Barn Elms Boathouse
Rowing at Barn Elms Boathouse
Teaching London to Row since 1967
Barn Elms Boathouse is a unique rowing facility on the banks of the River Thames in Southwest London – you may recognise us from the annual Oxford v. Cambridge Boat Race. We offer plenty of rowing opportunities for adults and children aged 11+*.
All abilities are welcome, from complete beginners, to experienced scullers, with no membership commitments! Join us for a Learn to Row course with our friendly, experienced coaches and we guarantee you’ll be hooked!
For experienced adult rowers (18+) we also offer a recreational membership: for only £34 per month you will be able to take out a boat and row for as long as you like during daylight hours. As this is unsupervised, recreational membership is currently limited to adults who have completed our Tideway navigation test and confirmed to be a competent sculler by one of our coaches.
Full for course details please scroll down to the relevant section
*juniors must be turning 12 by 31/08/2022 to start rowing with us.
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By phone: 020 3959 0054
Office Opening Hours
Please note that rowing courses run outside of these times.
Barn Elms Boathouse,
Barn Elms Sports Centre,
Queen Elizabeth Walk
Our site can be accessed from the Barnes side, by walking through the Barn Elms Sports Centre, or from the Putney side, by walking along the towpath from Putney Embankment. We are a little further upriver, opposite Craven Cottage (Fulham F.C.). Car parking is available at the Sports Centre and along the Putney Embankment (sw15 1lb), though please be aware that the embankment is liable to flooding, due to the tidal nature of the river Thames.
Our nearest bus stops are:
Festing Road- 22, 265, 378, 485
The Wetlands Centre- 485
Church Road/Red Lion- 33, 419, 969
Barnes/Red Lion- 209, 33, 419, 485
Barnes and Putney overground stations (SWR) are both approximately a 20 minute walk away.
Our nearest London Underground station is Putney Bridge, approximately a 20 minute walk from the Boathouse.
Our adult rowing sessions are for anyone aged 18+ and can accommodate a range of abilities through our beginner & intermediate group courses and private coaching. We have a full range of boats from our stable, beginner “tubs” up to fine racing boats. We predominantly focus on sculling (two oars per rower), but can facilitate sweep rowing (one oar each). You do not need to be a club member to join our rowing courses, but we have two membership options for those wishing to join.
Group rowing courses
These sessions are suitable for anyone with prior sculling experience. Even if you haven’t set foot in a boat in years, you’ll be surprised at how quickly you’ll remember what you’re doing!
Sessions run at the following times:
Wednesday 19:00-20:30 (Running April-September)
Friday: 7:00-8:30 (Running April-October)
Please note, our weekday mid morning sessions do not run during the school holidays (Half Term, Easter, and Summer).
If you are new to rowing at Barn Elms please complete a registration form, and we will email you details of how to book sessions.
Our Beginner Rowing lessons are for those with no, or very little experience of rowing. If you are a confident sweep rower looking to learn to scull, we would recommend either a private lesson or joining an Intermediate group. Please get in touch if you have any queries.
Learn to Row courses run year-round and consist of a 90 minute session each week for 6/7 weeks.
How to book
- Complete a registration form HERE
- Once submitted, please call us on 020 3959 0054 to make payment and confirm your place.
- Once payment has been received you will receive an email confirming your place on the course.
Private rowing lessons
We offer private lessons from £55 per hour for individuals and small groups, if you would prefer to be out with a coach by yourself. Please contact the office for availability and bookings.
Adult rowing membership
We have two categories for adults looking to become members of Barn Elms:
Club membership costs £15 per month, gives you a discount on group and private coaching, use of the ergs and tank, and the ability to ‘sub in’ with recreational crews.
Recreational membership costs £32 per month and you will be able to take out a boat and row for as long as you like during daylight hours, along with the benefits of club membership. To join as a recreational member, you must have completed our Tideway navigation test and have been confirmed as a competent sculler by one of our coaches. Recreational members also receive a discount on any group sessions they wish to join.
Full terms and conditions of membership can be found here.
Please speak to your coach or email us for more information.
Junior rowing courses
We offer courses both in term-time and the school holidays, as well as private lessons for individuals and small groups. The minimum age requirement for all of our junior rowing session is age 11 and in year 7 at secondary school (turning 12 by 31/08/2022).
Our term-time courses run year-round, on weekday evenings and Saturday afternoons. Sessions are divided by school year group and experience.
Spring term 2023
The Spring term time course timetable can be found here.
Holiday courses run during all schools holidays, as a week-long camp of 2-3 hours each day in either the morning or afternoon.
February half term
February half term courses for beginner and intermediate/experienced level rowers are now open for booking! Timetable available here.
How to book
- Complete a registration form HERE – please only complete a registration form for courses that are open for booking as detailed above. To sign up for future course notifications, please register to the mailing list here.
- Call the boathouse on 020 3959 0054 to make payment of the course fees and confirm your place. SPACES ARE NOT SECURED UNTIL PAYMENT HAS BEEN MADE.
- Once payment has been made you will receive an email confirmation of your place on the course.
Cancellations are subject to the Enable Leisure & Culture Cancellation Policy. Refunds will be considered on an individual basis and a 10% administration fee will be charged for cancellations with two week’s notice or more of the course start date. 20% will be charged for less than two week’s notice of the course start date.
Our full cancellation policy can be found here.
Please note: If the coach deems the weather or conditions to be unsuitable, the activity will continue to run inside.
For juniors keen to row more often and compete for Barn Elms will need to join our performance squad. If you are interested in joining the squad, please contact Charlotte Lennox or talk to one of our coaches during a session to discuss the requirements for joining the squad, and the training commitments it entails.
We work with many local schools within Wandsworth and nearby boroughs to give their students the opportunity to try rowing on the River Thames. These sessions are suitable for Year 7 students and older and can be booked on a yearly or termly basis, or even as a one-off taster session.
For more information please contact Charlotte Lennox or call the Boathouse on 020 3959 0054.
Head race boating
Barn Elms is a boating location for crews visiting the Tideway for the major head races:
- Pairs Head
- Fours Head
- Vets’ Fours Head
- Scullers’ Head
- Women’s Head
- Schools’ Head
- Men’s Head
- Vets’ Head
We have limited trailer space and often fill up quickly for events so please contact us as early as possible to guarantee your space. If you have not made contact with us we may not be able to act as a host club.
London Youth Games
We organise the team represent Wandsworth each summer in the London Youth Games rowing competitions. We are looking for rowers in school years 7 – 12 to take part in the indoor competition in July.
To be eligible to compete for Wandsworth you must live or go to school in the borough and be available to make the date of the competition (dates and details regarding team trials will be released before July.)
What kit should I wear?
Any sports kit is suitable; we recommend close-fitting clothes such as leggings and a thin t-shirt or long sleeve top. Try to avoid any baggy tops with pockets in the front (eg. Hoodies) as the oar handles can get caught up in them. It is also recommended you bring a change of clothes, just in case.
Do we need any of our own equipment?
No. We provide all equipment required. Please just bring a pair of wellies or flip flops for water-based sessions. These will protect your feet when wading into the river along the banks.
Do rowers wear lifejackets?
Generally not. Only the coaches and coxes (who steer the boat) are required to wear lifejackets. However, if you are not a confident swimmer, we can provide you with a buoyancy aid.
Will my session run in any weather conditions?
Sessions are very rarely cancelled due to weather. Session will sometimes take place in the gym/rowing tank rather than on the water if the river is deemed to be unsafe. If it is raining the session will take place on the river provided rowers are wearing suitable kit and have dry clothes to go home in after the session.
If a course is showing as full on the website, will any spaces come available?
Once a course is fully booked spaces do not usually come available. You would need to wait and join the next course, which start every 6/7 weeks for adults or every school term for juniors.
Do you need to be a good swimmer to learn to row?
No, we do our best to stay out of the water. We have a requirement that you must be able to swim 50m, otherwise you will need to wear a buoyancy aid.
My child has turned 11 but is still in year 6. Can they start rowing?
Unfortunately not. We will only take juniors from the September that they start in year 7 (Secondary School).
Safety on the River
Everyone is expected to:
• Take responsibility for their own safety and the safety of others affected by their activities.
• Read, understand and follow the Safety Plan.
• Read, understand and abide by all the Safety Rules.
All rowers must comply with the Tideway code when taking part in any water based activity. Please familiarise yourself with the code HERE.
The Port of London Authority has a flag system in place to indicate the speed and strength of the river’s current to users, which is updated daily at 06:00. Everyone who uses the Barn Elms facilities must follow the safety requirements and navigation rules when rowing from the Boathouse. The river safety rules apply to both users on a course and recreational rowers.
Codes of Conduct
In order to provided a safe and enjoyable learning environment, rowers must abide but the clubs code of conduct: