The Tall Ships Are Back For Totally Thames Festival 2016

Laura Reynolds
By Laura Reynolds Last edited 16 months ago

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The Tall Ships Are Back For Totally Thames Festival 2016
Floating Dreams (2016) by Ik-Joong Kang. Image courtesy of the artist.

A concert inside the Bascule Chamber of Tower Bridge, a swim in the Thames, and a paddleboarding relay are just some of the events at this year's Totally Thames festival.

The festival is back for its third year, celebrating all 42 miles of the Thames in London with over 150 events.

Composer Iain Chambers once again curates a concert inside the usually off-limits Bascule Chamber of Tower Bridge, the area which houses Tower Bridge's huge counterweights during lifting. The acoustics of the room make it ideal for vocal concerts, and last year's sold out so get in quickly.

100 hardy swimmers will be able to swim the 1.5km along the Thames from Hammersmith to Chiswick Eyot and back, while those who fancy a different challenge can get involved in transporting a bottle of fresh Thames water from the source in Gloucestershire all the way out to the sea — on a stand-up paddleboard.

Other events on the programme include an exploration of the history of Waterloo Bridge, also known as The Ladies' Bridge, due to the female construction workers who rebuilt it during the second world war. Two evenings of live performances take place at the National Theatre and photos of those involved will be projected onto the National Theatre's fly tower.

Once again, we'll be sending editor-at-large Matt Brown to act as Quizmaster on the Londonist Quiz Afloat — test your knowledge of the river and the capital on board the Battersea Barge.

South Korean artist Ik-Joong Kang will be placing an art installation under the Millennium Bridge (see top image). The illuminated cube, Floating Dreams, is constructed of 500 drawings, and acts as a memorial to the millions displaced and divided during the Korean War.

And, of course, there are all those beautiful, beautiful boats.

Get up close to historic vessels at the Classic Boat Festival in St Katharine Docks, treat yourself to a cruise on a tall ship, or see a parade of Thames sailing barges — not seen in one place since the industrial revolution — when they gather at a pop-up museum at West India Docks.

Totally Thames Festival takes place 1-30 September. See individual events for price and booking info. Full programme here.

Last Updated 12 July 2016