The Estuary

Eastern limit of Thames Estuary

The Thames River is nearly 215 miles from the North Sea to its source on Gloucestershire. It flows through London, one of the most important and largest economic and cultural cities in the world. The river has played a central role in British History from the roman invasions of 43 BC to the turn of the millennium. The signing of the Magana Carta in 1215, the Great Fire of London in 1666 and the plot to blow up Parliament are all major historic events that took place on the Thames. It also provided a major trade route for Londoners throughout the ages. Royal Palaces, government buildings, cultural landmarks and many historic bridges line the banks of the Thames. Waterloo Bridge is the longest in the City of London at 1,250 feet and Westminster Bridge is painted the same shade of green as the leather benches in the House of Commons.

The Tidal Thames

The Thames is tidal from Teddington to the point where it flows into the North Sea. The river west of Teddington all the way to its source is non tidal.

Drinking Water

Two-thirds of London’s drinking water comes from the River Thames.  Learn more about the drinking water cycle 

Waste Water

Much of the city’s waste was dumped into the River Thames before Sir Joseph Bazalgette built London’s sewer system in 1865, much of which is still in use today.To cope with a huge population growth in London and to significantly reduce the amount of untreated waste water entering the Thames, Thames Water will be building the Thames Tideway Tunnel under the Thames. Work on the tunnel is anticipated to start in 2016 and planned for completion in 2023. For more information on this major project go to the Thames Tideway Tunnel