A massive movable flood barrier spanning the Thames, the Thames Barrier was built as a flood defence for central London against high tides and storm surges from the North Sea.

For flood protection—the very reason for which it was constructed—the barrier is closed up to 50 times a year (although in recent years it averages about 4 to 5). Additionally, there are tests of the barrier each month from April through October. The dates and times for each test are listed on the website.

There is a Thames Barrier Information Centre and Cafe slghtly downstream fron the barrier on the southern bank of the Thames. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the cafe is closed and all visits to the information centre need to be booked in advance. Thames Barrier Park is on the northern side of the Thames, just upstream of the barrier.