This Dazzling Flotilla Is Sailing Down The Thames This Week

By Charlotte Maughan Jones Last edited 22 months ago

Last Updated 23 September 2022

This Dazzling Flotilla Is Sailing Down The Thames This Week
It is night time. Tower bridge is visible to the right of the image and the river Thames flows horizontally across the whole image. Multiple boats, gently decorated with white lights are seen floating on the river. The underside of tower bridge is lit up with colourful lights. The moonlight and white lights create a beautiful reflective glow off of the water.
Illuminating the Thames. Image: Thames Festival

The glow of illuminated boats gliding down the river at dusk, watching the gentle waves left in their wake and the moonlight reflecting off the water's surface...

Sounds like the start of a guided meditation, but this dazzling sight is coming to London this week, with Reflections — a one-off flotilla along the Thames.

A procession of vessels decorated with soft white lights (including Gloriana, the rowbarge of Elizabeth II) will wend their way from Chelsea to Tower Bridge, creating a dynamic, work of art on the water.

Though the event was planned before Queen Elizabeth II's death, it has now become a tribute by the river community marking the passing of Her Majesty the Queen and the accession of King Charles III.

Complementing the vessels will be various colourfully illuminated bridges already in situ, designed to evoke reflective thoughts on the city's history.

The Thames is an experienced host of river celebrations, with the initial incarnation of the modern day Lord Mayor's Show, The River Pageant, being held on the waters of medieval London around 570 years ago. The legacy lives on in the use of the term 'floats' to describe participants in carnivals or processions on dry land.

The Reflections flotilla can be seen from 7.15pm to 9pm on Saturday 24 September 2022, as part of the month-long Totally Thames festival. It's free to watch — just pick a point along the route. It also forms part of the ongoing celebrations for the Queen's Platinum Jubilee. Funds will be raised for the RNLI, facilitating construction of a new lifeboat station at Waterloo Bridge.