5 Fantastic Things You Can Expect To See During The Thames Festival Celebrations

logo-totally-thamesTaking place for the first time throughout the month of September, the Thames Festival (also known as Totally Thames) is an exciting, new month-long celebration of the river across its 42 London miles.

This 30-day spectacular programme of events will feature arts, music, colourful regattas, river races, archaeology, environmental and educational activities; as well as river-linked activities throughout the 17 London riverside boroughs.

Here, we suggest five events that you definitely should try to see whilst Totally Thames is in full swing.

1.  Florentijn Hofman Commission

Something extremely large is coming to the Thames this September! (Tuesday the 2nd, to be precise). Renowned Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman will create an extraordinary new sculpture, which will be his first in the UK, and it’ll be situated at Nine Elms on the South Bank for the length of the Festival. Inspired by the fascinating prehistory of the river, the installation will be semi-immersed in the water and will rise and fall with the tide.

2.  Richmond Riverside Festival

Every weekend in September, from 11am until 6pm, you can take advantage of live music, stalls and family entertainment. Richmond can boast to having the longest single stretch of the river in London, and with its beautiful royal parks, theatres and town centre bursting with shops and restaurants, this September there’s even more reason to visit Richmond. And every weekend has a different theme, with local charities benefiting from each one.

3.  Tower Bridge: A Celebration of 120 Years

Starting on the 12th September and running seven days a week is an exhibition showcasing many different ways artists have pictured London’s most iconic bridge in its 120 year history. The show includes paintings from the Guildhall Yard Gallery’s permanent collection, contemporary interpretations and a fascinating array of ephemera and archive material.

4.  Handel’s Fireworks Music and Illuminations

The historic Royal Palaces will host what promises to be an unforgettable performance of Handel’s Music for the Royal Fireworks. Taking place in the romantic, riverside Privy Garden at Hampton Court Palace, it will be performed by Arcangelo, a 30-piece orchestra, and followed by a breath-taking Georgian fireworks display. Be prepared for a magical evening in a spectacular, historic setting.

5.  The Great River Race

The 27th September sees the London River Marathon, a race up the Thames from Millwall in the east to Ham in the west in spectacular style. The awe-inspiring scene of 300 crews racing on the river is one not to be missed! All levels of competitor are welcome, from fancy dress to serious sports people, and all will compete to become the UK Traditional Boat Champions in the process.

These are just five of the events we think you should try to take in, but there are many, many others, including screenings of some of the best films ever made – E.T., The Goonies, and Raiders of the Lost Ark, to name just a few.  These are shown at the More London Free Film Festival.  But whatever it is you choose to take part in, you definitely need to be in London during the month of September to just feel a part of the celebrations and events.

And if you’re looking for somewhere to stay to make for a truly memorable visit, then please give us a call here at DUKES Hotel.  We’re very much looking forward to hearing from you.

The Notting Hill Carnival Is Almost Here – And You Really Shouldn’t Miss It

It’s summer time in the UK, which means it’s time for festivals and carnivals. And the Bank Holiday weekend towards the end of August sees one of the entire country’s biggest and best carnivals, when the streets of West London come alive as Europe’s largest street festival takes place in the city of London.

Notting Hill Carnival is a vivid spectacle representing London’s multicultural past and present, which attracts nearly one million visitors every year.

Since 1964 the capital city’s Afro-Caribbean communities have celebrated their culture and traditions with a two-day festival of live music ranging from reggae to dub to salsa, soca floats, steel bands, uplifting beats, jerk chicken and fried plantain food stalls, plus much, much more

Ever since its inception the Carnival has grown exponentially, attracting ever more revellers to its unique spectacle of floats featuring calypso, mas and pan bands and a series of sound systems for alfresco dancing.

Approximately 500 people attended the very first Carnival – which was an offshoot of the Trinidad Carnival. Today, it’s one of London’s biggest cultural attractions, with over 50,000 performers taking part in the celebrations.

You can be sure of dense crowds and a vibrant celebration of music, movement and masquerade, and there are some amazing stalls of food to accompany the cultural celebrations.

We’d recommend the family-friendly Sunday as the best day to take your children to the Carnival, as the smaller crowds and the child-friendly floats create a fun vibe.

The main parade on Monday normally takes a winding path from Great Western Road, along Chepstow Road and Westbourne Grove to Ladbroke Grove.

In the evening, after the parade has finished, the floats leave the streets and people continue the festivities at one of the many Notting Hill Carnival after-parties.

It’s worth noting that Ladbroke Grove station is usually closed on both days, with other stations in the nearby area permitting exit only; if you do plan to visit the area on either of the days, we would recommend you taking a look at the Transport for London website to plan your route.

Here at DUKES London, we can certainly provide you with an amazing base to start off your Carnival day, as we are only a short journey from the route itself.

For more information on staying with us over that weekend, or at any time, feel free to contact us here. If you’re bringing the family for the Sunday, why not ask about our bespoke family getaways, and let our experienced concierge take the hassle out of your stay and organise everything you need for a truly memorable experience with your family in London.