This is the official iPad app for the Queen’s river pageant on Sunday 3 June, created by River Art Productions, Chelsea Apps Factory and the Thames Diamond Jubilee Foundation. Half of any profits will go to charities including Fields in Trust, Plan UK and UK Flagship.
The river is broken up into 13 Chapters, each covering an inter-pontal stretch of the Thames between Battersea and Tower (the route of the flotilla). Key features of interest are described, with a pebbledashing of trivia. The choice of landmarks is decent, with a mix of the very familiar (Palace of Westminster, Tate Modern…) and the less well-known (HQS Wellington, Fishmongers’ Hall…). It can either be read start-to-finish, following the pageant route, or dipped into via the map.
While the overview is respectable, the content is patchy. The text is workaday, with occasional questions over accuracy (“Big Ben is the largest public clock in the world”…really?). The video introductions to each chapter, which play a short clip of the river tamed by a few bars of Elgar, don’t really add much beyond download size. There is also little functionality to vindicate its release as an app rather than as a website. The overall effect feels decidedly low-budget compared to other apps on the market.
That said, if you’re a first-time visitor to London, are unfamiliar with the river, or want a hand-held guide while watching coverage on TV, London’s Crown Jewel is a concise primer that should serve you well. Plus, half your pennies go to a good cause.
The Thames: London’s Crown Jewel is available now for iPad, price £1.99.