Review of 'The Oxford & Cambridge Goat Race'

Offering an alternative to the massive Oxford/Cambridge Boat race, the ninth annual “Oxford & Cambridge Goat Race” was, as always, a sold-out affair seeking to raise money for the non-profit Spitalfields City Farm in the heart of the city. Not surprisingly, the highlight of the day is the goat race held later in the afternoon.

Puny Signs Lining the Track

The entire farm was kitted out for the day with hand-made decorations throughout…

There were a number of activities on throughout the day including a “Goat-ry Slam” sponsored by Sipsmith brewery (goat-based poetry) including free samples of gin for any contributors, a goat art competition, a “make the official goat race trophy” table where you could put together a trophy out of fruit and vegetables, and a “Goat-o-Booth”.



They were very prepared for the crowds with a few street food vendors set up in a paved area near the entrance. There were also three portable toilets set up at the gate which had absolutely enormous queues (there was a “urinal” set up in the farmyard area where men were encouraged to provide “donations” to their compost).

Street Food

Drinks were very much the order of the day with beers in everyone's hand, particularly in the unusually sunny day. There were events throughout, a rather fun Mariachi Band at 1 pm playing typical Mexican songs but also Mariachi-style rock, “We are Goose” which, despite the name, was a rather amusing two-piece singing/humour group, then the “Shoat Race” (the farm's old ping residents “Holmes” and “Watson”, racing half the length of the track to the finish) and finally the highlight the goat race.

Mariachi Band

They had a long track leading from the front donkey field all the way through the farm to the farmyard area lined with fences to keep back the crowds. From the “Shoat Race” onwards an MC kept the crowds gathered along the track entertained with various events including a “goatee knitting contest” (it is all action here!), “bomb defusing contest” (in honour of the bomb found at the boat race the day earlier, in this case where the “bomb defusers” decorated volunteers from the audience, for some reason, with ribbons) and a “goat-e-oki” (karaoke where you have to sing like a goat to the music).

Knitting Contest

Despite what you might think we were encouraged to keep down the noise as the goats went by as they are “easily spooked”. The goats were encouraged along the track as they followed a keeper with food in a bucket. The race was close fought with Oxford in the lead for much of the race but Cambridge made a last minute lunge and won.

A lot of silliness but a really fun. The animals were always respectfully treated and the crowd was generally very good natured. Very well organized. Yeah, often quite corny and hokey, but that is what we were all here for. At £14 each the tickets are quite a good value with the full day of entertainment on hand and, of course, it is a good cause as the farm told us that a good portion of their annual income comes from this single day's event.


Review Date: 2017-04-02

Spitalfields City Farm

Location: London (England)

Address: Spitalfields City Farm Buxton Street London E1 5AR ENGLAND

Public Transport: NRLOGO Shoreditch High Street TUBE Whitechapel

Telephone: +44 (0) 207 247 8762


The farm is in the heart of the city just a stone's throw from Brick Lane. Operating primarily on donations, this small farm offers tours and education for many school children. Home to a variety of animals including pigs, goats, sheep, chickens, donkeys, rabbits and ferrets. The primary focus of this community endeavour is on the educational aspect with numerous projects always underway at any point in time.

The farm has events throughout the year with the spring “Goat Race” being the biggest.