London is one of the most historic cities in the world. Home of the world-famous Cambridge and Oxford boat race as well as some of the best rowing clubs in the whole United Kingdom. The river Thames provides a perfect location for water sports of all kinds. In this article we are going to pick out 7 clubs from around London that each has a unique selling point.
Whenever looking for a new club, or for your first club you will need to find one that suits your needs best. It is always worth getting in touch with the club first and having a chat with the team captain, or coaches to see if they fit what you need.
Overall Best Club: Kingston Rowing Club
The Kingston Rowing Club is a truly historic piece of London’s history. It is not just one of the world’s oldest rowing clubs but it is also one of the most successful amateur clubs. Situated on the River Thames between Teddington Lock and Kingston Bridge, the Kingston Rowing Club (KRC) has access to some of the quietest and longest stretches of water seen in the UK.
KRC is a family centred club that is open to all ages and all levels of experience. They have a hugely popular youth section that helps to keep their senior team flourishing. They even have a number of Olympians who row for their team. If you are looking for a club that works hard to inspire its rowers to push towards famous events such as the Henley Royal Regatta and the UK National Championships then KRC could be for you.
New members are always welcome at Kingston Rowing Club through the year. The main training season begins in September and runs through til the end of July. The squads offered include, novice, senior, men’s and women’s veterans, leviathans and juniors.
The Biggest: Thames Rowing Club
The Thames Rowing Club bases itself on Putney Embankment in the West of London. Its current members describe the club as having a friendly, and inspiring environment, that looks to push people outside their comfort zones. The club has a long list of teams that they send to competitions and all levels of rowers are welcome.
In terms of membership size, The Thames Rowing Club is one of the largest in London and also the entire United Kingdom. It has a huge fleet of boats that it keeps at its boathouse and exceptional training facilities that its members can use. Their current boating fleet has 91 boats (13 eights, 28 fours, 22 pairs/doubles and 27 singles) as well as 7 coaching launches. They also have racks available for member’s boats and a dedicated boat repair shop on site.
Most historical: Globe Rowing Club
The Globe Rowing Club (GRC) is an established club located in Greenwich. Rowing competitively on the Thames since 1923, it is one of the clubs in London with the most history. GRC is located at the Trafalgar Rowing Centre in the middle of historic Greenwich, just minutes from the Cutty Sark DLR, Maze Hill and Greenwich train stations.
GRC offers a wide range of rowing teams, both recreational and competitive. The GRC has rights to a stretch of water over 9 miles long on the River Thames between the Tower Bridge and the Thames Barrier. You will see its rowers out almost every weekend and over the warmer months, their club rowers get together on Wednesdays.
Oldest: Blackwell and District Rowing Club
The Blackwell and District Rowing club is one of the oldest rowing clubs in the world. Founded in 1845, the club has a rich history that spans three centuries of athletes, families and friendly competition. The Blackwall and District Rowing Club (BDRC) can be found near the Royal Naval College and next to the amazing Island Gardens.
It is not just the oldest but it arguably has one of the most beautiful views from the club’s launches. Right on the water, the club has a view of the Royal Observatory, Wren’s Naval Academy, the O2 and the Cutty Sark.
The club has its winter training sessions starting in October through to March. The River Thames has set rules that limit winter training to weekend mornings. BDRC hold their indoor training sessions at George Green School which is just down the road from their clubhouse.
In the summer training is more frequent and you will see the boats out on the Thames on Tuesdays and Thursdays after 18:30.
Ideal Best for Beginners: Kingston Rowing Club (KRC)
The Kingstone Rowing Club is one of the best clubs you can join as a beginner. As I mentioned above it has a wide range of squads that allow rowers to come and settle into the club at their preferred level. Most of the competitive clubs in London will stop new members from joining up mid-season, KRC however invites new members to join all year round.
Best for competitive racing: Tideway Scullers School
The Tideways Sculler School is a racing club located beside Chiswick Bridge in the West of London. The club provides a number of squads that compete in weekly races. One of the Tideway Sculler School’s main selling points is that they run sculling courses every year to help out new and experienced rowers get ready for racing.
The Scullers School has a range of groups that will join together whilst completing the sculler’s course. Usually, there will be a mix of juniors ages 11 to 17 and some adults who will join together to work with the coaches in singles and crew boats.
Most competitive: London Rowing Club
The London Rowing club has a high-performance centre which specialises in lightweight rowing. This club has been the base for many lightweight rowers at international levels since the weight class was created.
LRC has an array of boats that is unmatched in London. Match that with the professional coaching and competitive spirit of the club and you have a club ready to race anybody.