The Mayor’s Thames Festival: All you need to know

Between 6th and 15th September, the river Thames is the only place to be. The 10-day Thames festival celebrates everything river related and will be held in London, both on and off the water. Why not book a room in one of our London hotels for the chance to get involved, and have an end of summer weekend away? Here’s everything you need to know about the Mayor’s Thames Festival:


When and where?

The festival happens up and down the London stretch of the Thames and there are events every day, but the bulk of the action is usually on weekend days, with the Docklands, the river near Tower Bridge and The Scoop amphitheatre being among the busiest locations.


Festival Highlights:

St. Katherine Docks will be holding a Classic Boat Festival for both weekends, with historic ships moored for exploring, sea cadet displays, a food market and more. Sunday 15th will see The Scoop taken over by a massive 800 voice choir, and a chunk of the afternoon will be devoted to raising money and awareness for WaterAid. September 7th sees the biggest event, with The Great River Race starting at just before midday. Over 300 crews from all over the world are set to participate.


Hidden Gems:

Ideas Flow – Thames Walks are happening throughout the festival, and even locals and Thames river experts will find that there are plenty of fun facts to learn.

Most people’s attention may be focused on The Great River Race, but there’s another water-based competition on Sunday 15th. The Barge Race might just be the slowest race you’ll ever see, but that doesn’t mean it’ll be any less exciting!


Best For Kids:

The Blue Ribbon Village at Potter’s Fields Park will be full of interactive exhibitions, craft stalls offering activities like clay-moulding and origami, storytellers telling tales of the high seas, and sea shanty choirs singing traditional sailor songs. You can bet the kids will happily lose quite a few hours here.


Can I get on the river?

If you’re not signed up to participate in one of the races – don’t worry. There’s still plenty of opportunity to get on the water. Try The Deluxe River Cruise by Doug Fishbone, offered on 14th and 15th September. Otherwise, you can sail through Tower Bridge which will be raised up just for you in the Lady Daphne, learn about the area on an RNLI lifeboat guided tour, whiz up and down the river on a Diplomat Cruise, or even Kayak the Thames with Moo Canoes. The Source to Sea River Relay also offers anyone the chance to get involved with a chunk of a race, regardless of how they’d like to travel. Swimmers, rowers and sailors will all team up to cover the whole distance of the Thames within the space of 15 days.



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