Every year, the Thames Festival Trust pays tribute to London’s iconic river with Totally Thames – a celebration of creativity, diversity and, of course, The River Thames. This year, throughout September, the events are stacked up and there’s something for everyone so check out London Hotels special offers and make your way to the big smoke this September.
Totally Thames Blast
During this month of unmissable events, there’s really no excuse to miss Totally Thames Blast because it happens every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 11am-5pm. What better way to celebrate the river than to be on it? So head to St Katharine’s Pier and rocket through the water for 15 minutes in 360-horsepower Thames Rockets, blasting music and leaving land-dwellers like Big Ben and Park Grand Hotels London in your wake.
Suitable: Whole family
Nearest Pier: London Bridge City Pier
Nearest Station: London Bridge Tube Station
Tickets: Adults: £26.50. Children: £17.50. Booking fee: £3.95.
Thames Boat Trip: Brunel’s London
Every day in September between 10.30am and 12.30pm, Sir Marc Isambard Brunel was a key player in the infrastructure of the Thames Tunnel, which helped make London the modern hub it is today. This trip takes you through all-things-Brunel: under three Brunel bridges, through Brunel tunnel and finishing at Brunel Museum, which is inside Brunel Engine House. But it’s not just a Brunel-sightseeing tour, because it also takes you past some of London’s peak sightseeing spots like the Houses of Parliament, the Tower of London, the Isle of Dogs and of course a fair few noteworthy pubs along the way.
Suitable: Whole family
Nearest Pier: Embankment Pier
Nearest Station: Embankment Tube Station
Tickets: Adults: £15. Concessions: £13. Children under 16: £5.
Night Kayak Across London
1-3 & 17-18 September
As the sun goes down on London and the night lights come on at Park Grand London Hyde Park, it’s high time for an evening paddle down the Thames from Battersea’s St Mary’s Church to the Old Naval College in Greenwich from 6.30pm-9.30pm. If you’re no Olympic kayaker – no problem. It coincides with the falling tide, so it’s manageable for beginners.
Nearest Station: Chelsea Harbour Pier
Totally Tidal Thames Swim
Experienced open water swimmers, gather round. It’s chilly, but it’s worth it. Starting and finishing (with a few pints, no doubt) at the Black Lion pub in Hammersmith, the start times will be dependent on the tides and meeting happens at 5.30pm. The swim begins when the last rising tide hits and begins to turn, and you’ll head to Chiswick Eyot.
Suitable: Adult swimmers
Nearest Pier: The Dove Pier
Nearest Station: Hammersmith
Tickets: £5/swim (+£12 annual subscription for a NOWCA safety wristband)
Illuminated River Walking Tours
Every Tuesday in September, the four bridges of Illuminated River light up for all to marvel at. City of London guides will walk you through this sparkling art commission at Cannon Street, Southwark and Millennium bridges. The tour provides a window into London and the way in which the Thames bridges act as a social, historical and architectural reminder of the city’s journey.
Nearest Pier: Blackfriars Pier
Nearest Station: Blackfriars Station (north entrance)
Tickets: Free (but booking is essential)
Through the Marshes
From 2-5pm, join Footprints of London for a walk along the Thames, from Rainham to Purfleet. Starting in Rainham means visiting Rainham Hall gardens, which was once where a ship captain’s shipping fleet operated from when the area was a popular port. Though there are cafes and toilets along the walk, bringing a snack is never a bad shout. The walk is mostly flat, 5 miles long and requires that you wear comfortable walking shoes. If you’re likely to want to wade in the water or marshy foreshore of the Thames, then boots might be your best bet.
Nearest Station: Rainham Station
Ticket: Adult: £12. Concession. (60+, Unemployed and Students): £9.
On Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, a Run Softly event kicks off at 6.45pm, with a second matinee showing on Saturday at 2pm. If there’s one thing that’s been around almost as long as the Thames in London, it’s artists and literature living in London. From the likes of Keats, Yates, Woolf and Dickens, the wonder of words courses through London’s veins. Run Softly is an outdoor event where writers will perform spoken word pieces that pay tribute to the Thames in a re-imagining of historically and culturally significant texts.
Nearest Pier: Bankside Pier
Nearest Station: Southwark
Ticket: £4 (plus optional £3 to keep a copy of the zine). £0.65 Eventbrite booking fee.
A Concert for London
This musical event is an annual favourite for Totally Thames. It’s part of the Ship of Tolerance programme, a global art project by Illya and Emilia Kabajov, whose work is revered as some of the best in modern times and was featured in the Tate Modern in 2018. The musical repertoire is a combination of both classical and traditional performances and is free for all.
Nearest Pier: Millbank Pier
Head to Betterton Street’s The Poetry Café for an empowering feminist experience like no other. A collaboration of poetry, comedy and music, this show encompasses all things social justice and has you leaving with a distinct itch to help change the world. It will be touring the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in August before hitting London in September.
Nearest Pier: Embankment Pier
Ticket: £7. Poetry Society Members: £5. Concessions: £6.
Re:Centre has eight diverse, talented artists in residence who have collaborated six months of research to make a collection of paintings, textiles, sculptures, photographs, installations, videos, poetry and writing which they feel encapsulates the connection most Londoners have with the Thames. Private viewings are available, RSVP: firstname.lastname@example.org.
What events are you most excited about? Leave us a comment and don’t forget to book your accommodation!