It’s that time of the year again: the Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race is on 24 March. Even if water sports aren’t entirely your thing, you’ll no doubt be in search of a watering hole… Check out our guide to the best pubs for catching the riverside action from start to finish.

Star & Garter 

The Star and Garter (above)

If you’re keen to catch the race kicking off, head to The Star and Garter close to Putney Bridge. Once something of a drinking den, it’s remodelled itself as a suave ‘wine lounge and events venue’ where you can enjoy dinner once the fun’s over.

Duke's Head Putney

The Duke’s Head (above)

The Duke’s Head’s glass-fronted dining room overlooking the river in Putney is one of the best places for watching the race. With a good selection of ales and a decent global wine list, those who manage to bag a spot here will not be disappointed.

The Crabtree

A “true gem of a local” according to SquareMeal readers, the back garden of The Crabtree overlooks the river in Hammersmith, making it another great option for cheering on the first quarter of the race.

The Rutland

If you want to catch the midway action head to the Rutland, a self-described quintessentially English pub with plenty of London Pride ale and craft beer on tap.

Blue Anchor

A family-run pub close to Hammersmith Bridge, the Blue Anchor is also around the halfway point of the race and is putting on a barbecue to keep you sustained throughout.

The Dove - Ext 0034v 2 - 300dpi 

The Dove (above)

This charming, sprawling pub compensates for its tiny public bar (England’s smallest) with a huge riverside terrace, popular among Boat Race fans.

The Old Ship

The Old Ship is certainly old; serving Hammersmith drinkers since 1722, its longevity is probably something to do with the alfresco dining it offers by the river, perfect for some spectator snacking.  

The Bull’s Head

For over half a century, this coaching house – a fixture in sedate Barnes since the reign of James II – has encouraged swingin’ kats in its live music room. You’ll have to pop over the road to the riverbank if you want to catch the Boat Race action first-hand, or the pub has large screens inside.

Ye White Hart

Ye White Hart (above)

A refurbished Barnes boozer, Ye White Hart’s balcony is the perfect place to get up close to the battle in the final quarter of the race. Get here early, it gets rammed every year.

The Ship

Famous for its location right by the Mortlake finishing line of the Oxford v Cambridge boat race, head to this traditional boozer to celebrate a win or drown your sorrows.