The River Thames, which the lower reaches of flow through London, England is one of the best known rivers on the planet, it must surely be regarded as the cities greatest asset. It is a place that has supported human activity for thousands of years as a source of food, habitation, drink, power and water.
The Thames is the second longest river in the UK, of which only a small part actually runs through London. It is the longest river running entirely in England and is 215 miles long or if you prefer metric 346 km long. The longest river in the United Kingdom is actually the River Severn, which is 220 miles or 354 km long. The River Thames begins in the Cotswold Hills near a village called Kemble and spills out into the North Sea near Southend.
It is of course no coincidence that London was built next to the Thames, that was the whole reason for the city beginning life there. There are countless historic and iconic buildings built near to the banks of the river, including West Minister, St Pauls Cathedral, Greenwich Naval College, Tower of London and modern day structures such as the Millennium Dome and the London Eye.
River Thames Facts
1. The Thames is not only the oldest place name in London, but in the entire UK
2. The River Thames is 265 metres / 870 feet wide at London Bridge.
3. In Greater London there are a total of 34 bridges, which cross the Thames River, including road, rail and pedestrian.
4. The oldest Bridge across the Thames in London is London Bridge, which was originally made from wood. In 1209 it was replaced by a stone bridge with shops and houses along its sides. This was followed by a granite bridge in 1831, and the present concrete bridge in 1973.
5. The newest bridge across the river is The Millennium Bridge, which is a pedestrian bridge that was erected to connect the Tate Modern and St Pauls Cathedral. It was originally opened on the 10th of June 2000, but closed on the 12th of June, due to it wobbling like crazy. It was reopened on the 27th of February.
6. The River Thames has a charted depth of about 1.8 metres at London Bridge.
7. The Thames path which follows the river for 184 miles (296km) is the longest riverside walk in Europe.
8. The Thames River looks so brown because of five-metre tides, which means mud on the river bottom is continually being stirred up, giving the river the water its brown colour.
9. A baby Northern Bottlenose whale swam up the Thames to Chelsea in 2006, it was the first ever recorded sighting of that species in the Thames. It only survived for a few days.
10. Tower Bridge is the tallest bridge in London going across the Thames and stands at 61 meters (200 feet) in height and 244 metres (801 feet) in length.
The River Thames in London is a great place to go for a walk or a river cruise in order to enjoy the many amazing sights that this crazy city has to offer.