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Top London Pubs for Watching the Boat Race

Written by on 23rd March 2017
Category: London

Spring in London is a cause for celebration, especially when the Oxford v Cambridge Boat Race arrives each year. The rowing competition, fought between rival crews from both universities, runs from Putney to Mortlake, and is forecast to attract some 300,000 spectators come April 2nd. For many, it’s the perfect excuse to grab a pint on the river, provided you know which watering holes to go to, that is.

Here are six of the best London pubs to visit along the 4.2 mile tidal stretch:

The Crabtree


A charming Victorian haunt, located on the waterfront between Hammersmith and Putney bridges. This pub boasts a leafy apple orchard garden, perfect for outdoor bevvies, along with a BBQ serving up tasty grub between spring and autumn.

Where: Rainville Road, London W6 9HA

Website: thecrabtreew6.co.uk

Arrive from: Midday

The Black Lion

Black Lion pub

Not a million miles from The Crabtree is this iconic country pub which lays claim to being the best viewing point for the Boat Race. Popular with its local Hammersmith residents, its generous riverside garden hosts various functions throughout the year, including Bonfire Night. Choose from a selection of tapas dishes to accompany your pint.

Where: 2 S Black Lion Lane, Hammersmith, London W6 9TJ

Website: theblacklion-hammersmith.co.uk

Arrive from: Midday

The Dove

Dove Hammersmith

Halfway along the course lies a Fuller’s pub with an excellent selection of ales and a rich history. The Dove’s riverside terrace overlooks the Thames and provides fine views of local houseboats. Charles II is rumoured to have wined and dined his mistress, Nell Gynne, here. The pub is even said to feature in A.P. Herbert’s famous novel, The Water Gypsies.

Where: 19 Upper Mall, Hammersmith, London W6 9TA

Website: dovehammersmith.co.uk

Arrive from: Midday

The Boathouse


The name alone should tell you everything you need to know about this pub’s waterside worth. Located in East Putney, it’s part of a trendy wharf development and boasts an excellent riverview restaurant, suitable for small and large groups alike. Enjoy a juicy steak as you watch the race begin its course, south of the river.

Where: 32 Brewhouse Lane, London SW15 2JX

Website: boathouseputney.co.uk

Arrive from: Midday

The Bulls Head

Bulls head

A renowned jazz pub, with a string of famous guests to its name, The Bulls Head is the connoisseur’s choice for drinking on the river. There will be live music playing before the race, so be sure to get there nice and early. Seeing as the event falls on a Sunday, why not order a good ol’ roast with all the trimmings?

Where: 373 Lonsdale Road, Barnes, London SW13 9PY

Website thebullsheadbarnes.com

Arrive from: 15:00 pm

The Ship

The Ship

So, the race is nearing its final stretch – where to next? Top of the list for ale houses in Mortlake is The Ship: a quintessentially English pub with a great vibe and views of the finishing line. Expect a DJ on the day and plenty of hot dogs on the barby.

Where:  41 Jews Row, Wandsworth, London SW18 1TB


Arrive from: 16:00 pm


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