The River Thames links London together as much as it also marks out that oh-so-important north / south city divide that locals feel so passionate about.
But this month, the Thames Festival Trust, who have organized many exciting events along the river over the last 16 years, is embracing the importance of our river even more by expanding the festival’s reach beyond the city center and launching a month-long season of events and activities along London’s 42 miles of river.
The Totally Thames Festival runs right through the heart of London, from Richmond in the southwest to Havering in northeast and the good news for Cheapos is that there are tons of free activities. Hurrah! With over 100 events taking place this month, it’s hard to know where to start, but whether you fancy some wacky installations or exhibitions, a family day out, a walking or cycling tour, cinema, sailing or even archaeology, there is sure to be something that takes your fancy.
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Some personal favorites include the arrival HippopoThames, an enormous 21-metre long hippo sculpture by renowned Dutch artist, Florentijn Hofman, which can now be found semi-submerged in water at Nine Elms on the South Bank. This is Hofman’s first ever UK commission and was inspired by the prehistory of the Thames, when hippos could be found inhabiting the river.
How can you resist seeing a gigantic hippo sculpture floating along the Thames? Photo: Edvvc
Free Exhibit: Mapping London
Those with an interest in cartography should head straight for the Mapping London exhibition, which takes place at the Oxo Tower Gallery until 14 September. This fascinating exhibition quite literally maps the changing landscape of London and the Thames between 1572 and 2013 with a number of incredibly rare city surveys and (of course) maps.
Free outdoor movies
Fancy a free trip to the cinema? Until 26 September you can catch free open-air screenings on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday evenings at More London’s The Scoop. Possibly the most privileged location for a cinema ever, right on the river with fantastic views of Tower Bridge, Cheapos should bag their place early!
Classic Boat Festival brings historic ships to the Thames. Photo: Brett Jones
Classic Boat Festival
The 13 and 14 September sees St Katherine’s Docks taken over by the Classic Boat Festival, and visitors can hop onboard and explore a vast array of classic, working and historic vessels. Live music and plenty of spots to eat and drink will add to the festival vibe and make this the ideal stop off if you’re exploring the area around the Tower of London.
Explore an ancient Roman bath house
If London’s Roman history is more your thing then make sure you attend the Billingsgate Roman Bath House Open Weekend on 20 or 21 September. This is a totally unusual and exclusive opportunity to venture beneath the modern city’s streets and explore the remains of this 2,000 year old spa.
For more information and full event listings, visit www.totallythames.org and follow @totallythames.