Totally Thames 2021

London's biggest outdoor event is crammed full of great activities and opportunities to discover the river. City Countdown reports

The Totally Thames festival celebrates the Mother Thames and the city which grew up on its banks. The festival has grown out of the Mayor’s Thames Festival which ended in 2013.

The Ancient River

Before Westminster, before the City, before Roman settlements and druid camps, came the river.  Ancient Britons believed that the Thames was inhabited by Gods. Tribal leaders came from hundreds of miles away to offer tributes to these river deities. In their primitive ignorance, these early Britons believed that these offerings could buy favour and fortune by appeasing the mysterious Gods of the deep.

Modern Britons know that the Gods of the river do not exist, of course, nevertheless, it is almost impossible to overestimate the importance of the Thames to the history of our city.

Interesting Facts about the River

The Roman River

There is a reason that the Romans pitched their camp by the side of the Thames. They knew that Mother Thames would ensure them water to drink, fish to eat and a liquid highway to navigate the city. Then, when they began to build their city of Londinium, they made sure that it sat right beside the river.

The Romans chose high ground – two small hills – the better to defend their settlement – and they made sure these two hills were bounded by water. A valley and a stream (the Walbrook) bisected the two hills (Cornhill and Ludgate) and both looked down over the Thames. Happy with the position of their new settlement, they began to build. None of this is particularly surprising. Many Roman cities are born beside the banks of a river.

Simply put, without the Thames there is no London. The river is part of the fabric of the city and the two are connected in ways that we could not even begin to imagine.

The Totally Thames Festival

The Totally Thames Festival aims to put that relationship in perspective. The month-long festival celebrates the river and its influence upon the city with a diverse programme of events –  regattas, river races, foreshore archaeology and environmental activities. The aims of the festival are as follows:

  • To encourage Londoners to think more about the river and its heritage
  • To champion a diverse and sustainable creative riverfront
  • To inspire Londoners to become the next generation of river ambassadors
  • To facilitate novel and innovative ways to learn about the river
  • To support and nurturing artists and encourage them to place the river at the centre of their work

This year’s Totally Thames Festival will run from the 1st September 2021 until the 30th September 2021.

More information on the festival can be found here.

Information on other great outdoor events in London can be found here.

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