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Totally Thames Reflections
Photograph: Totally Thames

An illuminated night-time flotilla will turn the Thames into a ‘stunning river of light’

Over 150 boats decorated in glistening white lights will make a ‘sparkling night time Canaletto scene’.

Alex Sims
Written by
Alex Sims

London’s ‘dirty old river’ is about to look a whole lot snazzier.  

An illuminated flotilla will float along the Thames at night this September to create a ‘stunning river of light’. Over 150 boats decorated in glistening white lights will process along the waterway from Chelsea to Tower Bridge as part of an art installation called ‘Reflections’ that will make a ‘sparkling night time Canaletto scene’, according to organisers.

Celebrating the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee year, the flotilla will be free to watch and include Gloriana, the Queen’s Rowbarge, which was made for Her Majesty’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012, which also saw a 1000-strong flotilla pass down the channel. 

To mark the occasion, some of the Thames bridges will be illuminated with colour and light shows as the iridescent vessels travel downstream. All the participating crews will be raising funds for the RNLI and supporting the construction of a new lifeboat station at Waterloo Bridge.

Part of the Totally Thames festival – an annual celebration of London’s main watery artery – ‘Reflections’ is just one of a whole bunch of imaginative, river-themed activities the fest will be bringing to various locations along the riverbank throughout September. 

As well as the illuminated boats, other highlights will include an installation of 200 silk flags exhibited outside the National Maritime Museum called ‘River of Hope’, a series of events delving into the history of the Leamouth Peninsula, a big river race with 330 boats challenging each other down the Thames and an exhibition dedicated to the Thames’ secret islands. Take me to the river! 

‘Reflections’ will take place on Saturday September 24 from 7.15pm to 9pm as part of Totally Thames Festival. 

14 things you might not know about the River Thames.

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