All Things "Totally Thames"
Updated: Aug 25, 2020
This month the annual Totally Thames Festival is taking place, from the 1st to the 30th September, celebrating the river’s life and soul that thrives throughout our capital city and widely across the UK.
The Thames has played such a huge part in the history of London so far and has changed rapidly over time having its highs and its lows. Lows being: when we used to use it to deposit our waste (this caused an horrendous smell throughout the city causing urgent response when Parliament was suspended because of it). Highs being: nowadays it’s the best version of itself with us humans taking much better care of it and so we thought it fitting to join in the celebration and showcase all the amazing activities that take place along its bank-sides as well as on the river itself.
From it’s bustling banks to it’s telling tales, The Lifestyle Guide finds out a bit more about why it is so important and how it became so well loved as it is today!
Where does the 'Thames' start and end?
The River Thames flows through the south of England and horizontally through the city of London (famously visible at the beginning of every episode of Eastenders). It is the second longest river in the UK with a total distance of 215 miles, following after the River Severn. The Thames starts in Gloucestershire in a place called Trewsbury Mead and the end is between Whitstable in Kent and Foulness Point in Essex.
A Brief History of the Thames
The Romans settled in Londinium in 50AD and used this area as a port, where the Thames began its working life for major trading and shipping in of goods to the UK. They also used this centre as a main spot for building of ships and it developed to the main city of London that we see today. It has caught the eye of many great impressionists and artists such as Claude Monet and features in some of their most famous pieces. Interested to learn more, the best place to discover more about this important river is to head to the Museum of London.
Interesting facts and the Thames
100+ species of animal live amongst its waters
The Thames Path is the longest river walk in Europe
80 islands in the Thames
It used to be used for sewage before an actual sewer system was built in 1865
200+ bridges (the first was built by Romans 2000 years ago)
The Thames goes through 7 counties
Two thirds of London’s drinking water comes from it
So what is there to do nearby?
The Thames offers a wide variety of activities from boat trips to cable cars, there is literally something to do for everyone. It really breathes life into London and some of the most impressive tourist spots can be found on its banks from Tate Modern to the Tower of London, it is rich with history and culture. The most famous areas include South Bank which has a lively atmosphere and is full of street entertainers and tourists flock to this part especially due to it's many attractions such as the iconic London Eye.
Keep an eye out for our next issue where we will highlight the ultimate guide of what
to do along the Thames.
What is the Totally Thames Festival?
Launched in 1997 by the charity, The Thames Festival Trust, it strives to be the ‘cultural voice of the river’. The original focus was between Westminster and Tower Bridge but has since broadened to include a wider length of London from Hampton Court Bridge to Dartford Crossing. The array of river-related events also expanded from a weekend only to now taking place across the month of September. It usually includes a diverse programme of dance, arts and crafts and is suitable for all the family.
This year's event will host 46 workshops, talks, walks and digital exclusives for you to even enjoy at home. Aiming to inspire and enthral the audiences throughout the programme and championing a sustainable and creative riverfront. It takes an important stance on environmental initiatives with scheduled clean ups and other ways of raising awareness on plastic pollution to promote a healthier future for the river. It will be widely accessible to every generation of individuals who attend and there is a lot to learn about these waters and what lies beneath the surface and what better way than through the use of emerging artists and their dedicated work.
There will be artistic, heritage and educational related programmes. Some of the events include Tidefest which promotes the activities on shore that you can partake in as a family, mainly paddle sports. You can fully immerse yourself in the history on guided tour by boat or embark on an archaeological walk as well as unique performances from artists and choreographers. If learning from home is more your thing, there is plenty of ways to get involved virtually including video tours or enjoying the classic Dick Whittington tale.
To see the full programme of events visit their website here: https://thamesfestivaltrust.org/