An incredible celebration, and with something for everyone, it will give all Londoners the opportunity to explore the terrific Thames.
Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London​
Flags, lights and people in a parade at Night Carnival 2005
Photo: Nicholas Reynolds

Thames Festival was launched in September 1997 with a record-breaking high wire walk across the River Thames. The festival and associated activities is operated by Thames Festival Trust, an independent charity.

From 1998 to 2012, the festival was focused on the area between Westminster Bridge and Tower Bridge. It took place over the second weekend in September, and featured a rich programme of street arts, participatory dance sessions, art workshops for families, a riverside crafts and food market, a feast on Southwark Bridge and a spectacular night carnival with a mid-river fireworks finale.

Photo: Nicholas Reynolds
Her Majesty the Queens Diamond Jubilee River Pageant 2012

In 2000, the festival team helped deliver London’s Millennium Celebrations, and in 2012, they took a major role in the design and delivery of The Thames Diamond Jubilee River Pageant.

In 2013, Thames Festival was relaunched as Totally Thames, a month-long season of river and river-related events along the whole 43 miles of the River Thames riverfront in London, from Hampton Court Bridge in the west to the Dartford Crossing in the east. 

This new format came with a more diverse programme of events that often featured a major art installation for the River Thames as its centrepiece. Totally Thames strives to be ‘the cultural voice of the river’ and includes many river and river-related events produced independently and marketed as part of the festival.

ThamesHippopoThames 2014 by Florentijn Hofman floating in the Thames by the giant wheel
Photo: Steve Stills

In addition to Totally Thames, Thames Festival Trust also delivers a year-round programme of heritage and education work. Our flagship arts education projects Rivers of the World and The Story of Water are delivered in partnership with the British Council. Highlighting the value of art-based learning and of placing professional artists in schools, these projects have been applied in over 500 schools all over the UK and in 40 countries overseas.

Photo: Steve Stills

Our Team

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