December 17, 2017

London’s River – The Thames

Continuing our exploration of Europe’s rivers, let’s take a closer look at the Thames.

Like the Danube and the Rhine rivers, the Thames has seen a lot of history.  When you stop to think of all the explorers that must have traveled up the river it is staggering.  How many times have Kings and Queens traveled the river either escaping London or returning to it?

Hampton on the River Thames England

Hampton on the River Thames by motmit

The Thames begins its 210 miles journey deep in the Cotswold’s.  It is here the wee stream starts its passage through some of the most beautiful countryside in England then cutting through the center of London before finally reaching the North Sea.

Tower of London with Thames England

The Thames through London

Along the trip, there are 45 locks all of which are in the non-tidal portion.  It is in this section of the Thames that you will find 25 species of fish alone.

London is in the tidal portion of the river with tides rising and falling up to 23 feet!

There are 20 tributaries feeding the Thames, 80 islands along its path and a huge variety of wildlife due to the existence of both seawater and freshwater.  In the river you will find salmon, brown trout, chub, perch and flounder. Along the shores you will also find a wide selection of birds making the Thames a great place for bird watchers.

Fishing on Penton Isle River Thames England

Fishing on Penton Isle by motmit

The Thames has supported humans for thousands of years providing water, transportation, commerce, food and fun.  It has also shared in the history of England and has been featured by writers, filmmakers, artist and musicians.

Today, there are many ways to enjoy the river, so let’s explore a few ways you can spend time on this amazing river.

  • Sightseeing tours are a great way to spend time on the river as well as see some of the amazing sights of the city along the rivers banks.  This is no exception for the Thames where you can enjoy sightseeing cruises on the Thames in both London and Oxford.In Oxford you could opt for a lunchtime picnic cruise or sunset river cruise where you can enjoy splendid tourist sights including Christchurch College and Meadows, the University boathouses and regatta course, the Head of the River and Folly Bridge.  If literature is more your fancy then you might want to consider the Alice in Wonderland tour which follows the same route Lewis Carroll took when creating the beloved tale almost 150 years ago.
    Newbridge, Oxfordshire over River Thames England

    Newbridge, Oxfordshire by Bencherlite

    Along the banks of the Thames in London are many of the legendary landmarks including Big Ben, Tower of London and St. Paul’s cathedral.  If your speed is a little quicker than the normal sightseeing river cruise, maybe you should consider the Thames RIB Experience.  Enjoy the Thames in a speedboat!  You will be provided all the gear necessary to keep you dry and the PA system is so good there is no reason to slow down to give the commentary!  Cover more in 1 hour on this adrenaline filled ride.

  • The Thames is a great place for boating of any kind.  Whether you want to canoe, row or sail you can do it here!  There is a boat for any budget and any length of time.  Imagine cruising or gliding past some of the most beautiful villages England has to offer.  There are excellent connections along the way to hotels, pubs, restaurants and even campgrounds.

    Raven's Ait on the River Thames England

    Raven's Ait on the River Thames by motmit

  • Literary history abounds along the shore of the Thames.  From Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, Kenneth Grahame, TS Eliot to HG Wells.  They have all received inspiration from the river.  Reading, Mapledurham, Henley, Sonning, Marlow, Windsor and Maidenhead are all villages along the Thames where these writers have either lived; went to school or were just plain inspired by a visit to this amazing and beautiful river.  Why not spend some time following in their footsteps?  Who knows what inspiration you may find!
  • The Thames Path is a 184 mile walking path that follows the Thames from its beginning in the Cotswold’s to its end at the ocean.  Along the trail you will pass quaint villages, peaceful meadow and historic towns before finding the North Sea.  The path is meant to be explored as you wish whether it is for a few hours to a day, multi-day trips or along the entire length.  This mostly flat trail is accessible for all walkers of all ages and abilities.  Of course, along your journey you will run into much wildlife including rabbits, weasel, mute swans, ducks and coots.  If you love to walk and enjoy the outdoors, this is the way for you to spend time along the river!


What is your favorite way to spend time along the Thames?

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  8. Reign says:

    Very well taken pictures… They really put into live the beauty and enchantments of the scenic spots in London.
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  9. Laura says:

    These are awesome views!!They look so relaxing and I have to visit them…
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  10. Robin says:

    Hi…London is really a great country and there are a lot of cities that are very so beautiful to visit with…You also posted these photos and they are very awesome!!!People should not miss visiting these places…
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    • Debbie Beardsley says:

      I agree that England is an amazing country full of great places to visit outside of London! I have spent some time in the country outside London but would love to do more.

  11. Amenda Winter says:

    I love those photos!!!They are pleasant in eyes….
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    Perfectly taken pictures!!Thank you for sharing…I hope I can have a visit there…
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  13. Lisa says:

    Debbie, this is a post that brings back memories of London for me. (love that) Those sailboats look fun. I never realized there were so many tributaries feeding into the Thames.
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    • Debbie Beardsley says:

      I love reading blogs that jog memories! Sailboats are beautiful and look so very peaceful.

  14. Cindy Tindle says:

    The bridge over Thames looks so gorgeous. I have been wanting to visit London for a long time. Every time, during wimbledon matches, I wish I could watch the game live. So far it has never worked out. Thames, along with Big Ben is on my bucket list.
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    • Debbie Beardsley says:

      I hope you get your wish soon Cindy! I’m not the biggest tennis fan but actually watching a match during Wimbledon would be an exciting opportunity.

  15. Debra Saad says:

    They are very beautiful places!!I want to visit that someday…
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  16. Clark Minn says:

    Those are really great photos!!!I love all of them…Wishing to visit it someday…
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    Hi…Those are great places…thanks for the post!!!
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  18. Annie says:

    London is one of the cities I really want to visit in the future. The rivers look so romantic and charming in your photos!
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    • Debbie Beardsley says:

      You really should visit London, it is amazing! Make sure to venture out into the countryside – equally amazing but in a different way.

  19. Oh, what a beautiful post! I was just in London and did a river tour, a short one on the Thames.
    I loved reading this and learning more.
    Thank you,
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  20. First, I was impressed with all the detail about a simple river. Way cool. And every time I think about the Thames, I think of Benny Hill. I think the production company that made his series had the river thames in their logo.
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  21. Grace says:

    I haven’t been to the Thames but did not realize you can do so much in, around and along this river.
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    • Debbie Beardsley says:

      I didn’t realize it either but I am beginning to think there is a lot to do in and around all rivers!

  22. Christina says:

    That’s my city! Well there are quite a few things in your article that I should do in my own backyard. I once took a sightseeing boat/ferry from Waterloo to Greenwich, which was awesome!
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    • Debbie Beardsley says:

      I am always running across things I should do in my own backyard, San Francisco. I would be the worst tour guide in this city!!

  23. Love that photo of the Tower of London.

    The walking path sounds interesting. I would enjoy doing something like that, especially because it would help me work off all the cask ale I would be drinking.
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    • Debbie Beardsley says:

      I know exactly how you feel! Walking would be a great way to enjoy your beer that night.


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