28 Aug 2019 — Thames River Sightseeing
There are activities going on every day, with exhibitions, walks, talks, concerts and, of course, boats! Click here to check out the Totally Thames website for more details and to find out what’s on, but in the meantime, here are the events that we’re particularly interested in…and they’re all free!
On all month at the recess at No.1 London Bridge, SE1 9BG (nearest pier: Bankside), this experience, presented by the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), will use virtual reality to take you beneath the Thames to ‘swim’ alongside the native wildlife. You’ll be amazed by the diverse variety of animals that live in the river, including seals, eels, sea horses and porpoises. The experience is part of ZSL’s Mother Thames environmental campaign that launched earlier this year.
Throughout September, a new artwork will be moored by the Tate Modern (nearest pier: Bankside). The Ship of Tolerance is an international art project that involves a 60-foot-long wooden ship displaying sails made of silk panels that have been painted by children. The panels feature the work of junior artists from forty London primary schools, Great Ormond Street Hospital, and refugee centres in Birmingham, Leeds, Peterborough and Calais.
At 2pm on Wednesday 4th September, the annual Doggett’s Race will set off from London Bridge (nearest pier: Bankside). For 300 years, young watermen have competed in the race to row four miles upriver to Chelsea. Unlike the competitors in the 18th century, modern teams row with the tide, and the race usually takes around 25-30 minutes.
It’s worth popping over to St Katharine Docks (nearest pier: St Katharine’s) between Friday 6th and Sunday 8th September for a celebration of vintage boats. There will be more than 40 sailing boats and motorboats on display, including some of the ‘Little Ships’ that helped out in the evacuation of Dunkirk in the Second World War. There will also be activities for the children, as well as live music and street food.
At 11.20am on Saturday 14th September, a flotilla of gigs, skiffs, shallops, skerries, wherries, cutters, naval whalers, Chinese dragon boats, Hawaiian war canoes and many more will be setting out on a 21.6-mile race. The Great River Race begins at Docklands (nearest pier: Greenwich) and travels the entire route of both TRS and Circular Cruises. But even when they reach Westminster Pier, competitors will still not even be halfway to the finish line at Twickenham! With more than 300 boats and 2,500 participants – many in fancy dress as they’ll be raising money for charity – it should be an amazing sight.
Kids love stories about poo, and the Bureau of Silly Ideas have decided to kick up a stink to celebrate the 200th birthday of Joseph Bazalgette, the man who designed London’s sewers. They will take over Aldgate Square (nearest pier: St Katharine’s) between midday and 6pm from 19th to 23rd September for various sewerage-related activities!
If you care about your environment, join Art Action Change and 10-year-old Plastic Pick Up activist Lilly Platt on Saturday 21st September and volunteer to help clean up the Thames. Volunteers will be meeting at Bernie Spain Gardens (nearest pier: Festival) and will work their way along the banks of the river, finishing at the Ship of Tolerance.
Throughout September, there will be a number of talks and events on the theme of mudlarking and the treasures washed up on the banks of the Thames. Between the 25th and 29th September, visit this exhibition of found artefacts from the Victorian era to the present day, and meet some of the mudlarkers who can talk you through their finds. Located at the Bargehouse in the Oxo building (nearest piers: Festival and Bankside).
Totally Thames will end with a mass participation paddle sports event. On Sunday 29th September, the Thames Barrier will close, allowing kayakers, canoeists, paddle boarders and rowers to travel along the river between Hammersmith and Greenwich. It’ll be spectacular to watch as hundreds of paddlers are expected. If you’d like to join them on the river itself, visit the Regatta London website – paddlers of all abilities and levels of experience are welcome.