Whether you watch the Race, or just dream about it, these pages should help.
Finding Your Way Around
The notes below this map give an overview of how to get there and where to watch. Please do not drive to the Race unless you have no other choice. Using public transport you can arrive at one place and leave from another, with a river walk in between! Hammersmith Bridge and Barnes Footbridge are closed to pedestrians while the Race passes.
For the lay of the land, Walk The Course has notes about the sights along the footpaths that line the course. For the Start area by Putney Bridge and up to the Fulham Football Club ground, please see The Start Map. For the Middle of the Course, by Hammersmith Bridge and by Chiswisk Reach, please see The Surrey Bend Map (Middle Map). Then for the rest of the Course past Barnes Railway Bridge and towards Chiswick Bridge see The Finish Map. On all three local maps the footpaths are marked.
For food, drink, pubs and other places, each page of the course contains information on where to go.
Where to Watch
As one of the only free sporting spectacles in London, The Boat Race creates a festival atmosphere on the banks of the River Thames and marks the start of the English "social season". Tens of thousands of people flock to the river each year to join in the celebrations and watch the Oxford and Cambridge University crews as they race over the famous four-and-a-quarter mile course from Putney to Mortlake.
Visitors can find a place to watch on either side of the river along the full length of the course, but particular areas to note are: Putney Bridge, Putney Embankment and Bishops Park (at the start); Hammersmith and Barnes (mid-course); Dukes Meadows and Chiswick Bridge (at the finish).
The course is easily accessible by public transport.
To see the race start, take an overland train from Waterloo to Putney (zones 2 and 3), or the London Underground District Line to Putney Bridge. Also see The Start Map.
The best vantage points in the middle section of the course are Hammersmith (on London Underground's Piccadilly, Hammersmith and City or District Lines) . Also see The Surrey Bend Map.
You don't have to dress like this to
watch the race
For the finish the nearest stations are Mortlake, which is reached by overland train from Waterloo (zone 3), Barnes Bridge (from Waterloo - zone 3) or Kew Gardens on the London Underground District Line. Also see The Finish Map.
The race starts just on the West side of Putney Bridge and the best views are from the bridge itself, Putney Embankment, or the tow path in front of Bishops Park on the Fulham side of the river. The heart of the action takes place on Putney Embankment where the crews embark, the VIP guests arrive and the official toss of the gold sovereign takes place - a tradition which determines which side of the river each crew will row on.
Bar M (in the Star and Garter building) and The Dukes Head pub are positioned on the start line of the race - a perfect place to raise a toast to the crews. Alternatively, O'Neill's, on the north side of the river, is well located as a place to meet before watching the race, although it does not have a river view.
Walking & Wheelchair
The dotted lines on the detailed maps show where you can walk by the river easily - suggested routes are shown too - please see The Start Map, The Surrey Bend Map and The Finish Map. For a description of the footpaths please see The Course Map and for our essay on the Course itself, please see Walk The Course.
Elderly and disabled visitors please stay tuned as we update the Directions service.
Hammersmith station is accessible for wheelchairs but our information is that the Putney tube stations and the South West Trains stations are not accessible.
Cyclists are extremely welcome. Please keep to marked cycle ways. Cycling in crowded areas by the river is particularly discouraged.
Bus, Train and Underground users
For the Start in Putney, the number 14 bus from Tottenham Court Road and the 22 from Piccadilly Circus will both take you across Putney Bridge. For the middle part of the Race at the Surrey Bend, the number 9 bus from Charing Cross or the 10 from Euston and Oxford Circus or the 27 from Camden will take you to Hammersmith - close to the riverside at Chiswick Malls. For the Finish in Mortlake, take the 209 or 190 from Hammersmith. Bus routes are shown on all maps.
For the Start in Putney, Putney railway station is on Putney High Street at the Upper Richmond Road. Trains arrive from Clapham Junction, Waterloo or Victoria. West of Putney, the line divides at the next stop Barnes Station - just over a mile away - going towards Barnes Bridge where the finishing stretch begins, or towards Mortlake for the Finish. Stations are shown in all maps.
London Underground users
For the Start, East Putney is south of the river and Putney Bridge is north - Putney Bridge is closest. Ravenscourt Park and Hammersmith are closest to the viewing areas at Chiswick Mall. Stations are shown on all maps.
Visitors to the Race are asked to PLEASE CONSIDER LOCAL RESIDENTS at all times. We apologise to anyone inconvenienced by the event in any way and we thank you kindly for your forbearance.
Please do not drive to the race if you have a choice. Parking is limited and for non-residents on the day of The Boat race it is extremely hard to find. You risk listening to the race on the car radio instead of seeing it from the riverbank! We apologise to local car users for any additional disruption.