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The Illuminated River

Check out the Illuminated River, one of the most lit attractions in London.
London bridges are lit up along the Thames at night with the skyline.
London's bridges lit up as part of the Illuminated River. Photo: James Newton. Image courtesy of Caro Communications.

Experience the river Thames by night as the Illuminated River installation paints London’s iconic bridges with light.

What is the Illuminated River?

Stretching across 14 bridges, this impressive nocturnal exhibition transforms the Thames into a glowing art piece. Stop to marvel at the Insta-worthy displays that shine a new light on some of London’s most iconic structures.

Designed by Leo Villareal and Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands, the illumination uses the latest LED technology for this free public art trail spanning 4.5 nautical miles (8.3 nautical km) along the city’s famous waterway.

Hop aboard one of London's boat services to enjoy this outdoor exhibition and keep an eye out for tours and events to learn all about the bridges lighting up the river Thames (temporarily suspended due to coronavirus). 

Bridges illuminated now

  • London Bridge – warm colour fills this bridge, reflecting the cultural buzz and constant movement around the area.
  • Cannon Street Railway Bridge  dynamic colours complement the motion of trains that run along the bridge.
  • Southwark Bridge  inspired by impressionist paintings, the colours on this bridge are highly saturated.
  • Millennium Bridge  a pulse of light emphasises the people on this pedestrian bridge, casting light on their faces.
  • Blackfriars Bridge – the lights complement the red pillars that support the bridge.
  • Waterloo Bridge – illuminations are in constant movement, speaking to the flowing river.
  • Golden Jubilee Footbridges – monochromatic lighting mirrors the modern design of the bridges.
  • Westminster Bridge – soft green tones highlight the latticework of this Grade II-listed structure.
  • Lambeth Bridge – warm light radiates under hand railings, working with the red underside of the bridge.

Future bridges to be illuminated

  • Tower Bridge – soft white light will embrace all of this Unesco World Heritage Site.
  • Vauxhall Bridge the bridge's statues will be lit to dramatic effect.
  • Grosvenor Railway Bridge layers of white light will create a monochromatic scheme.
  • Chelsea Bridge – the lights on this bridge will be replaced with more environmentally friendly ones, but will stay true to the existing much-loved display.
  • Albert Bridge – shimmering lights will twinkle along the bridge's cables.
Make a day of it and explore the area while checking out the Illuminated River with this guide to the Thames. For pre-visit inspiration, take a look at the guide to London's webcams.

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