A month-long annual arts and cultural festival at venues spanning the length of the Thames. The sheer variety of events is staggering, from film, concerts and art installations to activities and exhibits, walks, talks and boat rides.
When and where are Totally Thames 2023 events being held?
This year’s festival currently has 95 events to browse and there’s a whole lot of river to work with, so you’re bound to find something you like near you. The month-long festival runs along a 42-mile stretch of the Thames, and celebrates arts, culture, river organisations and sustainability. Central spots like London Bridge, Millennium Bridge, Cannon Street as well as Fulham, Woolwich and Docklands are generally good bets.
Every year, crowds gather to look at large-scale set pieces both on and off the water but the festival also has an open-call policy for smaller events. That means plenty of river clean-ups, pop-ups, mudlarking, live performances foreshore walks and workshops.
Free events at Totally Thames Festival 2023
Tickets are available for specific events or activities (more on those later) but there’s plenty of free stuff to get involved with too.
The Line at Greenwich Peninsula & Royal Victoria
Greenwich Peninsula and Royal Victoria Dock have created an art trail with works by internationally renowned artists, including Antony Gormley, Serge Attukwei Clottey, Richard Wilson, Larry Achiampong and Laura Ford. The art is inspired by the history of the river as well as water as a site for public art. Visitors are encouraged to begin The Line’s route in North Greenwich, go along the Peninsula from the O2 to the IFS cable car and then cross the river to the docks.
The Royal Wharf Summer Fete
Perfect for dates, mates or family fun, the Royal Wharf Summer Fete has it all. Live music, DJs, street food, magic and outdoor garden games plus face painting and balloon modelling for smaller humans.
Classic Boat Festival at St. Katharine Docks
2023 marks the 14th annual Classic Boat Festival. Enjoy around 40 beautiful vintage boats on display, plus a range of family-friendly fun including workshops, live music and kids’ activities.
Hands on History
Experience Tudor London up close by by seeing and handling 16th century artefacts recovered from the River Thames by mudlarks. As a bonus, the exhibitions are held in some of London’s most iconic venues including St Paul’s Cathedral and a Roman amphitheatre.
London: Skyline and River
In love with London? Skyline and River is a solo exhibition by Anna Dickerson celebrating both the River Thames and the changing London skyline.
Move and Sketch by River Thames
What’s not to love about this family friendly two-hour wellness activity, exploring the Thames with a walking session starting from the Tower of London and getting creative by sketching the river and the surrounding landmarks. Improve your confidence in walking regularly, boost mental wellbeing, unleash your creativity and get chatting to others.
RNLI Station Tour
How cool is this? The tidal Thames has four lifeboat stations- Gravesend, Chiswick, Teddington and Tower which, believe it or not, is the busiest lifeboat station in the whole of the UK. As of 2023, a brand new lifeboat station will be situ at Tower; head over and tour their brand-new state-of-the-art facility.
The Thames: Its Myths & Mysteries
The ancient River Thames has long been a focus for sacred rituals, ceremonies and superstition. Explore Cleopatra’s Needle, Deadman’s Hole, the execution of pirates and some rather more modern murders with City of London Guide Robert Stephenson.
Capture the Water: Printmaking Workshop for Adults
Let the Thames be your muse as you try your hand at printmaking in this free workshop.
Ticketed highlights at Totally Thames Festival 2023
Alas, you can’t just wander up to every event and get stuck in. Here are a few great value picks from 2023’s lineup of ticketed events.
Guided Foreshore Archaeology Walk: Wapping
Guided by an expert archaeologist, you can discover the archaeology of this important part of the Thames foreshore and discover evidence of activity going back hundreds of years.
Tickets cost £12.00
As the autumn evening darkens follow the candlelit path to Deptford Creek, the only tidal creek on the Thames. Here Mira Dovreni & Bernadette Russell invite you to an evening of storytelling: gossip, myths, tales old and new, from the sacred river.
Tickets cost £10.00
Water-based activities at Totally Thames Festival 2023
So technically all of the events are water-based – but these events actually take place on the water.
Thames Sightseeing, Brunel River Cruise
The Thames Sightseeing Brunel River Cruise runs from the 1st to the 27th of September and includes three Brunel bridges, two Brunel tunnels and some hidden London histories. Here you’ll discover myths, legends, Tsars on the run and ghost ships. The journey begins at 10:10 am from Westminster station.
Tickets cost £22.00
The Wren London Series: Wren by River
Uber Boat by Thames Clippers will host Wren by River, a one-hour boat tour led by leading expert in London’s architectural history, Colin Thom. The tour will take passengers past Wren’s greatest hits from North Greenwich to Battersea Power Station, from the perspective of the River Thames.
Tickets cost £15.50
Performances, talks and live events at Totally Thames Festival 2023
It’s not just for active types — there are dozens of opportunities to meet creative folk and experience arts and culture up close.
This talk will uncover the fascinating history behind William Morris’s beautiful designs inspired by the river by exploring the connections between Morris, the Thames and its tributaries.
Check out their website: https://thamesfestivaltrust.org/whats-on/ for full details.Organisers may cancel events, alter schedules, or change admission requirements without notice. Always check official sites before heading to an event.