River Thames: Facts and Information

River Thames Fact File

Length: 346 km (215 miles)

Source: Thames Head, Gloucestershire (England)

Mouth: Thames Estuary (North Sea)

Other Facts About The River Thames

  • The River Thames is the second longest river in the UK.
  • It is the most well-known of Britain’s rivers because it flows through central London. It also flows through (or really close by) some other important towns and cities in England, such as: Richmond, Kingston upon Thames, Windsor, Henley-on-Thames, Oxford and Reading.
  • The Thames is tidal when it flows through London.
  • More than 80 islands are contained in the River Thames. These include: the Isle of Sheppey, Canvey Island and Rose Isle.
  • The Celts referred to the Thames as Tamesas (or Tamesis), which meant ‘dark’.
  • About two thirds of London’s drinking water comes from the Thames.
  • The River Thames has several tributaries, including: the River Churn, Windrush, Cherwell, Thame, Loddon and Mole. Several rivers also join the Thames after it has become tidal. These include: the River Brent, Effra, Westbourne and Fleet.
  • The Thames becomes tidal below Teddington Lock. This is just over 50 miles from the Thames Estuary (and the river’s mouth).
  • The Thames is the home to many different types of creatures. Lots of birds can be found at different points along the course of the Thames from source to mouth (such as herons, moorhens, grebes, kingfishers and coots). The Thames supports lots of different fish species too, including: trout, chub, roach, pike and many more.
  • John Burns (a Battersea MP) famously described the Thames as ‘liquid history’. He meant that River Thames was responsible for supporting settlements upon its banks throught British history, from Neolithic times to today. The Thames has witnessed the birth of London and many of the key events in Britain’s history.
  • The Thames has been bridged more than 200 times and it has been tunneled under more than 15 times. Many of today’s bridges have been built on the site of much earlier crossing points.

The River Thames

Check out our other fact files on important rivers by clicking here or discover more London facts by visiting our London resources page.

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