The Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race is a famous rowing race between the two universities, that happens each year in March.
They have been racing against each other over four & a quarter miles on the River Thames for 174 years.
Each year, the loser of the previous year's race challenges the winner to a new race.
The current score is Cambridge in a 78-71 lead, with a dead heat in 1877.
So, rug up, find yourself a place by the River, and cheer on home your favourite team!!
During the hot days in London it's hard to stand out without a water. So, people enjoy two fountains at the Trafalgar Square. And not only children. Adults have fun, too:-)
Equipment: Swimming suite or with all your clothes...:-)
This looks like a seaside shot of some canoeists just about to go out. Well it's actually the bank of the Thames. Not your normal sporting tip for London, but I can imagine paddling a canoe along the Thames past all the sites must be quite enjoyable way to spend a weekend morning. Take care for those Police speedboats that bomb up and down the Thames though! Little craft like canoes get rather buffeted by the wake of larger craft, especially from ones gaoing fast.
Equipment: I guess you'd have to join a club or bring your own canoe.
The Serpentine is a large lake in the middle of London's Hyde Park. There are a lot of boats that you can rent if you fancy a bit of a paddle.
If you do go out, try to remember to put the blade of the oar in square to the water. Basically that means keep it perpendicular to the horizon when it is in the water. If you slant it, the oar will dive down and in rowing parlance you will "catch a crab". It is unlikely to get you into too much trouble in a small boat like this, but in a large rowing boat like an 8 (i.e. 8 rowers in it), of you get things wrong, I have seen the oar actually eject people out of the boat - not a pleasant experience...
This guy is obviously a stunning rower. He managed to catch a crab on both sides and even get one of his oars to come out of its gate!
I like the body language of his missus, she does not look terribly impressed at all! And it was probably meant to be a romantic trip ou on the water!
Equipment: All rentable. I have seen people getting dragged back in by a launch when they are unable to return under their own steam, so you don't even need to worry about that!
Belt off, trousers down..life is such a scream.
Enough of General Melchett's rendition of the boating song.
One of the most romantic (careful here Sourbugger, don't give the impression you care) things to do in London is hire a rowing boat in Regents Park. Sod the cost - it really is a very pleasant way to spend a lazy afternoon. You may even see some nesting Herons.
Equipment: Available April- September from 10.30 AM
There is an old joke that the outcome of the Annual Boat race is very predictable - as it is always Oxford or Cambridge.
The annual race took place this year (2004) on 28th March at 6PM. This was very late, but is due to the tides on the river - and I was there !
The crews are supposed to composed of students at the universities, but Oxford often draft in Americans on Mickey Mouse degrees who just happen to be Olympic standard Oarsman. The rivalry is intense - if you are new to it then it's worth getting hold of the film "True Blue" which tells the story of a particular year, when there was a 'mutiny' amongst one of the eights.
The race itself is something of a marathon, being run from Putney to Morklake a distance of four and a half miles. Access is good, and you will find the route lined with thousands of spectators. Most of them will have spent the best part of the day getting loudly sozzled in a riverside pub on beer served in plastic beakers. If you like spending ours with thousands of overgrown public schoolboys - then be my guest.
Personally I think it is preferable to get a vantage point on one of the bridge up to halfway, as the outcome of race is usually fairly clear by then.
It is interesting that millions watch this race, even if they have never been to Oxford or Cambridge in their lives, yet everyone seems to support either light or dark blues.
I'm a Cambridge man myself (and we won this year - hurrah !). As General Melchett said in an episode of "Blackadder goes Forth" - 'Yes, Oxford is a complete arse !"
If you plan to take a dip in Hampstead Heath or the Serpentine (where some people bathe EVERY day of the year), then make sure you come along with your briefs and goggles.
Equipment: Goggles & briefs, and a nice towel to dry in later...
Christmas is the best season for iceskating. Usually it starts from November through January or February. Friends and I went down iceskating in East London, at Canary Wharf.
The rink is actually made up of ice boards, kept at a certain degree so it won't melt as far as i could tell...however, we were skating while it was very wet. i fell over twice, once got fully wet, the second time i was almost rescued by three persons,lol. That was really fun. It was my first experience ever of iceskating. I was a bit afraid at the beginning but being with friends just broke the chain of fear, and pushed me a bit to enjoy my time:)
You'd try it really, especially if you're a first timer. And remember, being courageous is not to kill your fear but to act despite your fear...someone told me!
Equipment: iceskating shoes, provided
If you are up for a spot of fishing out of London, this is a really good spot to go to!
This fishing farm is about a 2 hour drive from London, in the picturesque county of Kent!
At Shirkoak Farm they have built 2.5 acres of lake, where they have over 10,000 fish, recently stocked wth seven different types of fish!
The B&B is currently closed, as they have a break and focus on the fishing lake.
Equipment: You dont really need to take much with you.
You can hire all the equipment at the fish farm itself.
You do need to take your own wellies, rain gear, camping equipment etc if you plan to stay overnight, but should you need a rod, bait etc., they can provide that all for you.
Hotel swimming pools are rare in London except at the high end hotels. So if its a hot day why not amble over to The Oasis, which has both indoor and outdoor heated swimming pools! Its in Endell Street (North Covent Garden).
Or if you are adventurous...then try the swimming ponds on Hampstead Heath or the Serpentine in Hyde Park!
My husband is a keen fisherman.
He generally does fly fishing, but has, on occasion, done coarse fishing too.
The annual fee is £32, with associate membership costsing £63. This was for the 2005/6 season, they have yet to say what their 2007 fees are.
They have the fishing rights to river, canal and stillwater environments in the south east area.
Well worth it though I think. Getting out into the countryside, or even local rivers if you dont have a car perhaps. No excuse not to fish in London!
Equipment: To fish in the rivers in London one needs a permit (from the Civil Service Angling Society) and a rod and bait.
Plus whatever you will need for the wet and cold most likely.
What a way to clear out the cobwebs of a hangover and ensure that for about 3 days your shoulders will be aching :-)
Equipment: You can hire everything you need there. Maybe just bring a towel and swimming shorts for under your wetsuit.
This boat race is such a classic that it is now broadcasted all over the World. I wonder if poet Wordsworth's nephew and his friend at the two different universities could imagine this when they first got the idea and Cambridge sent the first challenge to Oxford in 1829. The race starts at Putney and continues to the goal at Mortlake, both nice areas of the Thames so be there early if you want a good spectator spot, or try somewhere in the middle.
If you want to row in London you have lots of choice, there are clubs specialising in junior rowing, men's rowing, women's rowing, costal rowing...etc...
My favorite club in London is Thames Rowing Club, located in Putney on the Embankment. Choose your time to boat carefully, or you may be lost in the wake of the River Police, or washed ashore by the various cruisers that tour up and down all weekend. The perfect time is early morning on a day with no wind or rain - you might just have to endure a few not so perfect ones though!!
Usually you row away from London towards Kingston, but occasionally the weather (and coach) are agreeable to going towards the city, where you can row past the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben... I have only done this in an eight - anything smaller would be asking for trouble!!
The famous rowing races between Cambridge and Oxford universities happen in spring on the Thames. In 2001, the date was 24 March. I snapped all my photos off and it was only the start of the reserves' race! I had a good view of the start from Putney Bridge.