Standing as one of the longest running sporting traditions in London, the Head of the River Race is a historic boating event that sees teams from all over the world take to the Thames river to showcase their nerve, talent and skills.
On March 29th, over 400 crews from around the world are expected to row the 4.25-mile championship course from Mortlake to Putney, and with hundreds of boats taking to the water, it is sure to be a visual spectacle. The previous year’s winners always start first and then they are followed by the other crews at ten-second intervals in finishing order – the new entries then start in alphabetical order.
The race was originally conceived in 1926 by Cambridge oarsmen Steve Fairbairn, as a way for crews to practice longs runs during winter, so that they can prepare themselves for the summer regatta.
While the banks of the Thames will be rammed with spectators cheering on the race, the best places to stand include Chiswick Bridge, Barnes Bridge when they have gathered pace, or Hammersmith Bridge. There are also a variety of pubs where, if you nab a good seat, you can see the racers go by all in the confines of a cosy warm venue. Wherever you go, these spots tend to get very busy so it is recommended that you get there around 45 minutes before the race begins.
So what are you waiting for? Book yourself into a London hotel, pack your Pimm’s and get to the banks of the Thames for this historic event. While you see the racers do their thing, you will also be able to take in some of London’s most iconic sights.