Totally Thames 2017


Totally Thames: Great River Race. Photo: Ray Little
Celebrate the Thames and its culture with a vibrant programme of river-inspired art, live performances, archaeology walks, boat races and more along London's famous river. Read More


See London’s river Thames brought to life in a month-long season of events along the river’s 42-mile (68km) stretch during the Totally Thames 2017 festival.

This year’s 150 events fall under three main themes: the river Thames’ rich history, the 300th anniversary of Handel’s Water Music, and the issue of plastic pollution in rivers and oceans.

Walk along the Thames to see large-scale art installations, exhibitions and live performances. Enjoy a concert below river-level or join an archaeological tour of the river's surroundings. See boats of all sizes cruise down the river, or get on the water yourself with watersports and boat parties.

Totally Thames 2017 programme highlights

Art installations and exhibitions

  • Spot Maria Arceo’s Future Dust, a large-scale installation made from plastic collected along the Thames. The artwork moves to different riverside locations and lights up as night falls thanks to artist Tim Scheffer. 1-30 Sep
  • Join a free Silk River art walk along the Thames featuring tall, hand-painted silk scrolls, which celebrate the connections between London and Kolkata in India. 15-24 Sep
  • Explore the history of the Thames’ boatyards through photography and film in a series of Working River: London’s Boatyards exhibitions. 1-30 Sep
  • See river-inspired works of art created by young people from around the globe in the Rivers of the World exhibition in City Hall and along the Thames pathway from More London to South Bank. 1-30 Sep

Boat festivals and cruises on the Thames

  • Cheer on your favourite crew during the Great River Race, as traditional boats race their way from Millwall to Ham. Some race competitively, while others take part just for fun. 9 Sep
  • See 40 vintage sailing and motor boats in the central London marina during the St Katharine Docks Classic Boat Festival. 8-10 Sep
  • Learn about one of Britain’s most iconic engineers while journeying along the river with a Thames Boat Trip: Brunel’s London. 1-30 Sep 
  • Enjoy an evening of poetry, comedy and music as you sail down the Thames at the Tongue Fu Boat Party. 25 Sep

Music and spoken-word performances

  • Descend into Tower Bridge to experience Iain Chambers‘ Bascule Chamber Concerts, featuring classic and contemporary performances inside the subterranean Victorian space which houses the bridge's huge counterweights during lifting. 22-24 Sep
  • Listen to the Kid’s Choir of 400 primary school children perform songs including a response to Handel’s Water Music at The Scoop. 17 Sep
  • Hear the talented young Boat Poets’ spoken-word responses to their Thames residency at the National Poetry Library, Tongue Fu Boat Party and MBNA Thames Clippers. 6, 25 and 28 Sep

Thames river sports

  • Jump into the Thames alongside other experienced swimmers for the Tidal River Swim around Chiswick Eyot. 2 Sep
  • Have fun paddleboarding while cleaning up the river at the Plastic Ocean Festival’s afternoon of Paddle & Pick. 30 Sep

Search for more festival events by dates, locations and themes on the Totally Thames website.



Many events and activities are free, while some require a paid-for ticket.

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