Boat Race Day Essentials 2018

TOAST'S Pick of The Best Boat Race Day Entertaining Essentials

Whether you’re backing Cambridge, Oxford or simply want to soak up the party atmosphere – this month’s Boat Race Day is a brilliant excuse to entertain. Here are TOAST.Life’s pick of the best essentials for celebrating in style!

Browse the Boat Race Day Essentials 2018 gallery below...

There’s nothing like a good spectator sport to get the crowds going – be it in your sitting room or on a London towpath. Due to the tide, the past two years have seen the reliably dramatic and always exciting Boat Race (also known as The Cancer Research UK  Boat Races) unfold on a Sunday, but this year the all important date is in fact Saturday 24 March 2018 – which means it would be rude not to get in to the spirit of things and celebrate.

Held annually, The Boat Race is a side-by-side rowing race between crews from the universities of Oxford and Cambridge along a gruelling 4.2 mile stretch of the River Thames in south west London. Now in its 164th year, the Women’s Race will take place an hour before the Men’s, on the same course for the fourth consecutive time – hurrah! All the action is due to start at around 2pm and will be shown live on the BBC, so grab some friends, head down to the river or get the telly warmed up, because here are TOAST.Life’s  pick of the best essentials for celebrating Boat Race Day in style.


Which blue are you?

First things first – you need to choose your blue. Oxford is dark blue and Cambridge is a lighter blue, so depending on which team you’re backing you’ll be able to add a healthy dose of competition into the proceedings.


Cover Up

The Boat Race often falls on a Spring weekend, but weather can vary dramatically. If you're hosting a garden party, be sure to get yourself a pop-up tent to offer a little shelter if necessary. Big Chief Tipis offer a great, contemporary Tipi Hat, constructed using wooden poles and a light coloured canvas these tipis create a stunning chillout space.

Tipi Little Hat

(Big Chief Tipis are available to hire across the country, call for a bespoke quote)

Bring out the bunting

The best thing about these tipis is they don't need much styling, but a touch of traditional bunting can add to your space. We just love LARK Decor's  luxury bunting with it's mixture of colourful shades to add some instant Boat Race Day party appeal!

LARK Decor

LARK Decor Bright Bunting

(LARK Decor  Triangular Flags start from £10 per metre, flags are 1m x 1m) 

Beautiful balloons

Nothing says ‘party!’ like big, beautiful balloons and online emporium Bubblegum Balloons  have a whole host of inflatable fun in just the right shades of Oxford and Cambridge blue(s). Just a few of their brilliant giant orb balloons make a huge impression, and you can add coordinated confetti and tassels too. For a showstopper why not erect their DIY Peacock Blue balloon garland over your door to greet your Boat Race Day guests?

Balloon Banner

Bubblegum Balloons Blues

Bubblegum Balloons start from £2.50 each, DIY garland kit is £35.  

Make it oarsome

For some subtle theming that looks chic all year round then why not invest in an ornamental wooden oar? It’s a great prop for any stylish Boat Race party, but also a fun new item for the home - especially Hicks and Hicks’ handy oar cook hook, which you can hang in the hallway for instant rowing appeal. For a less expensive touch of oarsome fun then go for this brilliantly effective vinyl decal from Vinyl Revolution instead – minimum effort for maximum effect.

Hicks Hicks

(Hicks & Hicks, from £69 www.hicksandhicks.com , Vinyl from £12.99 www.vinylrevolution.co.uk )


Bacon butties and Buck’s Fizz

A winning combination for Boat Race Day  (or any other day for that matter…) is serving up dozens of hot bacon butties washed down with lashings of Buck’s Fizz. The smell of freshly cooked bacon is one of life’s greatest pleasures, and there’s nothing quite like a chilled Buck’s Fizz on a sunny spring day. Check out TOAST’s Inspire Me  guide to hosting a delicious ‘Bacon butties and Buck’s Fizz Boat Race Day party’  over on The Edit now. Get your bacon from the fabulous Cure & Simple, and some fabulous fizz from Chapel Down to kick start your daytime celebrations. 


Bacon Butties

Championship fizz

Why not treat your guests to the very same fizz enjoyed by the victorious crews at the Mortlake finish line? England’s leading winemaker Chapel Down is the official ‘Celebration Partner’ of The Boat Race, and so serving up their fabulous fizz is a must. The award winning Kent-based producer creates its sparkling wines with fruit sourced from the South East of England, and uses the same traditional method used to make Champagne. Cheers!

Chapel Down Fizz

(Cure & Simple Bacon starts from £6.40 subscription, and a bottle of Chapel Down £16.50 from Waitrose). 

PIMM'S O'clock 

Of course with rowing comes the summertime tipple of choice... PIMM's! So choose a novel and unique way to enjoy this very British drink, and employ the service of the Pimms Tricycle

This beautiful, hand built tricycle is laden with Pimms and certainly adds something a little special to any event or garden party. 

Pimms Tricycle

(The Pimms Tricycle prices are dependent on the number of guests and your location. Get in touch via our Little Black Book  for a quote.)

Tankards are the rowing trophy (and drinking vessel) of choice throughout the year's racing, although usually real silver,  you can create the same touch of authenticity by using these glass versions from LSA, or serve up your PIMMS in their punch glasses for a touch of style. 

LSA Punch Glasses

It may not quite be summer yet, but if a sweet treat is in order, check out the world's first PIMM's  Popsicles from POPS, This popsicle contains the classic PIMM’S No.1 serve, lemonade, real fruit and wonky cucumbers. PIMM’S and POPS lovers alike can enjoy this unique frozen, fresh and fruity popsicle. At just 32 calories and with 4.3% ABV per serve, PIMM’S popsicles are most definitely this year's summer treat! 

Pimms Pops

(PIMM'S  POPS  are £5.99 Available in impulse (80ml) or multipack formats 3 x 80ml from Ocado)

Snack attack

In keeping with the theme we love LSA's Paddle collection, perfect for serving up a few afternoon snacks and even a cheeky post-race shot, for a winner's toast with their Paddle shot board. 

LSA Paddle Collection

Paddle Shots LSA

(LSA's Paddle Collection starts from £36.00 for the shot board with a variety of items to match)


Make some noise

There’s nothing quite like a tense, two horse race – or in this case, a two boat race – to get the crowds cheering and spectator excitement sky high. Whether you’re watching live by the river or on the TV at home then why not equip your guests with a selection of fun party horns from Postbox Party, so that they can make some noise for their favourite crew?!

Postbox Party Horns

(Ginger Ray have a selection of Party Horns priced £3.99, or take a look at Meri Meri's Collection via Postbox Party as feature in the picture above for £6.50. )


Get rowing ready with these very stylish blade bow-ties  for any rowing occasion from Rock The Boat. Handmade out of silk you'll be sure to fit righ tin with the true British rowers. 

Bow Tie

(These Blade Bow Ties are available from Rock The Boat for £22.00)

For more ideas on how to mark celebrate this year's Boat Race, take a look at our 'Bacon Butties and Bucks Fizz' Party feature over on TheEDIT

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