Thames Talks

Lively talks and conversations covering everything Thames past, present and future: from climate change, geography and cartography to literature, cinema, art and architecture. Programmed in partnership with Peter Florence.

Thames Talks are ticketed events. Booking is essential.

Tickets: £7/ £5 Concession / 10% Discount Festival Friends. (* unless otherwise stated). Eventbrite fees apply.

The Sea Inside

Philip Hoare explores Londoners’ connection with the sea, the tidal Thames and the ceaseless change and constant presence it brings to our daily lives. Hosted by The Londonist’s Matt Brown.

Saturday 7 September, 3pm

Click to hear: The Sea Inside - Birds & Whales (BBC Radio 4)

HMS President (1918), Victoria Embankment, EC4Y 0HJ


The Navy Way

Sunday 8 September, 4pm


The Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant - 3 years in the making

Bettany Hughes delves behind the scenes with Pageant Master, Adrian Evans (circled left), to explore the triumphs, trials and tribulations in the planning of one of the most extraordinary maritime feats of modern times.

Sunday 8 September, 4pm

Watermen’s Hall, 16-18 St Mary-at-Hill, EC3R 8EF


The Nile and the Magdalena

The geographers and travel writers Robert Twigger and Michael Jacobs discuss two of the great rivers of Africa and the Americas, and their importance to the cultures they define.

Monday 9 September, 7.30pm

Westminster Boating Base, 136 Grosvenor Road, SW1V 3JY


Rising Tides

Activist, journalist and traveller Mark Lynas talks about Planetary Boundaries and how they can help us deal with the new geological era of humanity, the Anthropocene. He also details his environmentalist perspective on why nuclear power and GM crops are essential parts of the sustainability toolkit particularly in view of rapid climate change, rising sea levels and the melting of the Arctic.

Tuesday 10 September, 7.30pm

The Chamber, City Hall, SE1 2AA

Thames Tales

John Mullan and Iain Sinclair explore the role the Thames and its tributaries have played in literature, how they have affected writers such as Shakespeare and Wordsworth and continue to inspire a host of great authors and thinkers today.

The talk takes place at the Chapel Royal of St Peter ad Vincula in the grounds of the Tower of London, a rare opportunity to soak up the wealth of history and imagine the many Kings, Queens and Traitors who have graced its grounds before you.

Thursday 12 September, 7.30pm

Chapel Royal of St. Peter ad Vincula, the Tower of London, EC3N 4AB

The London Mappers

Jerry Brotton and Daniel Crouch tell the cartographic story of London and its iconic river, from the first printed map of the city to recent artistic attempts at mapping the capital.

Friday 13 September, 7.30pm

Queen Mary Undercroft at Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich, SE10 9LS


Shooting Water

Francine Stock (BBC Radio 4 The Film Programme) and Peter Florence explore ways in which contemporary cinema has used the Thames, from the legendary title sequence of The World is Not Enough to the taxi-boat of Shakespeare in Love and the ending of Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels.

Saturday 14 September, 4pm

Riverside Studios, 1 Crisp Road, W6 9RL

Artist Talks

Hear from the artists behind two of the 2013 Thames Festival events - twice Turner Prize-nominated Richard Wilson, Zatorski + Zatorski and Hew Locke.

The Making of 1513: A Ships’ Opera

Join Richard Wilson and Zatorski + Zatorski, the artists behind Thames Festival’s spectacular Saturday night event 1513: A Ships’ Opera, as they speak about the making of the performance.

Monday 9 September, 7pm

Trinity House, Tower Hill, EC3N 4DH


Adrift - Hew Locke in conversation

Adrift artist Hew Locke gives an insight into the work, introduced by the Reverend Bertrand Olivier.

Thursday 12 September, 7pm

All Hallows by the Tower church, Byward Street, EC3R 5BJ

Cruise in the Company of...

Cruise in the Company of... Dan Cruickshank is a ticketed events. Booking is essential. Tickets £22 - includes a glass of wine and canapes.

Image: Adam Lister

Cruise in the Company of... Dan Cruickshank

National Geographic and BBC art historian, writer and presenter Dan Cruickshank, whose credits include Around the World in 80 Treasures and Marvels of the Modern Age, takes us on an architectural tour of London’s bridges, past and present, their rich history and significance in making our capital the powerhouse it is today.

Monday 9 September, 7.30pm – 9.30pm

City Cruises Millennium Diamond, Tower Pier SE1 2UP


Various locations along the river. Check individual Talks for details.