So who attended the River Pageant for the Queens Diamond Jubilee? I know I did, my clothes are still wet through but what a spectacle it was, wouldn’t have missed it for the world!
Over 1000 boats took to the River Thames varying in all different shapes and sizes in celebration of Her Majesty The Queen’s 60th year on the Throne. Everyone made such a big effort for the day, vessels ranging from kayaks, narrow boats and working barges were all dressed in their finest rigs, their effort didn’t go unnoticed with thousands of photos spread across the media the next day and the Queen waving to every last vessel!
The seven-mile flotilla was led between Battersea and Tower Bridge, by the Belfy Barge, towed by The Steven B. You could hear the bells coming a mile off which allowed the anticipation to grow in the crowds from wherever you were watching. We were stationed on Butler’s Wharf Pier; the sight of all of the boats coming through the bridge was one that we’ll never forget.
Highlights of the pageant include the small sailboats with each of the flags of the Commonwealth flying high. There were a group of vessels that had different bands and orchestras on board. The main vessel played Royal Britannia and The National Anthem at 1800, a quintessentially British moment as the rain was at it’s fiercest at this point!
The Royal Squadron was stunning in itself; there was a glimpse of The Middletons on board the paddle steamer, The Elizabethan. The Gloriana, which led the squadron, was classic and understated, rowed by the Queens Waterman, as is tradition.
The Royal Barge itself, the Spirit of Chartwell was the stand out boat in the 1000. Decorated with over 10,000 blooms, and carried The Queen, The Duke of Edinburgh, the Prince of Wales, the Duchess of Cornwall, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry. Her Majesty could not have chosen a more appropriate chariot for the occasion. It was amazing to see both Prince Phillip and The Queen brave the weather for the duration of the pageant and show their appreciation to their doting public.
A day to remember for all those associated to The River Thames and here is to her Platinum Jubilee!!
2012 isLondon’s BIG year. After winning the Olympic bid in 2005 the capital leapt into a regeneration frenzy erecting a magnificent stadium inStratford, Westfield Shopping and Leisure Park, hotel and accommodation complexes and revamped London hotspots, ready for the influx of tourists. £5billion has been poured into improving transport connections across the city including extending over ground lines, giving Stratford station a whopping £125 million upgrade and investing in new DLR trains, cycle and walking paths.
With a large number of the 2012 sporting venues accessible by river, theThameswill be playing an invaluable part in the city’s transport connections. Greenwich Park, North Greenwich O2 Arena, The Royal Artillery Barracks, Horse Guards Parade and Eton Dorney are all positioned alongside the Thames making riverboats great way to get to your destination. Avoid the hustle and bustle on land and catching some of the best of London’s sights along the way.
Not only a popular method of transport,London’s River has become the venue of choice for major events being held over the year.
On Tuesday the 28th February giant Olympic rings measuring an impressive 11m high by 25m wide and weighing approximately 22.5 Tonnes, travelled on a barge from London Bridge to the Thames Barrier, marking the 150 day countdown until the games commence. Crowds formed on the river banks waving union jack flags whilst the world’s press photographed the magnificent structure gliding past London’s most iconic landmarks. Constructed out of steel and fitted with 44500 LED’s, the structure was magnificently lit as it passed in front of London Bridge at dawn. See photo slideshow here.
Mayor of London Boris Johnson arrived to watch Tower Bridge open for the rings to pass underneath before announcing a mass of cultural events set to take place across the capital. The program includes events on and around the River Thames to appeal to all.
Which will you attend?….
FOR THE THESPIANS AND THEATRIC AMOUNGST YOU
A floating Opera inspired by the Owl and the Pussycat has been devised by Monty Python star Terry Jones and famous composer Anne Butler and will be performed at a number of locations across the city. The project will form part of Secrets: Hidden London whereby organizations including the English National Ballet and Royal Opera House transform riverside.
CREATIVE AND QUIRKY– WHAT EAST LONDON DOES BEST
Across the water from Excel, LondonPleasureGardensat pontoon dock is set to become one of London’s most exciting cultural destinations, regenerating The Royal Docks in East Londonand aiming to support the cultural legacy of London 2012. The creative hub, in association with the Major of London, will feature concerts, a floating bar, restaurant and cinema, gardens and stages shows. Click here for more information.
DIDN’T GET A 2012 TICKET?..
Londonlive is set to be the UK’s largest free celebration of 2012. Twenty-two big screens will be erected across the country featuring live coverage and all the latest action from all the medal events, as well as live music, arts and sports workshops. London’s locations will include Hyde Park; where two celebration concerts will be held coinciding with the Opening and Closing Ceremonies, the current line up including Blur and New Order. Victoria Park will hold screens as well as numerous have-a-go sports sessions and Trafalgar Squarewill be the main site for Paralympic screenings and events. If you didn’t bag yourself a ticket for the games, head on down to your local site to catch all of the action. Click here for more information and further details on locations around the UK.
CATCH A GLIMPSE OF SOMETHING BEAUTIFULLY BRITISH
One of London’s most iconic landmarks, Tower Bridge will be having a 2012 makeover of its own with plans in place to replace the bridge’s 25 year old lights for a brand new energy efficient LED lighting system that will help cut energy consumption by up to 40 percent.
Tower Bridge is not the only attraction having a fancy new facelift in time for the influx of tourists;Londonis being spruced up and will be looking its very best . £4 million of funding will transform the South Bank, a two mile stretch of riverside between Tower and Westminster Bridge and large-scale interactive public artwork by Jeremy Deller will be popping up at selected locations across the City.
Follow news and events on the River on Twitter.
For more information on London 2012, take a look at some of the links below:
After years of doomsday scenario speculation, chatter of ‘The Mayan Prophecy’ and theories on suspicious polar shifts and planet alignments… 2012 arrived much like any other year! January blues aside, the year has not begun as gloomily as Hollywood blockbusters and hearsay had predicted. In fact 2012 is looking to be rather special for London and the River Thames.
Following 2011’s royal wedding of William and Kate, Britain plans to celebrate our monarchy once again in 2012. To mark 60 years of the Queen’s reign, celebrations are set to take place across the country for Her Majesty’s Diamond Jubilee. With an extended bank holiday weekend (something even the anti-royals amongst you can rejoice about) a host of events will be taking place in and around London, luring tourist and locals alike to join us in doing what Britain does best.. Celebrating our Royals with copious amounts of Pimms, prawn cocktails and sausage rolls!
One of the biggest and (we think) most exciting celebrations is the River Thames Queens Diamond Jubilee Pageant, taking place on Sunday 3rd June. At high water, thousands of boats of every shape and size will begin cruising down the River Thames, the Queen aboard her royal barge leading the pageant. From paddle steamers to luxury yachts, service boats filled with armed forces, police and firemen, historic vessels, RIBS and rowing boats, the pageant will cruise along London’s River Thames creating one of the largest flotilla’s in history!
And if the Queen’s Jubilee was the British starter, the London Olympics will be the spectacular, gourmet, international main course! The finest athletes from around the world, mixed together to create a bubbling, lip-smacking spectacle to be remembered for years to come. On the 19th of May the London 2012 Olympics will begin with the lighting of the Olympic torch. It will be carried by 8,000 inspirational individuals across the UK for 70 days, reaching the Olympic site in East London’s Stratford for the grand opening ceremony on the 27th July. London will welcome millions to witness the best of the best compete in over 26 Olympic sporting categories. This summer, all eyes will be on London, the host city of the greatest and the largest sporting event on the globe.
2012 is the Chinese year of the Dragon, the only fictional creature of the zodiac year and one that is held with huge significance and revelry by the Chinese. Those born in the year of the dragon, a symbol of power and wisdom, are said to demand attention and respect, and this year more than any before, The City of London plans to do just that with celebrations in Trafalgar Square and throughout Soho.
2012 on London’s River Thames plans to leave behind memories of 2011, the economic doom and gloom, the protests and the riots, a dragon rising from the flames. Showing the world what Britain does best…..
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, announced that on Sunday 3rd June 2012 the River Thames will provide the backdrop for the Diamond Jubilee River Pageant — the largest flotilla to be assembled on the river in modern times — as the public are invited to take part in one of the major celebrations of Her Majesty’s sixty year reign.
The Queen will lead a flotilla of up to one thousand boats assembled from across the UK, the Commonwealth and around the World. With a Bank Holiday the following day, the event organisers are planning for well over one million people to line the banks of the Thames to witness the pageant and join in the celebrations.
As a fellow Thames lovers, I thought I’d drop you a line to tell you about my recently published book ‘The River’s Revenge’.
A crime novel, the backdrop is the Met’s Marine Unit at Wapping, although I have chosen to keep their former, more romantic title of Thames Division, which has rarely appeared in crime fiction. However, it’s a very contemporary story about a very real terrorist threat, which begins with a body being pulled from the river.
The story based on meticulous research, supported by information from serving and former marine officers including former PC Bob Jeffries, now a trustee of the Thames River Police Museum and Archive,who rewardingly described The River’s Revenge as a “A cracking good read!”
My website obviously promotes the book (!), but there’s also lots of background to see and read about the origins of the river police, the surrounding community and more.
Henley Royal Regatta is one of the highlights of the rowing season. Based up river from London on the non-tidal Thames at Henley in Berkshire the first of the annual races were held back in 1839. The tradition continues today attracting a wide array of people, and not just to watch the rowing, but to enjoy the atmosphere, fine food and plentiful beverages.
An event for all to enjoy it could be compared with the horse racing at Ascot and the tennis at Wimbledon. Pimms, champagne and fine food at the hospitality marquees contrast with the competitive and tense action on the river. For more information on the many races held over the five days please select this link: Henley Royal Regatta Races
There are many packages you can book on to in advance some in busy riverside location, others in quieter settings with hospitality boats escorting you to observe the racing. The Henley Regatta Garden Party offers the peace and quiet of a riverside venue just off the main course, but with several trips on traditional luxury passenger boats to watch the action out on the River Thames.
For more information about the Henley Royal Regatta see the official website: HRR
For hospitality packages see Henley Regatta Garden Party
The Henley Regatta is this year being held on Wednesday 30th June – Sunday 4th July 2010
The River Thames in London has many luxurious party boats. The problem is often knowing what you can get for your budget. I recommend spending some time checking out the various websites and talking with the operators, however time is not a luxury many people have a lot of! If you are short on time and have a per head budget then an all inclusive boat party maybe the solution you have been looking for. Ideal for christmas parties, celebrations, birthdays, leaving parties and other events, having an all inclusive package means you know exactly what you are paying at a glance.
There are many companies offering a ‘from‘ price for groups booking of a private London boat party. Woods offer a package which starts at around £100 per cover. TLC and Livett’s Launches have all inclusive private charters starting at just £40 per head.
The great benefit of an all-inclusive charter is that it includes everything; a four hour cruise, drinks, food and entertainment. You can easily upgrade or remove elements of the packages to fit with your requirements and obviously prices vary accordingly.
These all inclusive charters also allow you to compare a boat party on the Thames in London with land based venueswhich often provide all inclusive package prices. Of course remember on a boat party you get the added benefit of cruising along the river Thames through London. The beautiful scenery, lighting, World famous sights and ever changing backdrop adds a whole other element to a party, which you simply can’t get from a land based venue.
Make sure you are aware that the prices change with the size of your group. If you are booking for a group be careful as if you collect £40 from everyone and find you don’t quite meet the minimum numbers due to drop outs the price will probably increase. This can then leave you in an awkward position…
If you can’t get a large enough group together to book an all inclusive boat party it is still worth contacting the operator as they maybe offering special rates, or have other options available. For example you could join a riverboat disco cruise and simply buy tickets for those who have confirmed with you. As there are no minimum numbers and the cruise goes ahead if you are onboard or not it reduces the risk of getting a large group of people organised for a private boat hire. Prices start at £25, but you are sharing the boat with others and as such are unable to specify food, music style, pier boarding times and points. Drinks are also not included in this price! Of course if none of this matters then these are great value for money.
As I mentioned earlier the best place to start is with a google search!