Festival events, exhibitions and installations will be held along a 42 mile stretch of the river to highlight its heritage and importance to London life. We’ve been looking through the programme and picked out the events we’re most looking forward to:
Doggett’s Coat and Badge Race 2018
The oldest continuing sporting event in the world takes place on 4th September, starting at around 4pm. The Doggett’s Coat and Badge Race was first organised by Thomas Doggett for newly qualified Thames Watermen and Lightermen in 1715. The race begins at London Bridge and stretches four miles upriver to Chelsea. Six rowers who have just completed their apprenticeships take part in the race, and if you time it well, you may see some of it from a Circular Cruise boat between London Bridge and Westminster Bridge. And if you’re interested in finding out more about the history of the race, there is a series of outdoor exhibitions about it between 8th and 24th September.
The Classic Boat Festival
Running from Friday 7th to Sunday 9th September, the Classic Boat Festival will be held at St Katharine’s Dock (nearest pier: Tower Bridge Quay). There will be more than 40 vintage boats to look at, including some of the Dunkirk Little Ships – the boats that were used in the famous evacuation of Dunkirk in the Second World War. If you want to get closer to the water, there’ll be canoe and stand-up paddle boarding taster sessions.
Trig Lane Guided Walk
Taking place at 9am on Monday 10th September, this is one of the many guided walks taking place on the banks of the Thames. You’ll be looking for interesting archeological artifacts and at the historical features which can only be seen at low tide. And after your walk, why not cross over the Millennium Bridge and pick up a Circular Cruise boat at Bankside Pier for a well-earned rest!
Music beneath Tower Bridge
Making the most of the cavernous Bascule Chamber beneath Tower Bridge (nearest pier: Tower Bridge Quay), newly commissioned vocal works will be performed as part of the Bascule Chamber Concerts between 20th and 23rd September. NB: concert times may have to change if the Bridge needs to be raised!
Thames Barrier Annual Test Closure
On Sunday 23rd September, the Environment Agency will undertake the Thames Barrier’s annual test closure. As London’s major flood defence, the Barrier gates must be tested regularly to ensure they will hold back the high tide in case of flooding. The test closure is a great chance to see how the Barrier works, and the visitor centre will be open free of charge on the day. If you would like to see the Barriers up close from the water, take a trip with our sister company, Thames River Services (calling at Westminster Pier, Tower Bridge Quay and Greenwich Pier).
Click here to book your Circular Cruise tickets in September in order to enjoy the Totally Thames Festival on the Thames itself.