Sep 1
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Sep 30

Totally Thames Festival 2023

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.

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When and where are Totally Thames 2022 events being held?

Thames Swimmers
Photo by Annette Price

This year’s festival currently has 102 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.

Thames Mudlark
Photo by Hannah Smiles

Free events at Totally Thames Festival 2022

Tickets to events are available for specific events or activities (more on those later) but there’s plenty of free stuff to get involved with too.

Reflections

In celebration of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, this impressive illuminated flotilla will see over 150 boats sweep along the River Thames from Chelsea to Tower Bridge at dusk on Saturday 24th September. All craft will be decorated with white lights, creating a stunning river of reflected diamonds. The flotilla will include Gloriana, the Queen’s Rowbarge, which was made for the Diamond Jubilee.

Some of the Thames bridges will be given a specifically-programmed celebratory sequence of changing colour and light. The crews are raising funds for the RNLI, supporting the construction of a new lifeboat station at Waterloo Bridge.

River of Hope @ National Maritime Museum

Young people across the country have worked with their teachers or professional artists to create their own artwork, using either natural or recycled materials, while thinking about their hopes and dreams for the next 70 years. 200 of these artworks were selected to form part of the Platinum Jubilee Pageant and these can now been seen together as part of this exhibition.

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 and outdoor garden games plus face painting and balloon modelling for smaller humans.

Hands on History in National Maritime Museum

Experience Tudor London up close by by seeing and handling 16th century artefacts recovered by mudlarks from the River Thames in front of a former Palace in Greenwich, bringing it to life.

Totally Thames, Boat show
Classic Boat Festival
 | Photo by Lucy Young 2017

Classic Boat Festival at St. Katharine Docks

2022 marks the 13th 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.

Greenwich Yacht Club Art Exhibition

This exhibition created by Greenwich Yacht Club includes painting, crafts, sculpture and photography about activities on and around the Thames. Learn about sailing on the Thames, boat repairing, wildlife, flora, fauna, and objects found along the foreshore. There will also be a fully licensed official Mudlarking member who will display and talk about the objects he’s found on the shores of the Thames.

Entry is free, including the exhibition, talks and demonstrations. Art workshops are available for a ticketed price of £6, which leads us nicely on to . . .

Ticketed highlights at Totally Thames Festival 2022

Alas, you can’t just wander up to every event and get stuck in. Here are a few great value picks from 2022’s lineup of ticketed events.

Thames Sightseeing, Brunel River Cruise

The Thames Sightseeing, Brunel River Cruise runs daily from the 1st to the 30th 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 Embankment station and ends at Rotherhithe station around 1pm.

Tickets cost £21.00

Thames Lens: Solargraphy Workshop

Visual artist Olga Suchanova leads this adventure in the experimental world of image-making and the more abstract side of analogue photography. Learn how to create your own camera from a recycled drinks can, then explore the nearby foreshore of the Thames with Olga and leave your camera to take a photograph.

You can agree a time with Olga to develop the image, which can be entered into Thames Lens 2022. Everyone is welcome and no previous photography experience is needed; materials and light refreshments are included.

Tickets cost £25.00

Mudlarking Masterclass with Steve Brooker

Join Steve Brooker (aka Mud God) from the History Channel’s show “Mud Men” who will teach you top mudlarking tips and explain how to read a tide just by looking at the settlement lines in order to find historic artefacts. Is that the best London party trick or what? Steve will also share some quirky stories about London’s history.

Tickets cost £25.00 with all proceeds going to fund the new, purpose-built Tower Lifeboat Station.

Water-based activities at Totally Thames Festival 2022

Okay, so technically all of the events are water-based. But these events actually take place in the water.

The Great River Race

One of the most anticipated on-water events is The Great River Race. Every year, over 300 crews race a 21.6-mile river marathon from Docklands to Ham Island in Surrey. But it’s not just regular racing canoes here, Chinese dragon boats, naval whalers and Hawaiian war canoes are all taking to the water for the title of UK Traditional Boat Champions.

Float on the Thames

Looking to participate in some water activities yourself? Try one of the taster sea kayaking sessions from London’s only dedicated sea kayaking club, CKC. Each session has five spaces, will last about 1hr 30mins and be run by two experienced paddlers. Note: these taster sessions are only for those over 18 years old.

Performances, talks and live events at Totally Thames Festival 2022

It’s not just for active types—there are dozens of opportunities to meet creative folks and see arts and culture up close.

Take a look on 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.

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