Visitor Guide

 Discover the Arcadian Thames

The Arcadian Thames is one of the most special places to visit in London. The river corridor  is the largest connected open space in the capital and contains more protected sites than in any other UK location.  The landscape we cherish today was created as a place to have fun and this is as relevant now as it was  during the eighteenth century.


The Arcadian Thames is often known as ‘The Playground for London’ and due to its numerous open spaces has also been referred to as ‘London’s Countryside’.   Above all,  London’s Arcadia is a place where humans can get close to wildlife and water within the confines of Europe’s largest metropolis.  Whether your visit is to one of the main attractions such as Hampton Court or is simply a walk along the Thames Path, it is the diversity of potential experiences, clustered along one short stretch of the river that is special.  A shopping trip can easily morph into a stroll along a wild section of river, leading you to a previously un-known historic house that is only a short walk to an encounter with a red deer in one of the Royal Parks!

Take time to discover those less promoted things during your visit.  The last refuge (in London) for example of the German Hairy Snail, or cormorants sunning themselves on an island branch.  The electric blue flash of a kingfisher, a Tudor ice house, one of the Great Trees of London or a working boat yard – all of these help to make the Arcadian Thames character so rich.  On your visit consider why there is so much heritage.  This is no accident – generations of people have shaped and cared for this remarkable landscape.

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 This section provides an introduction to the best ways to explore the remarkable River Thames between Hampton and Kew. It includes an overview of the major visitor attractions, lists less known sites of interest and has links to local tourist websites. This section also provides information on how to get around, suggests days out, places to stay, houses and gardens to visit and how to get afloat on the River Thames.

For a quick guide visit our Treasures by the Thames section – listing 50 must see sights, chosen by people who live or work on the Thames.

Take a photographic journey down the Arcadian Thames to discover new delights or check out some of the more interesting aspects of the river – including historic images and images of past TLS events and projects in the Gallery.

For more in-depth information on history, wildlife and cultural links why not view the Thames Landscape Strategy document.

To find out how the Thames Landscape Strategy is working to improve the riverside for visitors to enjoy check out our project work.

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Useful Information

Flooding can affect river use.  To check out the latest conditions click below:

Thames River Conditions


See current river levels simply by clicking below:



Trowlock Island


See current flood warnings:

Flood warnings


Useful websites
Visit Thames For information on visiting the non-tidal Thames, from Teddington through to Cricklade in Oxfordshire
Visit Richmond For information on visiting the London Borough Richmond upon Thames
Discovery Richmond Guided tours in the area

What’s on in Hounslow For information on what’s on in the London Borough of Hounslow
Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames Follow links to the tourism pages
Elmbridge Borough Council Follow links to the tourism pages
Surrey County Council Follow links to the tourism pages
To the River A wonderful website with panoramic views and information about the River Thames in Richmond.
Tide Tables for 2009 and 10
Met Office for 3-5 day weather reports
Walk London – Thames Path
Environment Agency for information about lock closures etc.
A brief history of Eelpie Island hotel
BFI Film showing a journey down the Thames in 1935
Twickenham Museum
Richmond Walks
Molesey History

For information on the Thames Path visit Thames Path National Trail

Explore the local history of the Arcadian Thames at the Richmond Local Studies Library and Richmond Museum  both located at RichmondTown Hall close to RichmondBridge.

View the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames art collection at Orleans House and Gallery.  You can also visit the famous Octagon Room, designed by Gibbs in the 18th Century.

Investigate the history of the local Thames villages of Twickenham, Whitton, Teddington and the Hamptons at the Twickenham Museum , all of which have a rich history going back thousands of years.

Visit the largest urban nature reserves in the UK, the Royal Parks of RichmondPark and BushyPark offer amazing opportunities for watching wildlife, walking, cycling, horse riding and picnicing.

Why not take in a bit of retail therapy in the historic market town of Kingston upon Thames, one of the top ten centres for shopping in the UK.

For those that live locally or just want to try out some local produce there are several local markets including:

  • Fridays Barnes Country Market – Rose House, 70 Barnes High Street 10am-12noon
  • Sheen Friday Market – Sheen Lane Centre, 74 Sheen Lane 9am-1:30pm (first Friday of the month)
  • Saturdays Richmond Farmers’ Market – Heron Square 11am-3pm
  • Twickenham Farmers’ Market – Holly Road Car Park 9am-1pm
  • Chiswick Farmers’ Market – Dukes Meadow off AlexandraGardens 10am-2pm Sundays
  • WimbledonPark Farmers’ Market – WimbledonParkFirstSchool, Havana Road Saturdays 9am-1pm