The Longest Rivers in Scotland

Measuring the length of rivers is always tricky and open to debate. Due to difficulties in determining exactly where one river stops and another begins, and deciding where a river ends and an estuary begins, not all longest river lists will be identical.

That said, most people would agree that Scotland’s longest river is the River Tay.

The Top 10 Longest Rivers in Scotland

(1) River Tay – 188 km (117 miles)

Rising in Ben Lui (Argyll and Bute) and flowing into the North Sea at the Firth of Tay, the River Tay is Scotland’s longest river and the seventh-longest river in Great Britain. It is also the largest river in the British Isles in terms of discharge.

Learn more about the River Tay.

(2) River Spey – 172 km (107 miles)

The River Spey rises in Loch Spey in the Scottish Highlands and flows into the Moray Firth at Spey Bay. It is the UK’s eighth-longest river, and it is Scotland’s fastest flowing river.

Learn more about the River Spey.

(3) River Clyde – 170 km (106 miles)

Rising in the Lowther Hills in South Lanarkshire, the River Clyde flows into the Firth of Clyde at Inverclyde in Argyll. The River Clyde runs through the city of Glasgow.

Learn more about the River Clyde.

(4) River Tweed – 156 km (97 miles)

The River Tweed flows along the border of Scotland and northern England. It rises at Tweed’s Well in Tweedsmuir, and it flows into the North Sea at Berwick-upon-Tweed.

Learn more about the River Tweed.

(5) River Dee – 140 km (87 miles)

Located in Aberdeenshire, the River Dee rises in the Wells of Dee (Cairngorms), and flows into the North Sea at Aberdeen.

Learn more about the River Dee.

(6) River Don – 131 km (81 miles)

The River Don rises in the Grampian Mountains at Ladder Hills, and it flows into the North Sea at Aberdeen at the Bridge of Don.

Learn more about the River Don.

(7) River Nith – 114 km (71 miles)

The River Nith’s source is located at Enoch Hill in the Carsphairn Hills (East Ayrshire), and it flows into the Solway Firth.

Learn more about the River Nith.

(8) River Teith – 113 km (70 miles)

The River Neith is formed in Callander (Stirlingshire) at the point where the River Leny and the Eas Gobhain join. It flows into the River Forth to the north-west of Stirling.

(9) River Findhorn – 100 km (62 miles)

Located in the north-east Scotland, the River Findhorn flows into the Moray Firth.

(10) River Deveron – 97 km (60miles)

The source of the River Deveron is in the Grampian Mountains at Ladder Hills. It flows into the Moray Firth at a point between the towns of Banff and Macduff.

The River Forth sometimes appears on lists of Scotland’s longest rivers. Officially, the river measures 47 km (29 miles), but some people add the length of the Firth of Forth to the River Forth’s length.

Learn more about rivers by visiting our Rivers resources page, or discover the longest river in the world, the longest river in Europe, or the longest river in the UK.

River Nith Facts

The River Nith is a river in south-west Scotland. Its source is located in East Ayrshire, between Prickeny Hill and Enoch Hill in the Carsphairn Hills. It slows into the Solway Firth at Airds Point.

Facts About the River Nith

  • The River Nith is 114 km (71 miles) long.
  • The valley it flows through is known as Nithsdale.
  • The River Nith has numerous tributaries, including Connel Burn, Kello Water, Euchan Water, Carron Water, Scar Water, Cluden Water, Cargen Pow, and New Abbey Pow.
  • The river flows through or by the villages of Carronbridge, Kirkconnel, Sanquhar, Mennock, Thornhill, and Glencaple, and the towns of Dumfries and New Cumnock.
  • The River Nith is Scotland’s seventh longest river.
  • The upper reaches of the River Nith have been diverted several times to allow coal deposits under the river to be mined.
  • The River Nith flows past Corsencon Hill. Situated in the east of the parish of New Cumnock, Corsencon Hill, and the River Nith are mentioned in the O, Were I On Parnassus Hill poem by Robert Burns.
  • One of the herons who lived on the banks of the River Nith in Dumfries was named Huffy the Heron. He became the subject of a poem by Susi Briggs.
  • Otters and kingfishers are often seen on the River Nith.
  • The A75 road crosses the River Nith three times.
  • Constructed in 1875, the Dumfries Suspension Bridge stretches over the River Nith. It is a pedestrian bridge, and it is known locally as the Children’s Bridge.
The Devorgilla's Bridge
The Devorgilla’s Bridge
  • The Devorgilla’s Bridge over the River Nith in Dumfries is one of Scotland’s oldest bridges still in use. Named after the woman who ordered its construction, Lady Devorgilla, the bridge was completed in around 1270. It was initially made from wood, but it was replaced by a stone structure in 1432, rebuilt again in 1621, and improved in 1794.

Visit our Rivers resources page, or learn more about some of the UK’s largest rivers.

River Witham Facts

The River Witham is an English river located almost entirely in the county of Lincolnshire. Its source is in South Witham, Lincolnshire, and it empties out into The Haven in Boston, Lincolnshire. It is 132 km (82 miles) in length.

Facts About the River Witham

  • The River Witham has been an important navigable river since the Iron Age, and the Romans used the River Witham as a means of accessing Lincoln.
  • The River Witham flows past or through several towns (such as Grantham and Boston), and the city of Lincoln.
  • The river flows into Brayford Pool in Lincoln, and from there it leaves via a narrow channel under High Bridge. High Bridge is the oldest UK bridge with buildings built on top of it. It was built in the 12th century.
High Bridge in Lincoln (late 19th Century)
High Bridge in Lincoln (late 19th Century)
  • The meaning of the name Witham is unknown, although historians believe it is an exceedingly old word, perhaps even pre-dating the Celts.
  • The Witham Shield, a 4th-century decorative bronze shield, was discovered in the River Witham in 1826.
  • The Grand Sluice was constructed in 1766 to control the waters of the River Witham. It separated the tidal Haven from Witham, and incorporated a lock to secure river navigation. The Grand Sluice prevented regular flooding between Boston and Lincoln, and it allowed thousands of acres of farmland to be reclaimed.
  • Some of its tributaries include River Brant, River Bain, Honington Beck, Barlings Eau, Grantham Canal, Nocton Drain, Bucknall Beck, and Catchwater Drain.
  • The River Witham’s drainage basin is more than 3800 square kilometres.
  • The Fiskerton Log Boat is an Iron Age boat discovered on the banks of the River Witham during a 2001 archaeological excavation near Fiskerton. More than 6 metres in length, the boat was made from a single tree trunk. It is thought that it was deliberately sunk as some form of ceremonial offering.
  • The first mile of the River Witham’s course is located in Leicestershire.
  • The River Witham Sword is a double-edged Medieval sword recovered from the River Witham in 1825. It is believed to have been manufactured in Germany in the late 13th century.
  • According to fishbrain.com, the most commonly-caught fish in the River Witham are perch, roach, dace, pike and rudd. People have also caught chub and tench in the waters of the Witham.

Visit our Rivers resources page to learn more facts about the rivers of the world.

River Eden Facts

Located entirely in Cumbria, England, the River Eden’s source is in Black Fell Moss in Mallerstang in the Yorkshire Dales. It is approximately 145 km (90 miles) long, and it empties out into the Solway Firth.

The River Eden in the Late 1800s
The River Eden in the Late 1800s

Facts About the River Eden

  • In its upper course, the River Eden is known as the Red Gill Beck and then Hell Gill Beck.
  • The River Eden flows through Appleby-in-Westmorland, Kirkby Stephen, and Wetheral.
  • Some of its tributaries include the River Caldew, River Petteril, River Eamont, and River Irthing.
  • The River Eden forms Inglewood Forest’s eastern border.
  • It flows very close to Long Meg and Her Daughters, a Neolithic stone circle located to the north of Penrith.
  • In Wetheral, the River Eden is crossed by Corby Bridge, an 1830s railway viaduct.
The River Eden at Wetheral
The River Eden at Wetheral
  • Hadrian’s Wall crosses the River Eden at its junction with the River Caldew in north Carlisle.
  • The River Eden is home to lots of wildlife, including Atlantic salmon, otters, brown trout, grayling, chub, dace, eel, perch, pike, roach, river lamprey, sea lamprey brook lamprey, bullhead, and white-clawed crayfish.
  • Its name is not related to the Garden of Eden from the Bible. It is thought to derive from the Celtic word ituna.
  • The river flows in a northely direction.
  • The famous Settle to Carlisle railway follows the direction of the river for much of its course.
  • The Eden Benchmarks are a collection of ten sculptures located in the Eden Valley. They were commissioned by the East Cumbria Countryside Project.
  • The Bailey Bridge built over the River Eden in 1968 was meant to be a temporary replacement for the former bridge washed away by floodwaters. It is now one of the longest-lasting temporary bridges in the world.
  • The River Eden Catchment has an area of approximately 2500 square kilometres.
  • There are more than 180 plant species linked to the River Eden. This is more than any other of Britain’s rivers.
  • The town of Eden takes its name from the river.

Visit our Rivers resources page, or discover more about the longest rivers in the UK.

River Stour Facts

The River Stour is an East Anglian river forming most of the boundary between the counties of Suffolk and Essex. It is 76 km long (47 miles), and it flows through parts of Cambridgeshire and Suffolk, before reaching the North Sea at Harwich in Essex.

The River Stour at Dedham
The River Stour at Dedham

Facts About the River Stour

  • The River Stour’s source is located at Wratting Common, West Wickham in Cambridgeshire.
  • It flows through several towns and villages, including Haverhill, Sudbury, Dedham, Manningtree, and Harwich.
  • The eastern stretches of the River Stour are known as the Dedham Vale. About 11.5 miles in length, the Dedham Vale has been officially categorised as an Area of Oustanding Natural Beauty.
  • Several famous artists have been inspired by the River Stour. The river and the Stour river valley has features in works of art by Cedric Morris, John Nash, Alfred Munnings, Thomas Gainsborough and John Constable.
  • The River Stour Trust has restored locks at Stratford St Mary, Dedham, Flatford and Great Cornard.
  • From the early part of the 18th century until the 1930s, Stour Lighters (barges) operated on the River Stour. Pulled by a horse, these boats transported a wide array of goods and cargo, including oil, soap, iron, coal, flour, straw, nails, sugar, paper, apples, bricks, malt and animal hides.
  • According to the Inland Waterways Association, approximately 25 miles of the River Stour is navigable. Powered craft are only permitted to use the Stour between Sudbury and Henny.
  • Located in East Bergholt, Suffolk, Flatford Mill is a watermill on the River Stour. It was built in 1733 and it was once owned by the artist John Constable’s father. Flatford Mill is the title of one of Constable’s most famous paintings, and it is the subject of several other notable Constable works.
Flatford Mill by John Constable
Flatford Mill by John Constable
  • Several other rivers in the UK are called the Stour. For example, there is a Stour in Dorset, and one in Kent.
  • The River Stour is home to many species of fish, including roach, dace, chub, pike and perch.
  • Artefacts indicate that the land surrounding the Stour was populated from around 5000 years ago.
  • The River Stour’s main tributaries are the River Glem, Chad Brook, the River Brett, and the River Box.
  • The last 12 miles of the River Stour are tidal.
  • There is no consensus as to how the name Stour should be pronounced. People from West Suffolk say it so that it rhymes with ‘tower’, whereas those from East Suffolk make it rhyme with ‘tour’.
  • The Anglo-Saxons used the River Stour to power numerous watermills along its course. According to the Domesday Book (1068), most settlements along the banks of the Stour had at least one working mill.
  • In 2019, due to low rainfall and blockages, parts of the River Stour ran dry. Water from boreholes had to be pumped into the river channel to improve the river’s water levels.
  • The village of Bures is divided by the River Stour. Bures Hamlet is in the county of Essex, and Bures St Mary is in Suffolk.
  • The Stour Estuary is popular among birdwatchers. It is home to wading birds, ducks and geese.

Visit our Rivers resources page, or learn more about the longest rivers in the UK.

River Bann Facts

The River Bann is one of Northern Ireland’s longest rivers. It measures just under 130 km (approximately 80 miles) from source to mouth. If you include Lough Neagh, the River Bann is 159 km in length. The river flows from the southeast of Northern Ireland to the northwest of the country.

Facts About the River Bann

  • The source of the River Bann is Slieve Muck in the Mourne Mountains in County Down.
  • The Bann is divided into two parts. The Upper Bann flows from the river’s source into Lough Neagh, and the Lower Bann flows from Lough Neagh into the Atlantic Ocean at Portstewart.
  • Some of the River Bann’s tributaries include the River Clady, the Knockoneil River, the Agivey River and the Ballymoney River.
  • The Lower Bann is the only outlet for Lough Neagh.
  • There are several bridges across the River Dann including the Portadown Bridge, the Portglenone Bridge, the Agivey Bridge and the Coleraine Bridge.
  • The River Bann is home to both salmon and eel fisheries.
  • Traditionally, the River Bann has been seen as a divide between the eastern and western portions of Northern Ireland.
  • The name Bann is possibly derived from the Irish word for goddess, or it could be related to the Irish Gaelic ‘Bhan Abha’ – White River.
  • Historically, the River Bann was an important waterway for the linen, whiskey and coal industries.
  • Lots of fish species live in the waters of the River Bann, including Atlantic salmon, brown trout eel and sea lamprey.
  • The River Bann estuary is known as Barmouth, and it is now a nature reserve managed by the National Trust.
  • The River Bann flows through or by numerous towns and villages, including Portrush, Castlerock, Banbridge, Paortadown and Tandragee.
  • In Autumn and Winter, the Drowmore Lowlands to the south of Lough Neagh often flood.
  • Some scenes from the Game of Thrones TV series were filmed close to Lough Neagh.
  • A commercial port still operates at Coleraine, and it is used by ships from Londonderry and Belfast to transfer scrap metal and coal.
  • The Newry canal connects the River Bann to the Irish Sea at Portdown, but this waterway is no longer navigable.
  • At Toome Bay human artifacts were discovered by archaeologists and found to be approximately 9000 years old.
  • The River Bann bisects the counties of Derry, Down, Armagh and Antrim.
  • Seals can be seen in the River Bann close to Barmouth.
  • Lots of pleasure boats use the Lower Bann, and there are several organised boat tours, including one going from Newferry to Church Island, and another that takes passengers from Portglenone Marina to Newferry and back again.

Visit our Rivers resources page, or discover more about some of the other longest rivers in the UK.

The Deepest Rivers in the World

Comparing the depths of rivers is not simple. Some rivers are very deep in only a few places and much shallower along the rest of their course, some have huge seasonal variations in their depths, and the depths of others can vary dramatically from year to year.

Despite these difficulties, there is little debate that the Congo in Africa is the deepest river in the world (in terms of the depth of its water measured from the surface down to the river bed).

(1) Congo – 219 metres (720 feet)

In addition to being the deepest river in the world, the Congo is also the world’s second-largest river in terms of its discharge volume, and the second-largest river in Africa.

Learn more about the Congo.

(2) Yangtze – 200 metres (656 feet)

The Yangtze is Asia’s longest river, and it is the third-longest river in the world.

Learn more about the Yangtze

(3) Danube – 178 metres (584 feet)

The Danube is the second-longest river in Europe, and it flows through much of the central and eastern portions of the continent. The Danube either borders or flows through the countries of Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Romania, Moldova, and Ukraine.

Learn more about the Danube.

(4) Ottawa – 172 metres (565 feet) at the town of Deep River

Located in Canada, the Ottawa River is 1271 km (790 miles) in length, and it flows in the St Lawrence River (see below). At the town of Deep River, the Ottawa is said to reach a depth of 123 metres (402 feet). At Moose Bay, the Ottawa River is 172 metres (565 feet) deep.

(5) Brahmaputra – 134 metres (440 feet)

The Brahmaputra flows through China, India, and Bangladesh. Although it has an average depth of approximately 30 metres (100 feet), at the town of Sadiya, it is 135 metres (440 feet) deep.

The Brahmaputra flows into the Ganges.

(6) Zambezi – 116 metres (381 feet)

The Zambezi is Africa’s fourth-longest river, and it is the continent’s longest east-flowing river. At Lake Kariba, the Zambezi has a maximum depth of 116 metres (381 feet).

Learn more about the Zambezi.

(7) Amazon – 100 metres (328 feet)

Located in South America, the Amazon is the largest river in the world in terms of discharge volume. Its average depth is calculated to be between 20 metres to 50 metres, but at certain points, it can be as deep as 100 metres (328 feet).

Learn more about the Amazon.

(8) Orinoco – 100 metres (328 feet)

The Orinoco flows through Venezuela and Colombia. It is the world’s fourth-largest river in terms of discharge volume. During the rainy season, the Orinoco can become approximately 100 metres (328 feet) in places.

(9) Mekong – 100 metres (328 feet)

Located in Asia, the Mekong flows through parts of China, Mayanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam.

Learn more about the Mekong.

(10) Yellow River – 80 metres (262 feet)

China’s second-longest river, the Yellow River flows from the Bayan Har Mountains into the Bohai Sea.

Learn more about the Yellow River.

(11) St Lawrence – 76 metres (250 feet)

Located in North America, the St Lawrence River flows from Lake Ontario into the Gulf of St Lawrence (Atlantic Ocean).

(10) Hudson – 66 metres (216 feet)

Located in the US, the Hudson River flows mainly through eastern New York. It is 315 miles in length.

At World’s End near Garrison, the Hudon River is at its deepest (66 metres or 216 feet), although it must be noted that the lower course of the river is a tidal estuary, and here the Hudson is more like a Norwegian fjord than a river.

Where to next? Learn about the Longest Rivers in the World, or visit our Rivers resources page.

The Longest Rivers in Europe

Most of Europe’s longest rivers are located in Russia. This is because Russia has an area of more than 17 million square km. The Volga is by far the longest river in Europe, and several of the other rivers in the top twenty are tributaries of the Volga.

The Top Twenty Longest Rivers in Europe

(1) Volga – 3531 km (2194 miles)

The Volga flows through Central Russia and empties out into the Caspian Sea. It is Europe’s longest river and also Europe’s largest river in terms of discharge. It also has the largest drainage basin of any of Europe’s rivers.

Learn more about the Volga.

(2) Danube – 2860 km (1780 miles)

The Danube flows through much of Central and Southeast Europe. Its course includes parts of or borders with Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Romania, Moldova, and Ukraine. It empties into the Black Sea.

Learn more about the Danube.

(3) Ural – 2428 km (1509 miles)

The Ural flows through Russia and Kazakhstan, and it forms a border between Europe and Asia. Its source is in the Ural Mountains, and its mouth is the Caspian Sea. Although it is the third-largest river in Europe, it is only the eighteenth-largest in Asia.

Learn more about the Ural.

(4) Dnieper – 2201 km (1368 miles)

The Dnieper (or Dnipro) flows through Russia, Belarus, and Ukraine. It drains into the Black Sea. Its source is located in Russia’s Valdai Hills.

(5) Don – 1870 km (1160 miles)

Located in Russia, the Don flows from Central Russia to the Sea of Azov (connected to the Black Sea). Its source is in Novomoskovsk, Russia.

(6) Pechora – 1809 km (1124 miles)

The Pechora’s course takes it from Northwest Russia to the Arctic Ocean. Its source is located in the Ural Mountains, and it has a drainage basin about the same size as the country of Finland.

(7) Kama – 1805 km (1122 miles)

The Kama is the longest tributary of the Volga (see above), and it is located in Russia. Its source is in Russia’s Udmurtia region, and it joins the Volga in the Republic of Tatarstan.

(8) Oka – 1500 km (930 miles)

The Oka is another of the Volga’s tributaries. Its source is located in Oryol Oblast, and it flows into the Volga in Nizhny Novgorod. The Russian capital, Moscow, is located on the Moskva, one of the Oka’s tributaries.

(9) Belaya – 1430 km (890 miles)

A tributary of the Kama (see above), the Belaya is located in Russia. Its source is Iremel a mountain in the Southern Ural Mountains, and it joins the Kama near Neftekamsk.

(10) Dniester – 1362 km (846 miles)

The Dniester flows through Ukraine and Moldova. Its source is in Eastern Beskids in Ukraine, and it flows into the Black Sea at Odessa Oblast. Its course marks part of the border between Ukraine and Moldova.

(11) Rhine – 1236 km (768 miles)

The Rhine is Central and Westrn Europe’s second-longest river. From its source in Switzerland it flows through Liechtenstein, Austria, Germany, France, and the Netherlands.

It flows into the North Sea.

Learn more about the Rhine.

(12) Desna – 1130 km (700 miles)

Flowing through Russia and Ukraine, The Desna is a tributary of the Dnieper (see above). Its source is in the Smolensk Heights in russia, and it joins the Dnieper in Ukraine near Kyiv.

(13) Elbe – 1091 km (678 miles)

The Elbe flows through the Czech Republic and Germany. Its source is located in the Giant Mountains in the north of the Czech Repubic, and it flows into the North Sea at Cuxhaven in Geermany.

(14) Donets – 1053 km (654 miles)

The Donets, a tributary of the Don (see above), flows through Russia and Ukraine. Its source is in Belgoros Oblast, Russia, and it joins the Don in Rostov Oblast.

(15) Vistula – 1047 km (651 miles)

The Vistula is the longest river in Poland. Its source is located in the Silesian Beskids mountain range,a nd it flows into the Baltic Sea at Mikoszewo.

(16) Tagus – 1038 km (645 miles)

The Tagus is the Iberian Peninsula’s longest river. It flows through Spain and Portugal. It source in in Spain’s Montes Universales mountain range, and it drains into the Atlantic Ocean near the city of Lisbon in Portugal.

(17) Daugava – 1020 km (630 miles)

The Daugava fows through Russia, Latvia and Belarus. Its source is in Russia’s Valdai Hills, and it drains into the Gulf of Riga (Baltic Sea).

(18) Loire – 1012 km (629 miles)

The Loire is France’s longest river. Its source is located in the Massif Central, and it flows into the Atlantic Ocean at Saint-Nazire. The Loire Valley is often called the Garden of France.

(19) Tisza – 966 km (600 miles)

The Tisza is a tributary of the Danube (see above). Its source is located in the Eastern Carpathians in Ukraine. It flows through parts of Romania, Hungary, Slovakia, and Serbia before joining the Danube near Novi Sad (Serbia).

(20) Mezen – 957 km (533 miles)

Located in Russia, the Mezen’s source is in the Timan Ridge in the Ural Mountains, and the it flows into the White Sea at Mezen Bay.

Discover more about rivers by visiting out Rivers resources page.

The Longest Rivers in Africa

The world’s longest river (the Nile) is located in Africa, as is the world’s deepest river (the Congo). In addition to these two record-breaking rivers, the continent is also home to many other major rivers, many of which have lengths exceeding 2000 km.

The Top 20 Longest Rivers in Africa

(1) Nile – 6650 km (4130 miles)

Still believed to be the longest river in the world (although some think this title should belong to the Amazon River), the Nile flows through Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia, Uganda, Congo, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, and Burundi. It empties out into the Nile Delta (Mediterranean Sea).

Learn more about the Nile.

(2) Congo – 4700 km (2900 miles)

The Congo River used to be called the Zaire River. It is the world’s second-largest river in terms of discharge volume. It is also the deepest river in the world. The Congo flows into the Atlantic Ocean.

Learn more about the Congo.

(3) Niger – 4184 km (2600 miles)

The River Niger is West Africa’s main river. It flows through Benin, Guinea, Mali, Niger, and Nigeria, and it empties out into the Atlantic Ocean in the Gulf of Guinea. It is also known as the Fula, the Zarma, the Nupe, and the Igbo.

Learn more about the Niger.

(4) Zambezi – 2574 km (1599 miles)

The Zambezi River is the longest east-flowing river in Africa. It flows through Zambia, Angola, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe. and Mozambique. It empties out into the Indian Ocean.

Learn more about the Zambezi.

(5) The White Nile – 3700 km (2300 miles)

Along with the Blue Nile (see below), the White Nile is one of the key tributaries of the Nile (see above). Its name refers to the white colour of its water caused by clay deposits.

If the headwaters of Lake Victoria are attributed to the White Nile, the river has a length of 3700 km.

(6) Orange River – 2432 km (1511miles)

The Orange River is South Africa’s longest river. It flows through Lesotho, South Africa, and Namibia, and it flows into Alexander Bay (Atlantic Ocean). It is named after the Dutch ruling family, the House of Orange.

(7) Ubangi-Uele – 2270 km (1410 miles)

The confluence of the Uele River and the Mbomou River marks the beginning of the Ubangi River. The combined length of the Ubangi-Uele is 2270 km, and it flows into the Congo River (see above).

(8) Kasai – 2153 km (1338 miles)

Like the Ubangi-Uele River (above), the Kasai River is also a tributary of the Congo River (also above). The Kasia basin is mostly made up of rainforest, and the river flows through Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

(9) Shebelle / Jubba – 1820 km (1130 miles)

The length of the River Shebelle (also known as the Shebeli River) varies depending on whether it is a wet or dry year. During periods of peak rainfall, it joins the Jubba River and flows into the Indian Ocean. When rainfall is scarce, the Shebelle doesn’t reach the Jubba, and it disappears into marshland and a series of sand flats to the northeast of the Jubba. It flows through Ethiopia and Somalia.

(10) Kwango – 1800 km (1100 miles)

Also known as the Cuango, the Kwango River is the largest left-bank tributary of the Kasai River (see above). It flows through the countries of Angola and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

(11) Limpopo – 1750 km (1090 miles)

The Limpopo River flows east from South Africa, through Botswana and Zimbabwe before emptying into the Indian Ocean (Gaza Province, Mozambique).

(12) Okavango – 1700 km (1100 miles)

The Okavango River is located in southwest Africa. It flows through Anglo, Namibia, and Botswana. It doesn’t empty out into the sea, instead, its mouth is the Okavango Delta, an inland delta located in the Kalahari Desert.

(13) Volta – 1500 km (930 miles)

The Volta River is Ghana’s major river. It flows into Ghana from Burkina Faso. It empties out into the Gulf of Guinea (Atlantic Ocean).

(14) Vaal – 1458 km (906 miles)

Located in South Africa, the Vaal River is the Orange River’s largest tributary. Its source is near Breyten in the province of Mpumalanga. It is South Africa’s third-longest river (after the Orange River and the Limpopo River.

(15) Blue Nile – 1450 km (900 miles)

The Blue Nile is one of the Nile’s major tributaries. It flows through Ethiopia and Sudan and merges with the White Nile to form a main branch of the Nile River at Khartoum in Sudan.

(16) Benue – 1400 km (870 miles)

The Benue River is a tributary of the Niger River (see above). It flows through Cameroon and Nigeria, and during the summer months, nearly its whole length is navigable. I used to be called the Chadda River.

(17) Lomami – 1280 km (800 miles)

Located in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Lomami River is a tributary of the Congo River (see above). Its source is in the south of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and it joins the Congo River at Isangi.

(18) Sankuru – 1200 km (756 miles)

Located in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Sankuru River is a major tributary of the Kasia River (see above). It is known as the Lubilash River above the point of confluence with the Mbuji-Mayi River.

(19) Draa – 1100 km (684 miles)

The Draa (also known as the Dra, the Darha, or the Dara), is Morocco’s longest river. It flows from the Atlas Mountains to the Atlantic Ocean. Most of the year, the course of the river downstream of Tagounite runs dry.

(20) Senegal – 1086 km (675 miles)

Located in West Africa, much of the border between Senegal and Mauritania is marked by the course of the River Senegal. It also flows through Mali, before emptying out into the Atlantic Ocean.

Visit our Rivers page to learn more about other record-breaking rivers.

The Longest Rivers in the UK

Although the rivers below are the longest in the United Kingdom, they are not close to being the longest rivers in the world (the Nile has a length of over 4000 miles). Nor are they among the longest rivers in Europe (the Volga is more than 2000 miles long).

The length of a river is measured by calculating the distance between the river’s source and its mouth.

The Top 20 Longest Rivers in the UK

(1) River Severn – 354 km (220 miles)

Not only is the River Severn UK’s longest river, but it is also the biggest in terms of its flow volume. Its source is in Plynlimon, Wales and it flows into the Severn Estuary (Bristol Channel). Its course takes it through the counties of Powys, Shropshire, Worcestershire, and Gloucestershire.

Learn more about the River Severn.

(2) River Thames – 346 km (215 miles)

The River Thames is England’s longest river, and it flows into the Thames Estuary (North Sea). Its course takes it through the counties of Gloucestershire, Wiltshire, Oxfordshire, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Surrey, Greater London, Kent, and Essex.

Learn more about the River Thames.

(3) River Trent – 297 km (185 miles)

The River Trent flows through the counties of Staffordshire, Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire, and Yorkshire. Its mouth is the Humber Estuary. It often floods following heavy storms.

Learn more about the River Trent.

(4) River Wye – 250 km (155 miles)

For much of its course, the River Wye forms the boundary between England and Wales. Its source is in Plynlimon, Wales, and it flows into the Severn Estuary.

Learn more about the River Wye.

(5) River Great Ouse – 230 km (143 miles)

There are several rivers in the UK named the Ouse, but the River Great Ouse is the longest of them. It flows through the counties of Buckinghamshire, Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, and Norfolk, and it empties out into The Wash.

Learn more about the River Great Ouse.

(6) River Ure / River Ouse – 208 km (129 miles)

Located in North Yorkshire, the River Ure flows for 119 km through Wensleydale before it is named the River Ouse. The River Ure / River Ouse is the longest river to flow in just one county (Yorkshire), and it empties out into the Humber Estuary.

(7) River Tay – 188 km (117 miles)

The River Tay is the longest river in Scotland. Its source is Allt Coire Laoigh and it flows into the Firth of Tay (North Sea). Its drainage basin is about 5200 square km, making it the largest one of all of the UK’s rivers.

Learn more about the River Tay.

(8) River Clyde – 176 km (109 miles)

The River Clyde flows through the Scottish city of Glasgow. Its source is in the Lowther Hills in South Lanarkshire, and it empties into the Firth of Clyde.

Learn more about the River Clyde.

(9) River Spey – 172 km (107 miles)

The River Spey is Scotland’s fastest flowing river. Its source is Loch Spey, and it flows into the Moray Firth.

Learn more about the River Spey.

(10) River Nene – 161 km (100 miles)

The River Nene flows through the counties of Northamptonshire, Cambridgeshire, Lincolnshire. and Norfolk. Part of its course marks some of the border between Cambridge and Norfolk. It empties out into The Wash.

Learn more about the River Nene.

(11) River Bann / Lough Neagh – 159 km (99 miles)

The combined length of Northern Ireland’s Upper Bann, Lower Bann, and Lough Neagh is 159 km. Its source is in Slieve Muck, County Down, and it empties into the Atlantic Ocean at Portstewart.

Learn more about the River Bann.

(12) River Tweed – 155 km (96 miles)

The River Tweed is sometimes referred to as Tweed Water. It is located in Scotland and flows into the North Sea at Berwick-upon-Tweed. It is one of the best salmon rivers in the UK.

(13) River Avon – 154 km (96 miles)

The River Avon is one of the River Severn’s main tributaries. It flows through the counties of Northamptonshire, Leicestershire, Warwickshire, Worcestershire, and Gloucestershire. It joins the River Severn at Tewkesbury.

Learn more about the River Avon.

(14) River Eden – 145 km (90 miles)

Located in Cumbria, the River Eden’s source is at Black Fell Moss, Mallerstang, and it flows into the Solway Firth. It is crossed by Hadrian’s Wall.

Learn more about the River Eden.

(15) River Dee – 140 km (87 miles)

Located in Aberdeenshire in Scotland, the River Dee flows into the North Sea at Aberdeen. Its course takes it through Royal Deeside, the location of the Royal residence, Balmoral Castle.

Learn more about the River Dee.

(16) River Witham – 132 km (82 miles)

The majority of River Witham’s course is in the county of Lincolnshire. It flows through the town of Grantham, and the city of Lincoln, and empties out into the Haven (in Boston, Lincolnshire).

Learn more about the River Witham.

(17) River Teme – 130 km (81 miles)

The River Teme’s source is in Dolfor (Wales), and it flows through the counties of Powys, Shropshire, Herefordshire, and Worcestershire. It empties out into the River Severn at Powick in Worcestershire.

Learn more about the River Teme.

(18) River Don – 129 km (80 miles)

Located in north-east Scotland, the River Don flows through Aberdeenshire into the North Sea. Its source is in the Grampian Mountains.

(19) River Foyle – 129 km (80 miles)

The River Foyle is formed when the River Finn and the River Mourne combine, and it flows into Lough Foyle. Its course takes it through the counties of Donegal, Tyrone, and Londonderry.

Learn more about the River Foyle.

(20) River Usk – 125 km (78 miles)

Located in Wales, with a source in Fan Brycheiniog, Powys, the River Usk flows through the counties of Powys, Carmarthenshire, Monmouthshire, and Newport. It empties into the Bristol Channel.

Learn more about the River Usk.

Discover more river facts and learn more about other record-breaking rivers by visiting our rivers resources page.