London, a city steeped in history and culture, boasts an array of stunning attractions and events throughout the year. Among its many iconic features, the River Thames stands out as a symbol of London’s rich heritage. This historic river serves as the backdrop to a plethora of spectacular events that take place annually. In this blog, we’ll take you on a journey through some of the most exciting Thames events that you can mark on your calendar when visiting London.

Thames Festival:

Kicking off our calendar is the Thames Festival, an event that celebrates London’s river in all its glory. Typically held in September, this festival spans a weekend and features a diverse range of activities, from live music and art installations to food stalls and fireworks. The highlight is the Night Carnival, where vibrant floats and performers light up the riverbank, making for a mesmerizing sight.

The Boat Race:

One of the oldest and most prestigious rowing events in the world, the Boat Race is a thrilling spectacle that takes place in spring. Held between the rowing teams of Oxford and Cambridge universities, this competition stretches along a 4.2-mile course on the Thames. It’s a great opportunity to witness the passion, rivalry, and teamwork that defines this historic event.

The Great River Race:

people rowing a boat at the great river raceFor those who appreciate the beauty of boats and the spirit of competition, the Great River Race is a must-see. This annual event, usually held in September, sees a variety of traditional and unique rowing boats race along the Thames. With participants dressed in elaborate costumes and a jovial atmosphere along the riverbanks, it’s a quirky and entertaining event to witness.

Totally Thames Festival:

The Totally Thames Festival spans the entire month of September, offering a diverse program of events that celebrate London’s river. From art installations and heritage walks to river races and live performances, there’s something for everyone. Don’t miss the annual ‘Barge Driving Race,’ a unique and exhilarating contest between teams navigating barges along the river.


Thames Christmas Markets:

As the holiday season approaches, the banks of the Thames transform into a winter wonderland. The Southbank Centre Winter Market and Christmas by the River at London Bridge are two of the most enchanting Christmas markets you’ll find. With twinkling lights, festive food, artisanal gifts, and stunning views of the river, it’s the perfect way to get into the holiday spirit.

holiday ornaments at a thames christmas market

New Year’s Eve Fireworks:

London’s New Year’s Eve fireworks display along the Thames is world-renowned for its sheer grandeur. With iconic landmarks like the London Eye and Big Ben in the backdrop, the city lights up at the stroke of midnight, with a dazzling display of pyrotechnics synchronized to music. Celebrate in style with an unforgettable Thames River cruise. As the clock strikes midnight, you’ll witness the spectacular fireworks display from a prime spot on the river while sipping on your glass of bubbly.

new years eve fireworks

The River Thames is not just a geographical feature of London; it’s the lifeblood of the city’s history and culture. Exploring the spectacular Thames events that grace its banks throughout the year offers a unique perspective on London’s vibrant spirit. From rowing races to fireworks extravaganzas, there’s always something happening along the Thames. So, whether you’re a history buff, a sports enthusiast, or simply looking for a good time, make sure to include these Thames events in your London calendar for an unforgettable experience.

Original Post Date: October 10, 2023