At the Heart of Rowing

Putney is synonymous with rowing and is recognised as one of the most famous hubs for the sport, both in the UK and internationally. Most notably, Putney is known as the home of the Oxford and Cambridge University Boat Races – one of the oldest sporting events in the world, dating back to 1829 and 1927 respectively, with the men’s race moving from Henley on Thames to the Tideway in 1836 and the women’s race making history in 2015 when it too moved to the Tideway. For the first time in 2020 there will be two females umpiring The Women’s Boat Race and The Men’s Boat Race. Judith Packer will umpire The Women’s Boat Race and Sarah Winckless MBE will umpire The Men’s Boat Race.

The embankment in Putney houses some of the UK’s top rowing clubs including London RC, founded in 1856, and Thames RC, founded in 1860. In turn, these rowing clubs have trained and nurtured many World Champions and Olympians throughout the years.

It is no surprise, therefore, that Putney has become the destination location for novice, elite and veteran rowers alike, creating a buzzing community and a riverside inspired lifestyle for many in the area. 

The bustling boathouses play a pivotal role in the local community and are often open from sunrise ‘til late, offering training facilities, social activities, hospitality and events and, for many, the dream waterside venue for tying the knot!

In Spring, Putney embankment blooms with the buzz of Head Races when hundreds of competitors from around the country and Europe compete along a 6.8km (4.25 miles) stretch of the Thames. And, of course, on Boat Race Day the riverbanks swell full of spectators, spilling into local pubs and restaurants, creating a brilliant party atmosphere here in Putney, at the heart of rowing.

If you fancy trying out the sport which has made Putney famous,  London Rowing Club supports novice rowing by hosting TopRow – a team that specialises in getting people onto the water for the first time and offering an easy way to take up the sport. Visit

Dates for your diary

  • Wednesday, 18th March: School’s Head of the River, 12.30pm start
  • Saturday, 7th March: Women’s Eights Head of the River, 2.30pm start
  • Saturday, 21st March: Head of the River Race, 2.45pm start
  • Sunday, 22nd March: Vesta Veteran’s International Eights Head of the River, 3pm start

NB: Head race start times are provisional and may vary slightly due to tide times.

  • Sunday, 29th March: The Women’s Boat Race, 3.44pm start
  • Sunday, 29th March: The Men’s Boat Race, 4.44pm start

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