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Splash out: five things you won't want to miss at the Totally Thames festival

By
Sara O'Reilly
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September's Totally Thames festival shines a spotlight on London's great liquid highway, offering up 170 events to watch or take part in. Sara O'Reilly picks five brilliant things from the programme to tempt you down to the river this month.

Watch the world go by 

The Great River Race is London's marathon on the water, with the same great mix of iconic backdrops, elite athletes and charity competitors in mad fancy dress. An amazing variety of vessels take part, from simple skiffs to Chinese dragon boats. This year the 330 crews will take to the water at Millwall Slipway, E14 at 10.45am, finishing at Ham House, Richmond, TW10 at around 1.40pm. There'll be a cannon broadside to welcome the winners, plus food, drink and family entertainment. www.greatriverrace.co.uk. Sep 12. Free.

Empathise with strangers 

© Dragan

 Organised as part of a long-term project that will become the Empathy Museum, A Mile in My Shoes presents an audio portrait of a corner of Wandsworth. Thrust your toes into the shoes (donated, or replicas in a range of sizes) of someone who lives or works on the Thames and take a riverside stroll as you listen to a recording of a stranger's life story. Brilliant; just remember to wear clean socks. Riverside Gardens, Nine Elms Lane, SW8 2DU. www.tinyurl.com/TOa-mile. 􀀀Fri Sep 4  Sep 27. Wed-Sun noon-6pm. Free.

Attend an underground concert 

© James Guppy, Flickr

 If you're a music-loving engineering buff, this should be right up your tributary. 'Bascule Chambers' is Iain Chambers's composition for brass and electronics, based on a recording of the bridge being lifted. Its title comes from the concert venue: the huge subterranean space beneath Tower Bridge that accommodates the counterweights when the bridge is raised. Tower Bridge Rd, SE1 2UP. Bookings 7407 9191. Sep 26 and 27, 11am, 12.30pm, 2pm, 3.30pm, 5pm and 6.30pm. £25.

Get creative with condoms

Spanish artists Luzinterruptus are creating an artwork celebrating water's place in our lives and they want you to get involved. No particular skills or experience are required to assist in the creation of 'Rain Interactive', a canopy of 5,000 giant rain drops made from condoms containing water and illuminated by blue light. When you've done your bit, repair to the Brentford arts centre's riverside terrace for a drink. Watermans, 40 High St, TW8 ODS. www.watermans.org.uk. 􀀀Sep 18  Sep 20, 10am-7pm. Free.

Wait patiently for the tide to turn

© Jason deCaires Taylor

Jason deCaires Taylor's installation of four working horses and their riders alludes to the river's role in London's history. Set up in the Thames at Vauxhall, 'The Rising Tide' will be visible from the riverside for two hours before and after low tide, stray shopping trollies permitting. Thames foreshore adjacent to Camelford House, 87-90 Albert Embankment, SE1 7TW.  Tue Sep 1  Sep 30, 24 hours (intermittently).

Find more waterfront activities with our guide to Totally Thames 2015.

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