River Thames

Introduction

This area covers the River Thames from the tidal limit at Teddington Lock down to Lower Hope Point, a few miles east of Gravesend.

Most visiting paddlers will come for the opportunity to paddle into central London. However, other trips are possible and this stretch of water is home to at least two active sea kayaking clubs.

Times of high water

Westminster: High water is 12 minutes after high water at London Bridge

Chelsea: High water is 20 minutes after high water at London Bridge Low water is an hour after low water at London Bridge.

Putney: High water is 30 minutes after high water at London Bridge

Hammersmith: High water is 38 minutes after high water at London Bridge Low water is 2 hours after low water at London Bridge.

Chiswick: High water is 49 minutes after high water at London Bridge Low water is 2 and a half hours after low water at London Bridge.

Richmond Lock: High water is 1 hours after high water at London Bridge Low water is 3 and a quarter hours after low water at London Bridge. It is possible to pass through the barrage 2 hours either side of high water - at other times, portage around the lock.

Greenwich: High water is 10 minutes before high water at London Bridge

Gravesend: High water is 1 hours and 43 minutes after high water at Dover

Tidal streams

Thames, Gravesend Reach: The east going stream begins at 20 minutes before high water at London Bridge. The west going stream begins at 5 hours and 50 minutes after high water at London Bridge. The east going stream reaches a speed of 2.7 knots at springs. The west going stream reaches a speed of 2.5 knots at springs.

Thames, Long Reach by Purfleet: The south-east going stream begins at at high water at London Bridge. The north-west going stream begins at 6 hours and 15 minutes after high water at London Bridge. The south-east going stream reaches a speed of 3 knots at springs. The north-west going stream reaches a speed of 2.5 knots at springs.

Thames, Halfway Reach: By Dagenham Motor Works: The east south-east going stream begins at at high water at London Bridge. The west north-west going stream begins at 5 hours and 50 minutes before high water at London Bridge. The east south-east going stream reaches a speed of 3 knots at springs. The west north-west going stream reaches a speed of 2.5 knots at springs.

Eddy at Broadness: An eddy forms to the south west of the point on the in-going stream.

London Bridge: The east south-east going stream begins at 15 minutes after high water at London Bridge. The west north-west going stream begins at 5 hours and 20 minutes before high water at London Bridge. The flow reaches a speed of 3 knots at springs.

Notes

The Port of London Authority imposes a range of regulations on this stretch of water which must be understood and followed by kayakers - including an obligation to contact London VTS (VHF channel 14) if paddling in some areas. The website includes much useful information including a code of practise and a map, which are worth studying carefully. Despite being somewhat sheltered, the combination of fast tidal streams and lots of river traffic make this a potentially hazardous place to paddle.

Access/Egress

Richmond, Ham House: (TQ 170 732) g The Ham Street car park (to the west of Ham House) is near a slipway into the river.

Putney, boathouses: (TQ 237 761) g Parking along the Embankment - restricted to residents Monday to Friday. Other options, with varying restrictions, on nearby streets. Put in on the hard in front of the rowing clubs near the end of Festing Road.

Shadwell, Prospect of Whitby: (TQ 353 805) g A small passage to the right of the Prospect of Whitby pub leads to the Pelican Stairs down to the river. On street parking nearby, with restrictions Monday to Friday. Tower Hamlets Canoe Club is just downriver from here, but a gate blocks access to the river at their launch site.

Gravesend: (TQ 653 744) g Long slipway by Gravesend Rowing Club, large car park 250 m south.

Greenhithe: (TQ 588 752) g Slipway at the end of Pier Road. The road is narrow. Parking 150 m south off Eagles Road. There is a height restriction, but roadside parking also available.

North Woolwich: (TQ 438 798) g Slipway at the end of Barge House Road. Limited roadside parking.

Poplar Rowing Club: (TQ 383 783) g Slipway. Roadside parking nearby, restricted Monday to Friday.

Suggested trips

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