Crafts, powerboats and a floating quiz: our pick of the Totally Thames Festival 2015

We’re lucky enough to be a minutes’ walk from London’s riverside – and as well as putting us close to the cultural attractions of the South Bank, it means we’re well placed for the many events that go on up and down the river. Established in 1997, the Totally Thames Festival is one of the biggest and best, designed to celebrate the river’s history, location, landmarks and communities.

Bascule Chambers

  • Where: Tower Bridge
  • When: Saturday 26 September and Sunday 27 September

This is something you don’t get to do every day: listen to a specially-composed piece of electronic music in one of the huge chambers beneath Tower Bridge. The chambers house the weights that balance Tower Bridge’s movable road, and the music is based on the sound of the iconic bridge in action.

Totally Thames Blast!

  • Where: St Katherine’s Pier
  • When: Friday 4 – Sunday 6 September, Friday 11 – Sunday 13 September

Riverboat rides don’t have to be leisurely. Hop on board a bright red, super-powerful RIB vessel and tear down the Thames at speeds of 35mph. Rides are available Friday 4 to Sunday 6, and Friday 11 to Sunday 13 – call 0207 928 8933 to book. Go on the second weekend and you’ll also catch the Classic Boat Festival at St Katherine’s Dock.


  • Where: Strand-On-The-Green, Chiswick
  • When: Sunday 20 September

Watersports, nature walks, kids’ activities and live entertainment on a pleasant stretch of river in west London. It’s a little further out, but a 20-minute ride on the District line will get you there (westbound from Embankment, getting off at Gunnersbury). Enjoy a session of kayaking or paddleboarding, watch the local sailing club in action, or just sit back and soak up the atmosphere.

SAF Summer Arts Fair

  • Where: Hays Galleria
  • When: Saturday 12 – Sunday 13 September

The Hays Galleria centre, around the corner from London Bridge, will be hosting a full weekend devoted to arts and crafts. Take a workshop, watch a demonstration or browse the stalls in search of unique pieces.

Southbank Centre Architecture Tour

  • Where: Begins at Royal Festival Hall
  • When: Thursdays at 6pm and Saturdays at 2pm throughout September

Here’s your chance to go behind the scenes at one of London’s most iconic 20th century buildings, just across Waterloo Bridge from the hotel. Led by an expert guide, you’ll find out how the complex came to life and hear some of the stories from its six decades as a hub of London cultural life.

Totally Thames Quiz on a Boat

  • Where: Departs from Westminster Pier
  • When: Tuesday 29 September

After four weeks of Totally Thames, you’ll feel you know the river a whole lot better. Find out whether you’re right by facing 50 questions from the team at city blog Londonist. The quiz takes place on a three-hour river cruise with a licensed bar – so technically everyone’s a winner.

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