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Geography topics for you to learn and enjoy
Geography topics for you to learn and enjoy

Facts about the river Thames

facts about the river thames

Rowing on the Thames.


Did you know?

The river Thames is home to one of the most watched rowing events in the world, the Oxford, Cambridge boat race. 

River Thames Map

river thames map | thames river map | map of river thames
Settlements that the river Thames passes through, in order:

                   Cricklade, Lechlade, Oxford, Abingdon, Wallingford, Reading, Henley on Thames, Marlow,                                              Maidenhead, Windsor, Staines-upon-Thames, Walton on Thames, Kingston upon Thames,                                                Teddington, London, Dartford, Gravesend, Southend

River Thames crossings

river thames crossing

The Millenium bridge is one of the newest crossings across the Thames. Opened in the year 2000, it serves as an important link for tourism and is one of the dozens of bridges which can be crossed by pedestrians. 

                                    bridges - 200+

 weirs and locks - 45

           tunnels - 24

            ferries - 6

   Utility tunnels - 3

      Cable cars - 1

Did you know?

There is a disused rail tunnel left over from when improvements were made to the Northern Line on the underground.

river thames crossing | facts about the river thames

The Queen Elizabeth II Bridge is the longest bridge over the Thames. At 812m long, it carries cars and trucks southbound but never northbound. A tunnel under the river takes the northbound traffic. 

Did you know?

There are three utility tunnels which are big enough to walk through. They carry electrical cables. 

Floods and flood prevention

river thames 1928 flood

The worst flood in terms of damage caused occured in 1928 when large parts of central London were flooded and 14 people lost their lives. Heavy snow from the previous week had started to melt just as there was some heavy rainfall, coupled with a high spring tide and a storm at sea sending a storm surge at the river Thames estuary. In this photo we can see Kew Green under water.

Thames flood barrier

river thames | flood prevention on the thames | flood prevention

Started construction in 1974, it was completed in 1982 and cost £534 million to build. That is the equivalent of £1,647 million in 2014. Built to cater for a hundred year flood, a flood that is so severe, it only occurs once every 100 years, 

it has been used much more than anticipated and crucially it was not designed to cater for rising sea levels and increased storms due to climate change. It was designed to last until 2030 although recent studies say it should be good until 2070. 

increase in flooding due to climate change

Sports and tourism on the river

sports and tourism on the thames


leisure on the thames



Duck tours

Rib tours


Speedy river bus

Dinner cruise

River walks

Interesting facts about the river Thames complete with maps of the river Thames and images to help you learn all about this fascinating river. Through studying about the River Thames, you can learn more about the geography topic of rivers. Do you want to know:  How long is the river Thames? Where does the river Thames start? We hope to answer these questions and more so read on and start learning today.



                                       Length of river - 356 km

                             Drainage basin area - 12, 935 km2

Maximum height above sea level - 110 metres

                               Average discharge – 65.8m3 per second 



     Source of river – Thames Head, Gloucestershire

     Mouth of river – Thames estuary, Southend-on-sea



                        First bridge built – first century

        Last time the river froze* – 1814

                                Biggest flood – 1928

                    Flood barrier built – 1982

*enough to hold a fair on



                 Number of tributaries – 51

                          Number of islands – 80

        Number of weirs and locks - 45

One of the predicted consequences of climate change is an increase in storms and higher sea levels, as illustrated by this bar chart. The Thames flood barrier is being used far more frequently than anticipated. And that winter of 2013/2014, it certainly seems to have been a bad one. 

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