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The river Thames, the heart of London

By Sophia Wood-Burgess

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Today is World Rivers Day, and a chance to celebrate one of the most important and iconic features of London, the river Thames.

London has become the global city it is because of the Thames. In the past, this river allowed London to become an international centre of trade. According to Project Britain, “London's fame and fortune is due its river. All through the Middle Ages the Thames was one of London's main highways.” That's why, if you take a cruise along the Thames, you’ll see some of our greatest landmarks and most iconic buildings.

We’ll take you through 4 boroughs along the Thames with remarkable riverside history and places to sit and enjoy the view. The Thames is ~346km long, starting in a field in Gloucester, and traveling across England to the North Sea. We’ll go from West to East, following the river through:

Richmond upon Thames | Hammersmith & Fulham | Southwark | Canary Wharf


This is the only London borough that actually crosses the Thames. As we’ve said in our article on London walks, there is a gorgeous walk you can take through the borough, right along the Thames from Teddington, through Twickenham (learn about their new Riverside development in our Local Stories article) and into idyllic Richmond.

The borough of Richmond is also home to Hampton Court Palace, a remarkable Tudor palace for fans of architecture with beautiful formal English gardens for nature lovers. It’s right on the river, with a beautiful river walk and picnicking area just between the palace walls and the bridge over the river.

Living in Richmond: The district and overground terminate in Richmond, allowing for easy transport into central London. At the same time, there’s plenty of local culture, history and atmosphere, and more of a bustling town than a big city feel to this borough.

See homes to buy and homes to rent in Richmond.

Hammersmith & Fulham

Hammersmith & Fulham are fantastic for riverside living; there’s plenty to do, all with picturesque views. You can picnic in Bishop’s Park, sit in one of the many pubs or restaurants along the river (The Blue Boat is recommended for its river views in DesignMyNight’s guest guide to Fulham). You could check out the iconic green Hammersmith Bridge, watch a riverside football match at Craven Cottage, home of Fulham’s football club, or see what’s on at Riverside Studios, the glamorous performing arts theatre by Hammersmith Bridge.

Living in Hammersmith & Fulham: Besides the cultural and commercial attractions on your doorstep, there’s easy transport to the City from this borough. Beautiful Victorian and Edwardian homes can be found further into Fulham, and on the river, industrial buildings are being repurposed and redeveloped as glamorous waterfront apartments with breath-taking views.

See homes to rent and homes to buy in Hammersmith and Fulham


If you’re introducing someone to London, Southwark should be on the list. There are some of the most iconic riverside views of London for the ‘gram, as well as London Bridge, Tower Bridge and Millennium Bridge. You can visit Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, the Tate Modern, Borough Market, the Shard, HMS Belfast and a wealth of restaurants and pubs, so there’s no getting bored in Southwark for history, culture and food lovers.

Living in Southwark: Transportation is absolutely no problem in Southwark, considering its central location and access to London Bridge Station, a central terminus in London. This area is hugely popular with young professionals, due to its short commutes and things to do in the area.

See homes to rent and homes to buy in Southwark.

Canary Wharf

If you want to learn the history of London Docklands, you’ll need to visit Canary Wharf, the historic home of imports and exports on the Thames. When the West India Docks were running here, this was one of the busiest docks in the world. Because of this history, many buildings in Canary Wharf are industrial. No longer the home of shipping, many of these buildings are being repurposed for different commercial and residential use. We have two blogs, guest written by our friends at DesignMyNight, to cover the trendy industrial-chic restaurants and pubs in Canary Wharf.

Living in Canary Wharf: As you’ll see in our article, 7 stunning warehouse conversions with original features, some stylish industrial/modern refurbished apartments have come out of the historic warehouses of London Docklands. This is an exciting area, now even better connected through London with the new Elizabeth line.

See homes for sale and homes to rent in Canary Wharf


A connection to the River Thames can be a major selling point for London property, just ask our local experts! Book a valuation and see the value of your London property in the current market.

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