The Head of the River Race

This iconic race sees rowing teams race the course of the Oxford and Cambridge boat race in the opposite direction. Every Spring, 400 national and international crews of eight rowers each take to the waters of the Thames to run the 6.8 km Thames Championship Course. Follow the rowers, beginning at Mortlake at 2.15pm, and ending at Putney around 2 hours later. The crews start one after the other, at 10-second intervals, and can be seen along the river banks as they go. Founded by Cambridge and Tideway oarsman Steve Fairbaim, the historic race first took place in 1926 as a way for crews to practise long rows during winter, and it now draws in international participants, from everywhere from Germany to Australia. So pack your Pimms and find a spot along the river, the best places being Chiswick Bridge, Barnes Bridge and Hammersmith Bridge (and the pub, of course) – enjoy!