NewsSeptember’s Totally Thames festival brings riverside events to London

August 21, 20200
Attend art, sport and cultural events across the city


If you’ve always wanted to try mudlarking or listen to sea shanties, then now’s your chance – as the annual Totally Thames festival returns (1-30 Sep).

The Thames Festival Trust curates the month-long party, which celebrates the River Thames.

Previous years have featured boat races, river swims and an underground concert beneath Tower Bridge.

Hidden Stories from the London Docks © Totally Thames 2020
What’s on

This year is the 24th edition.

Due to Covid-19, there will be a mix of digital and face-to-face events across the city, particularly along the South Bank.

Art events

You can attend an exhibition of river paintings in the OXO Tower.

However, if you’d rather make art yourself, then help create a large-scale mandala (geometric pattern) in sand along the riverbank.

You can also help collect single-use plastic from a canal and use it to create art.

Meanwhile, Rivers of the World returns, which sees artists working with children to create river-inspired art.

This year, the artists worked with 2,000 teenagers from 12 countries, from the UK to Lebanon and Ethiopia. The artists taught the children new creative skills and about the significance of their river.

The teenagers’ art will be exhibited on display boards and flags on the riverside walkway outside the Tate Modern.

Active events

Tidefest gives all ages the chance to try paddleboarding and kayaking. You can also take part in London’s largest angling competition.

Try kayaking © Totally Thames 2020

Don’t want to risk getting wet? Then join an archaeologist for a guided walk along the river instead.

Alternatively, take a tour of the Golden Hinde, a reconstruction of the ship that Sir Francis Drake sailed around the world in during the 1500s.

The Golden Hinde Shipyard © Totally Thames 2020
Music and poetry

If you’re a fan of the written and spoken word, you can read poetry printed on to ribbons. These will be tied to a moored boat to create a sail-like sculpture. A soundscape of recorded poets such as Ted Hughes and Maya Angelou will accompany the installation.

You can also go back in time as you listen to spoken word, folk music and sea shanties – traditional sailor’s songs – in a disused pub.

Alternatively, you can join a sensory session with a mudlark and head chef. The mudlark will show you Roman pottery, bones and wine bottles while the chef will match her finds with tobacco you can smell and samples of mead, cordial and roasted meat you can taste.


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