The Torpids Rowing Races - Oxford Rowing Events and Regattas

Visiting Oxford > Things to Do > Sports & Events

The Torpids Rowing Races

The Torpids is a series of bumping races held at Oxford University yearly. There are six men’s and five women’s divisions – almost 1,200 participants in total. Crews of eight rowers and a cox begin the race arrayed along the bank; then, all take off at once when signalled by a cannon.

The Torpids racing takes place on the Isis, a part of the River Thames, usually in the 7th week of Hilary Term (from Wednesday to Saturday), typically in February. First, there’s the rowing, and then the bumps.

Do you want to learn everything there’s to know about rowing in Oxford? Check out this comprehensive guide.

How Did the Torpids Begin?

Bumps racing was developed because the narrowness of the Isis made side-by-side racing impossible. The name Torpids derives from the event’s origins as a race for the second boats of the colleges. These boats were slower than the first. The status of the event – still adjudged below that of Summer Eights – only began to rise at the very end of the nineteenth century. Nowadays there is no limit on the number of boats a college may enter.

Who Participates in the Torpids?

Torpids is open to all teams not competing in the summer Boat Race. Over 130 teams, drawn from every college, take part each year.

Who can Visit the Torpids Race?

The Torpids takes place every year around the start of March on the stretch of the Isis from Iffley Lock to Folly Bridge. Each of the 11 divisions race at half-hour intervals from noon to 5.30pm.

Anyone can visit the event. Saturday is of course the busiest day because it’s the day of the Torpids finals. 

The Christ Church Regatta - University of Oxford Rowing Events

The Christ Church Regatta

The Christ Church Regatta is a boat race held annually at the University of Oxford. Novice crews of eight rowers represent each college. The race takes place during the seventh

Shops in Oxford: The Hat Box Oxford

The Hat Box Oxford

The Hat Box Oxford is a tiny but impressive hat shop in the heart of Oxford. Here’s why you should visit and what you can see if you do.

Best shops in Oxford: Arcadia

Arcadia Bookstore

Arcadia is a popular bookstore in Oxford, offering second-hand books and stationery with a vintage and whimsical vibe.


Oxford Museums & Art Galleries

Antiques on High - Oxford Museums, Art Galleries and Antiques Shops

Antiques on High

Antiques on High is an antiques and art shop from Oxford founded in 1997 and open seven days a week. It has won several awards.

Aidan Meller Gallery - Oxford Museums and Art Galleries

Aidan Meller Gallery

Aidan Meller Gallery is one of Oxford’s longest-established specialist art galleries. They showcase modern, contemporary and old masters.

Oxford Christ Church College, Canterbury Quadrangle. Image courtesy of Billy Wilson

Christ Church Picture Gallery

Christ Church Picture Gallery is an art museum holding an important collection of about 300 Old Master paintings and almost 2,000 drawings and is one of the most important private

Oxford Parks & Meadows

Oxford Parks and Meadows: Oxford Canal - A Breath-taking Walk

Oxford Canal

Oxford Canal is a breath-taking option if you’re looking for an enjoyable walk close to the city. Here’s everything you need to know about it.

Brasenose Woods in Oxford

Brasenose Wood

Brasenose Wood is a woodland park featuring quiet walking paths and diverse flora. It’s also part of a larger nature reserve in Oxford.

Oxford University Parks. Image courtesy of Piers Nye via Flickr Commons.

Oxford University Parks

Oxford University Parks (or University Parks) is a large park area northeast of the city. The park is open to the public during the day.