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River Thames – tidal

The tidal Thames extends from the North Sea to Teddington Lock (where the non-tidal Thames, managed by the Environment Agency starts).

River Thames map

Limehouse Basin
Hammersmith Bridge with boats underneath
IWA London Walks guide, Charlie Forman
Limehouse Basin

Facts & Stats

77.8 miles


The length of the tidal River Thames.

1 half tide lock

There is a half tide lock at Richmond with is permanently manned, and for which there is a charge.  Two hours either side of high tide, the sluices are lifted and there is no charge.

From Teddington Lock to Shivering Sand Tower

The tidal Thames is joined by the Grand Union Canal at Brentford, Regent’s Canal and Limehouse Cut at Limehouse, Deptford Creek, Bow Creek (for the River Lee), Barking Creek (for the River Roding), Dartford & Crayford Navigation and the Thames & Medway Canal at Gravesend.

A charter in 1197 first gave conservation rights for the Thames to the Mayor and Corporation of London. The Port of London Authority has managed the tidal Thames since 1909.  


Waterway notes

Navigation authority

IWA Branches

Useful Info

Other than Richmond half tide lock, there are no locks, but the Thames Barrier is closed on certain occasions for flood defence and testing purposes; it is managed by the Environment Agency.

Local Events

Waterway news

Waterway underfunding

Hundreds of miles of waterways – along with their unique heritage and habitats – are currently starved of funding and rely on constant lobbying by us to safeguard their future.

Sustainable Boating

We want boating on canals and rivers to be more sustainable and – even though the current overall contribution to UK carbon emissions is very small – we want to help reduce emissions on the waterways.

Waterways Heritage at Risk

Britain’s canals and rivers are a unique, living heritage. But that heritage is at risk – from urban development, lack of protection, loss of skills and knowledge and climate change.

You can help Save Waterways Heritage.

Waterway restoration

Restoring the UK’s blue infrastructure – our inherited network of navigable canals and rivers – is good for people and places.