With the magnificent Thames River flowing through the heart of the city, watersports are a frequent form of exercise, competition and recreation for Londoners. Totally Sporty has independently researched the top rowing clubs and ranked them by benefits to help rowing enthusiasts find the best club for them.
Best all-around: Kingston Rowing Club
Kingston Rowing Club is one of the world's oldest and most successful amateur rowing clubs. Based on the Thames between Kingston Bridge and Teddington Lock, KRC rowers enjoy one of the longest and calmest stretches of rowing water in the United Kingdom.
The club caters to all levels, demonstrated by both a thriving Novice Squad and social events calendar, up through medalists in recent Olympic Games. Kingston Rowing Club is the ideal venue for the typical club rower aspiring for success at national events such as Henley Royal Regatta and the National Championships.
Kingston Rowing Club welcomes new members at all times of the year, although the main training and racing season lasts from the start of September to the end of July.
Squads include novice, senior, men’s and women’s veterans, juniors and leviathans.
Most members: Thames Rowing Club
Thames Rowing Club is friendly rowing club based on the Putney Embankment in West London. The club caters for all levels, from absolute beginners to international competitors.
Thames Rowing Club is currently one of the largest and most successful rowing clubs in not just London, but the entire United Kingdom.
The rowing club also has an exceptional boat fleet and training facilities at its boathouse. Thames Rowing Club's fleet comprises some 91 boats (13 eights, 28 fours, 22 pairs/doubles and 27 singles) plus seven coaching launches.
Racking is also provided for many members' scullings boats. The clubhouse also now has a dedicated boat repair workshop.
Most historical: Globe Rowing Club
Globe Rowing Club is a well-established rowing club in Greenwich that has rowed Thames since 1923. The Rowing Centre is based at the Trafalgar Rowing Centre close to the heart of historic Greenwich and only minutes from Cutty Sark DLR, Greenwich and Maze Hill train stations.
Globe Rowing Club offers competitive as well as recreational rowing and sculling on an exciting and varied stretch of almost nine miles of the River Thames from Tower Bridge to the Thames Barrier. The rowing club goes out on the river every weekend. Over the summer, club rowing takes place on Wednesdays.
Oldest: Blackwell and District Rowing Club
Founded in 1845, Blackwall and District Rowing Club is the oldest rowing club in the United Kingdom.
Blackwall and District Rowing Club is located opposite the Royal Naval College and next to the beautiful Island Gardens. It has a splendid Canaletto-style view across the Thames at Greenwich Reach with Wren's Naval Academy, the Royal Observatory, the Cutty Sark and the Millennium Dome.
Club winter training sessions run from October to mid-March. Winter training on the Thames is normally restricted to weekend mornings, tide and weather permitting, usually from 8 a.m. onward. Indoor fitness and endurance training takes place at George Green School, close to the clubhouse, for all interested members on Tuesday and Thursday evenings between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m.
Summer training on the Thames also includes evening outings on Tuesdays and Thursdays, usually beginning at 6:30 p.m. Training throughout the year also takes place at the Royal Albert Dock rowing course and centre, depending on crew requirements.
Friendliest and Best for Beginners: Kingston Rowing Club
Kingston Rowing Club is one of the most welcoming rowing clubs in London to beginners, with squads available for all rowing abilities: novice, senior, men’s and women’s veterans, juniors and leviathans.
Unlike many clubs that restrict new member openings to the beginning of the season, Kingston Rowing Club welcomes new members year-around. A club represented by rowers of all levels, beginners and new members can improve and learn from veteran members who regularly compete at the national level.
Best racing: Tideway Scullers School
Tideway Scullers School is based near Chiswick Bridge in West London. The rowing club has many squads, including senior men, senior women, recreational, veterans and juniors, and the squads compete in races weekly.
Tideway Scullers School runs sculling courses each year, beginning at Easter and throughout the summer. These courses are open to athletes of any sculling ability, both adults and juniors, and are an ideal way to prepare for racing. The courses are for anyone who wants to improve their sculling ability – from new beginners to confident scullers. The students will be a mixture of juniors (ages 11–17) and adults who will work together with their coaches in singles and crew boats.
Most competitive: London Rowing Club
London Rowing Club is based in Putney along the Embankment in London. London Rowing Club is a High Performance Centre for Lightweight Rowing, and has been the base for many successful international lightweights since the inception of the weight class.
With an unrivalled fleet of boats and professional coaching, coupled with a strong club spirit, London Rowing Club aims to be the club of choice for competitive athletes in London and the southeast United Kingdom.