With all its lovely, meandering rivers, it’s no wonder than boat racing has always been such a traditional British activity, from the Oxford versus Cambridge University boat race to the Great River Race, which is the water-based equivalent to the London Marathon.
Dragon boat racing is a particularly exciting race involving long boats teamed by a total of 22 people, including one ‘caller’ who motivates the crew in their efforts, and one steerer who stands at the rear of the boat and decides on direction.
You can see dragon boats in action this summer for free, thanks to the Dragon Boat Racing Association. Most of the places these races are set in are conveniently placed, with roads and public transport access, and a multiplicity of accommodation options, from hotel and B&B to apartments.
You can even book a dayroom with DayBreakHotels.com - a hotel room you rent by the hour - which is just great, especially for families with kids, as it allows for a rest before or after the race in between travelling in or out, and makes for a wonderful, low-cost ‘pit stop’ / rest during the day. A day trip can be made even better with this small addition, and with these races you’ll be saving lots of money anyway…
Dragon boat races will be taking place all over the UK in June, July, August, and September, in cities and towns as diverse as London, Lincoln, Newark, Wakefield, Bristol, Bath, Birmingham, Nottingham, and Lowestoft. You can find a full list of races on the Dragon Boat Racing Association website, plus times, direction details, and more.
A dragon boat is traditionally a Chinese water boat, made usually from wood (teak in particular) and powered by paddle. Each boat features a beautifully carved dragon head at the front of it - hence the distinctive name! Races are fast and exciting, fuelled by adrenalin as well as muscle, and much quicker than most races, which means that they are amongst the most gripping for spectators.
This speed means that boats literally do ‘make waves’, and for onlookers who are close to the river’s edge this may mean that waterproofs and wellies are best! (Otherwise, do think about booking that dayroom, at least for an hour afterwards, and especially if you intend on going out for a meal or drink in the evening!).
The fastest growing watersport in the world, dragon boat racing is an ancient yet addictive, thrill-inducing sport which encourages attendance and, possibly, may open you up to the possibility of trying it out for yourself! In which case, make sure to look up the Dragon Boat Association, who list details of courses, classes, and groups, and in the meantime make sure you catch one of these spectacular, splash-filled races as soon as you can.
An event page by Sylvie Smit
We ask for your email address so that we and the attendees have a way of contacting you.