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Oxford Cambridge Boat Race, London, UK, 2021
How about watching a sport that demonstrates strength and endurance as well as being, at the same time, a quintessentially English cultural icon? The Oxford Cambridge Boat Race is in town and runs from Putney to Mortlake in south west London around a long loop in the Thames.
There are eight rowers and a coxswain, or ‘cox’, to steer the boat in boat race crews. Both sides are known as ‘blues’ with Cambridge in light blue and Oxford in dark. A quarter of a million spectators flock to the banks of the Thames to see this annual event. If you do not want to watch from the river bank there are big screens set up at Bishop’s Park in Fulham and in Furnivall Gardens in Hammersmith. Food and drinks will be sold at both locations.
Unfortunately, the 2020 Gemini Boat Race was cancelled due to Covid, and the 2021 race will be a closed event without any spectators. It will be held on the River Great Ouse at Ely, Cambridgeshire with the women’s race setting off at 3:50pm and the men’s race an hour later. Both will be screened live on BBC.
We have kept the details on this page as if spectators were allowed, hopefully this will be the case in 2022.
The university boat race covers just over four miles and the best time is under 17 minutes; so don’t be late.
Donations go to support the Chiswick life boat and to save lives on the River Thames.
The History of the Boat Race
In 1829, two friends, one at Oxford and one at Cambridge, challenged each other to a race at Henley-on-Thames. Oxford won easily, but a counter-challenge was made and Cambridge won the next race in 1836. The races became yearly from 1856, with interruptions for the world wars.
From 1927 the women’s Boat Race was added to the schedule. Currently, Cambridge has won more races in both sections.
The Boat Race Course
The Boat Race or The Championship Course is 4 miles, 374 yards (6.8km) long.
Stretching from Putney to Mortlake on the River Thames, the course was first used for The Boat Race in 1845. It has been the route for every Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race since, except for 1846, 1856 and 1863 when the race was held in the opposite direction.
Crews toss to choose which side of the course to row; the Middlesex and Surrey sides. This can be significant as the course has considerable bends and boats can cross over if there is adequate leeway.
What Time is the Boat Race 2021?
Boat race timings vary from year to year determined by the tide. The Men’s Boat Race is an hour-and-a-half before high tide, with The Women’s Boat Race a further hour before so that the crews are rowing with the fastest possible current.
Boat Race Results
Both Cambridge men and women won the 2019 boat race. The men lead the head-to-head record 84 to 80, with the 1877 race being a dead heat. As for the women, the record is 44 to 30 to the Light Blues.
1978 Oxford Cambridge Boat Race Sinking
One of the most famous boat races was held in 1978, when the Cambridge boat sank. This was the sixth time that a boat has sank in the history of the Oxford Cambridge boat races, the others being in 1859, 1912, 1925, 1951 and 1984.
Boat Race Course Record
The couse record stands at 16 minutes and 19 seconds in 1998 by Cambridge. Cambridge also hold the record for consecutive victories – 13 from 1924–36. The women’s record, also held by Cambridge, stands at 18 minutes and 33 seconds in 2017.
Other Things to Do in London
Hmm, it is a bit of a tall order to do justice to London in a short article, but here goes:
- Historical buildings, such as the Tower of London fortress.
- The theatres of the west end and Shakespeare’s Globe
- Dining from around the world
- A huge choice of museums and galleries for every taste
- Parks and walks along the River Thames
- Visit London South Bank : Tate Modern to Borough Market
- Watch a sport of your choice live – world class teams, such as Crewe Alexandra FC, frequently play in the London area
When is the Oxford Cambridge Boat Race 2021?
Sunday 4 April, 2021.
This event is free. Find a spot along the river, though remember that good vantage points will fill up well before the race begins. A helpful map of choice locations, including pubs and bridges is here.
Flights to London and Getting to the Boat Race
To find the best accommodation and worldwide flights, please search via our comparison engine, which scans all the major booking sites.
There are direct international flights to all London airports from much of the world.
The Boat Race takes place in south west London, so it is reachable on the red double-decker buses (numbers: 14, 22, 39, 74, 85, 93, 220, 265 and 270), the London Underground (particularly the stations Putney Bridge and Hammersmith), or mainline rail stations at Chiswick and Barnes Bridge).
Hotels in London
From any hotel in London you can take public transport to the route of the Boat Race.
To find the best accommodation in the area and worldwide flights, please search via our comparison engine, which scans all the major booking sites.
For more information on the Oxford Cambridge Boat Race