head holds an after party for celebrations into the night.
To get here from the hotel, take the District line from Sloane Square to Putney Bridge with the race scheduled to begin at 15:10.
Mid-Course – Hammersmith
As the competitors take the left-hand turn around Barnes, this is a very telling part of the course with the team on the Surrey side, looking to take advantage of the shorter bend, providing they aren’t behind. The view from the Crabtree pub gives spectators a great view as the teams exit the first bend and approach the second. What’s more, they will keep you entertained all day with live music and a DJ for the post-race celebrations. If you’re looking to watch the drama of the long sweeping bend, then the Blue Boat, the Blue Anchor, the Dove and the Old Ship, all offer different, yet equally exciting views of the Boat Race.
The best route from the hotel is to take the District line from Sloane Square to either Hammersmith or Ravenscourt Park. The boats should pass between 15:15-15:25 depending on where you go, but get there early for the best views.
The Finish Line – Mortlake
As the teams switch to another right-handed turn, the excitement builds as they start to approach the finish line and the results of any advantage gained round the Hammersmith bend become apparent. To catch an early glimpse of their progress, head to the White Hart in Barnes, but you’ll just miss out on viewing the finish. If the finish line is where you want to be, settle in to the Ship where you will have the perfect view from the bank as both boats cross the line and the victor is revealed.
The best route from the hotel depends on the time, but you can either get the District line from Sloane Square to Hammersmith, then jump on either the 209 or 419 bus. Or, you can take the 137 to Queenstown Road (stop L), then use the over ground all the way to Mortlake.
So after a long day by the river soaking up the frenzied atmosphere of the Boat Race, what better way to decompress than in the stylish, traditional rooms and suites, here at the Draycott Hotel. We look forward to seeing you.