Home » Festivals and Events » Totally Thames – 1st to 30th September 2016

Totally Thames – 1st to 30th September 2016



September sees the return of the ever popular Totally Thames festival which brings the river to life via an exciting season of arts, cultural and river events throughout the 42-mile stretch of the Thames in London.

Since 1997, the Thames Festival Trust has organised 16 fun, free festivals along and on the river and over 10 million people have enjoyed the Thames Festival since then, reaching a peak in 2012 when more than 800,000 people spent the weekend celebrating the end of the London Games. Last year over 2.6 million people attended over 150 Totally Thames events. More recently, the event has expanding the concept from central London to the whole river in London, from Richmond to Havering, under the banner Totally Thames.

The season of programmes often incorporate other events under Totally Thames banner. Some of this year’s highlights include :

London’s Burning is a festival of arts and ideas at the centre of Great Fire 350, the city-wide season of commemorative events to mark the 350th anniversary of the Great Fire of London, running from 30th August – 4th September.

London 1666 takes the history and makes it a modern day story. This hugely ambitious project will bring together young Londoners not in education, employment or training, to recreate a vast 120-metre-long wooden sculpture of Restoration London.

Designed by American artist David Best, this extraordinary representation of the 17th-century London skyline will eventually be floated on the river Thames and set alight in a dramatic retelling of the story of the Great Fire.


A major installation by Ik-Joong Kang, one of South Korea’s most renowned and celebrated multimedia artists, Floating Dreams is a compelling, large-scale installation situated in the centre of the River Thames by Millennium Bridge. Constructed from 500 drawings and illuminated from within, the three-storey-high lantern structure acts as a memorial to the millions displaced and divided during the Korean War (1950-53), and a poignant symbol of hope for the reunification of North and South Korea.

For four days only this September the tall ships will be back on the Thames in London. London is a city best to be seen from the river. Make an unforgettable journey on an original tall ship and enjoy spectacular sights and delights the city has to offer. Fireworks complete the evening on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

Fluxland is a new interactive artwork, sound piece and space for debate by French artist Cyril de Commarque, coming to London in September. A converted 25-metre long freight boat mounted with a mirrored polyhedron sculptural form, Fluxland will navigate along the Thames on a series of journeys over the course of the month, as a travelling visual and sound installation.

The little known history of Waterloo Bridge (aka The Ladies Bridge) will be celebrated with live performances, film and large scale photographic projections by Karen Livesey and Concrete History on the National Theatre’s fly tower of trail-blazing female construction workers who re-built the bridge during World War II

Footprints of London guides, in conjunction with Totally Thames, celebrate the role rivers have played in the story of London with a series of guided walks. From the Roman era to the present day London has relied on its rivers for life, trade, transport and recreation and these walks will help tell some of those stories.


Now in its fourth year, the Source to Sea River Relay will take place throughout September. The journey will start with the bottle being filled with fresh Thames water at the source of the river in a field near Kemble in Gloucestershire.  It will then be relayed down river by different groups travelling on Stand Up Paddle Boards.  As the bottle changes hands and weaves its way towards London different events will take place along the way, including a mass paddle and SUP marathon, education on water conservation, river clean ups, SUP yoga and SUP taster sessions.

Rivers of The World is an international arts education programme that works in schools across the world and young people aged 12 to 14 to help inspire, educate and connect them to their local river and waterfront.

The Great River Race, London’s River Marathon, is a spectacular race for traditional boats up the River Thames, from Millwall to Ham, that attracts over 300 crews from all over the globe and appeals to every level of competitor from those who enjoy fun, fancy dress and charity stunts, to serious sportsmen and women who like to win and become the UK Traditional Boat Champions in the process

Metal presents, Estuary 2016, sixteen days of art, literature, music and film curated in response to the spectacular Thames Estuary. An eclectic programme of exhibitions, performance, conference and events pulls together powerful themes resonant to the place, its landscape, and communities.

If you would like further information, visit the Festival website here

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