With such a rich history, the River Thames has centuries worth of tradition behind it. With much of central London having been built up around this scenic river, there are plenty of sights to explore all year round.
That being said, the Thames is a river which is best seen in the summer. With the glistening South Bank and beautiful Embankment park, the Thames promises many riverside rambles, beautiful parklands and incredible events throughout the summer months. To get the full London experience, in addition to great hotel offers, during your stay at the Devonshire Hotel Paddington, we’ve compiled a list of some of the best events taking place in and around London’s River Thames.
From food festivals to sporting events, the banks of the Thames are flowing with tradition and excitement, elevating your sightseeing in the city to heady, unforgettable heights.
Movies on the River
This silver screen sailing trip sets off from the Tower of London with Movies on the River’s third summer of cinephile serenity. With a film playing on the top deck of this luxury cruiser, you’ll be spoiled with food, drink and the glittering lights of the city’s top attractions, all while watching some of your favourite films on a London summer evening.
River Stage at the National Theatre
Throughout the summer, the National Theatre on the South Bank builds its very own open air and free to attend stage. With a wide range of family-friendly shows, including magicians, comedians and drag acts, the River Stage at the National Theatre acts as a perfect taster of what the city’s showbiz pros have to offer, all with the scenic Thames as a set dressing!
Live Wimbledon Screenings
As part of the Summer by the River Festival, the first two weeks of July will screen the best games of the Wimbledon Tennis tournament, all from the comfort of the Amphitheatre overlooking Tower Bridge. With the atmospheric backdrop and plenty of food and drink stalls, this is the perfect spot to relax and soak in both the summer sun, and the grunt-worthy power of the world’s best tennis players.
Thames River Cruise
The Thames River Cruise is a must for any London newcomer. With a rostrum of options to set you on course, you can swap your favourite Paddington Restaurants with a lunch, dinner and afternoon tea menu during your river tour, enabling you to enjoy the sights of the city in a completely new light, and with a full stomach. Whether you’re after a romantic sunset with your other half or getting your bearings on your first visit to the city, the Thames River Cruise is the perfect summer tour of London.
From April to September, the Underbelly Festival sets up camp on the South Bank of the Thames. With a gorgeous terrace and bar area, the Underbelly Festival hosts some of the best performers in the city for an electric season of circus, cabaret and comedy. With its unmissable purple cow venue, the Underbelly is one of the best venues in the city to enjoy the Thames.
Take a trip into West London and pair the Thames with nature. Richmond Park offers up the best of both worlds and a welcome escape from the usual city centre Thames side sights. With its semi-wild deer, beautiful grassy plains and the Thames side pubs to relax in, Richmond Park is one of the best spots in the city for a riverside ramble.
RIB boat tours
See the Thames at full throttle on these pulse pumping tours of the city centre. With a variety of durations, you can see the London branch of the Thames in as little as half an hour. With tours taking you from London Bridge to the Thames Barrier and back in as little as 75 minutes, you can feel the full force of London’s iconic river. That’s one way to spend your lunch break!
Nestled under London Bridge, you can enjoy one of the oldest food markets in London. This medieval era food market has been thoroughly modernized and caters for a whole host of cultures. From Chinese to Ethiopian cuisine, Borough Market has been selling whole and street food delights since the middle ages and has plenty of spots to wolf down some lunch.
Another London Bridge must-see is the Hays Galleria. With a history dating back to the 19th century, the Hay’s Galleria is a riverside architectural marvel, and houses market stalls and trade barrows selling everything from jewellery to coffee. This gallery also showcases artworks from resident artists, giving you a full-flavoured view of the river.
London Summer Festival
The London Summer Festival showcases street performers and pop up shops just outside of Tower Bridge. With sizzling events and food festivals taking place all summer, this is another riverside treat for visitors and locals alike.
Based in the idyllic Greenwich, the Cutty Sark is a boardable replica of the historic merchant ship, based on the Banks of the Thames. Overlooking Greenwich Park, the Cutty Sark shines in the night, bejeweled with multicoloured lighting and makes for a great dive into British Merchant Navy history.
Take a trip just a half hour out of London and you’ll be facing one of the most historic palaces still owned by the British royalty. With its famous maze and years of stories, Hampton Court Palace is surrounded by beautiful parkland and a great view of the River Thames. From Anne Boleyn’s beheading to cardinal Wolsey, the court played a big role in the reign of the Tudors.
London Wetlands Centre
Based in a series of Victorian-era reservoirs around the Thames, the London Wetlands Centre is a nature reserve in Richmond. With its vast, marshy grounds, the Wetlands are inhabited by a plethora of native and migrating birds and give you a breath of fresh air from the city center. With education centers focusing on preserving and balancing the urban and the rural, the Wetland plays host to herons, sparrow hawks, kingfishers and many other diverse bird species.