Reconnect with the Thames at TideFest

Wednesday 12th July 2017

River dipping on the ThamesRiver dipping on the Thames

TideFest 2017 gives Londoners chance to discover more about mighty river

Wildlife, river and environmental groups are announcing plans for TideFest to be held on the tidal Thames in London on Sunday 10th September. It is now an established River Thames event which aims to highlight the recreational importance of the Thames to Londoners and encourage people to enjoy the river.

The Thames holds over 120 different species of fish and is home to an array of birds

TideFest is part of the month-long Totally Thames Festival and is sponsored by Thames Water and Tideway, the company delivering the new Thames Tideway Tunnel to clean up the river. TideFest 2017 will be based at Strand-on-the-Green in Chiswick with activities at Chiswick Pier, Brentford, Barnes, Deptford, Hackney, Beckton, and other locations along the Thames Tideway.

As usual there will be loads of great activities for all the family including foreshore walks, an angling competition, boat trips, paddleboarding, river dipping, kayaking, nature reserve visits, water games, stalls and displays, talks and film showings, live fish tanks, local artists, food, music, and generous discounts off admissions to the London Museum of Water and Steam. The full programme is now online and can be booked via the TideFest website at

Paddleboarding on the Thames

Gordon Scorer, Chief Executive of London Wildlife Trust said: “TideFest has become a great annual tradition celebrating life on the Thames and offering lots of fun and educational river-based experiences. This year we’re looking forward to a special film screening on plastic pollution in addition to regular activities such as paddleboarding and archaeological walks. We’ll also have experts from London Wildlife Trust on hand to talk about the city’s dazzling dragonflies and damselflies!”

TideFest organiser, Martin Salter from the Angling Trust, said: “TideFest is now an established annual event that grows in popularity every year and which aims to help reconnect Londoners with their river. The Thames holds over 120 different species of fish and is home to a tremendous array of birds and other wildlife. There’s a range of new attractions this year as we spread further down the river with trips on Lea and visits to the Deptford Creek and Thames Water’s Beckton Nature Reserve. Hopefully this means more people will become better aware of what an amazing resource we have in the heart of our capital city.”



TideFest 2017 programme

A wide range of activities have been planned from 9am to 6pm on Sunday 10th September at either free or heavily subsidised rates, including:


  • Stand up paddleboarding on the Thames

Paddleboarding specialists Active 360 will be running pre-booked 50 minute supervised sessions at Kew Bridge from 11am for those new to paddleboarding, although all those under 18s must be accompanied by an adult. There will also be a Paddle and pick clean-up of Kew Bridge Drawdock in support of the environmental charity Watertrek UK who work to protect waterways around London, and elsewhere, from plastic pollution as well as two trips to Old Isleworth.


  • A Plastic Ocean film screening at One Over the Ait, Kew Bridge

Watch a new adventure documentary that brings to light the consequences of our global disposable lifestyle. An international team go on a mission around the globe to uncover the shocking truth about what is lurking beneath the surface of our seemingly pristine seas.


  • Riverside marquees

The Strand on the Green riverside embankment and Kew Bridge Piazza will host displays by local charities, paintings by local artists, loads of games and children’s activities, food and music. London Wildlife Trust will also be on hand to talk about the capital’s wildlife and to sign up Dragonfly Detectives as part of an exciting new project to survey the capital’s rivers and ponds.


  • River dipping and netting on the foreshore

There’s river dipping, water testing and games designed to explain and increase understanding of what’s going on in the river run by the environmental charity Thames21. Alongside this will be seine netting supervised by ZSL and the Institute of Fisheries Management to show you what lives in the Thames.


  • Walks and tours

A series of highly informative archaeological tours of Oliver’s Island will be held at Strand-on-the-Green. These fascinating walks will be led by archaeologists Dr Fiona Haughey and the ‘London Mudlark’, Lara Maiklem. Suitable for those aged over 16 only. There will also be a tour of the historic Lots Ait boatyard.


  • Take a boat trip along the Thames

The River Thames Society is organising four hour-long boat trips around the Thames Tideway islands, leaving from Kew Pier on the historic Thames launch the “Windrush”. The skipper will be Ken Dwan, a former Royal Waterman and Queen’s Bargemaster. Guided commentary is included.


  • Low tide river wade in Deptford Creek

A guided adventure in Deptford Creek for adults and accompanied children ages 9+. Wade in a wild river and experience a different perspective of London history and urban wildlife. Led by an experienced conservationist we guarantee you some good, clean, muddy fun!


  • River Lee Navigation reedbed boat tours

Thames21 has been working to improve the River Lea for the last five years, to provide new reedbeds and great habitat for wildlife. Join them on board the ‘Alfred Le Roy’ for a relaxed trip on the river with commentary from their knowledgeable project officers.


  • Beckton Nature Reserve open day

Thames Water is opening up Beckton Nature Reserve in East London especially for TideFest. Activities include half-hour walks of the nature reserve (on the hour, every hour), a 90-minute bird watching walk at 12pm through the nature reserve and down to the mouth of the River Roding at low tide, plus craft activities for kids including bird box assembling and painting and making wildlife masks.


For more information go to