Oars at the ready for the start of The Great River Race 2013

02 September 2013

During the race the majority of river boat services will not be affected, with Londoners and visitors able to continue enjoying River Bus and River Tour services as normal. 

As it passes through central London it will be necessary to have a phased closure of some piers to allow competitors to progress safely. Masthouse Terrace Pier will be closed for approximately an hour and 10 minutes from 11:55, and Canary Wharf Pier will be closed for approximately an hour and 10 minutes from 12:15. Tower, Blackfriars, Embankment and Westminster piers will all close for approximately an hour and 10 minutes starting between 12:40 and 13:00.  Services at London Bridge City, Bankside, Festival and London Eye piers may also be affected due to the closure of other piers in the vicinity but London River Services will endeavour to reopen all piers as quickly as possible.

The race, which began in 1988, promises the watching public a spectacle of colour as 350 boats of all different shapes and sizes take part in 'London's other marathon'.  It has become one of the biggest and most prestigious events in Europe with 24,000 competitors, both novice and more seasoned oarsman and oarswomen, from all over the world battling for one of the 35 trophies.

Members of the public can enjoy a great vantage point for The Great River Race from the river bank or from one of the many bridges it will pass under These include Tower Bridge, Westminster Bridge, Lambeth Bridge, Battersea Bridge, Putney Bridge, Hammersmith Bridge, Chiswick Bridge, Kew Bridge and Richmond Bridge.  The finishing point for the race is on the river bank just below Ham House in Richmond.
Andy Thompson, Head of London River Services, said: 'The Great River Race is one of the best supported events on the River Thames and will be enjoyed by both competitors and spectators alike this weekend. We will ensure disruptions to River Bus and River Tours services are kept to a minimum and we will be working closely with the Port of London Authority who will do their part to ensure safe passage of competitors.'

The Great River Race forms part of The Mayor's Thames Festival for the first time this year. The festival is an inspiring 10-day celebration of London's iconic thoroughfare, the River Thames, through art, music and educational events both on the water and along its banks.  This year it is bigger than ever with many activities to connect, involve, inspire and entice people down to the river and make the most of what's on offer. Some of the highlights of this year's festival include 1513 - A Ships' Opera, a spectacular waterborne performance by Turner-prize nominated artist Richard Wilson and Zatorski + Zatoriski; river inspired art commissions from Doug Fishbone, Hew Locke and Layla Curtis and a barge driving race where 40-foot steel barges compete in the river's slowest race.  Full details of all the events are available online. www.thamesfestival.org

While riverside why not enjoy many of the events by making the most of London's River Bus and River Tours services?  There are regular services available providing picturesque journeys along the river, passing the London Eye, Shakespeare's Globe Theatre and the Tower of London along the way. Furthermore, passengers with a valid Travelcard, or an Oyster card loaded with a valid Travelcard, can get a third off single fares on most scheduled services.  On Thames Clippers, Oyster pay as you go passengers can get a 10 per cent discount off the standard adult fare except on the Putney to Blackfriars service.

For more information about London's river services, visit tfl.gov.uk/river

Notes to Editors:

1. London River Services owns and operates eight piers on the river: Westminster, Festival, Embankment, Millbank, Blackfriars, Bankside, Tower and Greenwich

2 People wishing to travel on the river can benefit from a third off the normal advertised adult and child fares on most services if they produce a valid Travelcard or Oyster card loaded with a valid Travelcard when purchasing a ticket. Pay as you go Oyster cards are accepted on Thames Clippers services and passengers can get a ten per cent discount on most adult fares

3. All London River Services piers are accessible and step-free at all states of the tide, allowing easy access for mobility impaired passengers.  Most river boats are accessible - passengers should contact boat operators for comprehensive accessibility information when planning their journeys