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PLA Blog

September? Time to head to the river

Tuesday 4th September 2018

In our latest blog, PLA director, Alistair Gale says that September is a great time to get down to the Thames.


As we enter September, the long, hot summer of 2018 is finally drawing to a close.

But it’s not quite time to retreat inside and dig out your jumpers.

With the river hosting a burst of activity, including some very different races, and its banks abuzz with cultural activities, it’s time to head to the Thames.

Totally Thames, organised by the Thames Festival Trust, has again pulled together another month-long programme of stunning events, celebrating the nation’s most iconic waterway.

Things kicked off in style yesterday (2 September) with ‘Tidefest’ at Strand on the Green, but there’s plenty more in store.

Some highlights to look out for:

  • 4 September: Established in 1715, the Doggett’s Coat and Badge Wager this year is unusually a two-horse race, but the competition will be no less fierce for Alfie Anderson and George McCarthy, as they scull the four-mile course from London Bridge to Cadogan Pier, passing under 11 bridges, an epic challenge of both their sporting prowess and river knowledge.  An exhibition celebrating the race’s long history runs at various locations through the month, including: Riverside Walkway, Queens Walk by Millennium Bridge, at Guildhall Yard and on board the MBNA Thames Clippers boat, Tornado Clipper.
  • 8 September: The Great River Race, London’s river marathon, sees 300 crews in an array of boats row 21.6 miles from London Docklands to Ham in Surrey.   The race gets away around 10 am, so get to the bridges in central London from around 11 am to enjoy the parade of crews, many in unusual costumes heading up river – Imperial Storm Troopers from Star Wars were a highlight of last year’s race.
  • 23 September –  Following the success of the inaugural  Foreshore Festival at Putney last year, Tideway (builders of the new Thames Tideway Tunnel) have added a parallel celebration at Shadwell this year - your opportunity to learn more about the Thames and “have a go” on recreational boats.

All month long, the “Rivers of the World” exhibition at gallery@oxo, Oxo Tower Wharf, showcases artwork created by young people around the globe, expressing what rivers mean to their communities today.

In a busy month of river activity, why not take the opportunity to try something new?

  • Go on a river trip at night. You will see the city as never before, as the lights of the skyscrapers mingle with the historic sights of St Paul’s Cathedral and Tower Bridge.
  • Take to the Thames Path and enjoy the river banks at Greenwich, Richmond or on Gravesend Promenade. Literally pause and enjoy what is often an oasis of calm in our busy city.
  • Attend one of a special series of concerts in the unique and awe-inspiring bascule chambers at Tower Bridge.
  • Visit the Museum of London Docklands to find out how the port shaped the city we live in today.

Throughout the month, Port of London Authority teams will, as usual, be working to ensure safe navigation of the country’s busiest inland waterway.

Our control centres and patrol boats operate around the clock, monitoring vessels of all shapes and sizes - from the  world’s largest container ships arriving downstream to the barges and passenger boats, serving tourists and commuters alike, not forgetting the thousands of people who take to the water for  sport and recreation in canoes and, increasingly, paddle boards.

Find out more: http://totallythames.org/

The PLA is one of the principal supporters of the Thames Festival, alongside the Mayor of London and Arts Council England.

     Thames21 at Putney foreshore Festival 2017

     Great River Race 2017

     Great River Race 2017