interesting facts about the river thames

Amazing and interesting facts about the river Thames

Many of Dicken’s novels based on the river Thames have often portrayed dark, stinking sludge and the scenes of many murders and crimes. Even today, it’s very much a landmark for many locals as well as tourists among other man-made structures in England. The River Thames has been a famous trade route and provided a livelihood for many early Londoners.

Here are some interesting facts about the river Thames:

  • The second largest river in England and runs for 216 Miles, which is about 346 km.
  • The river’s name may have originated from a Sanskrit word which means ‘dark’ as the water is black and looks gloomy. Some locals are of the purview that it is named after the Roman Tam which means ‘wide’ and Isis which means ‘water’.
  • Popular because it flows through the main towns and cities in England, such as Kingston upon Thames, Henley-on-Thames, Richmond, Windsor, Reading and Oxford.
  • Over 80 islands encompass the river Thames. A few include the Rose Isle, Isle of Sheppey and Canvey Island.
  • It was the venue for the filming of popular movies such as Indian Jones, Harry Potter and scenes from James Bond.
  • There are about 119 species of fish in the waters of the Thames and many other animals like birds.
  • Millions of artists and poets have featured the Thames in their paintings and inspirations.
  • There are over 40 major rowing clubs along the Thames.
  • There are over 200 bridges across the river, six ferry crossings, more than 25 tunnels and a cable car crossing.
  • The river becomes tidal in some areas and non-tidal in others. It becomes non-tidal from the source about a mile north of the Village of Kemble up to Teddington. It becomes tidal from that point until it flows into the Thames Estuary.
  • Two-thirds of London’s drinking water is from the river Thames.
  • Many sporting events are held, a popular being the ‘ Thames meander.’
  • There are almost 44 locks along the river Thames. The famous, World’s Poohsticks Championship at Day’s Lock held since 1984.
  • It was famously called the ‘great stink’, in 1858 where the stench of the sewage was so bad that Parliament was suspended. Therefore, in 1865, Sir Joseph Bazalgette developed London’s sewer system, which is in use, even today.

There are plenty more interesting facts, these are just a few, and as it has a long history!


To portray [pɔːˈtreɪ] an isle [aɪl]
to stink [stɪŋk] inspiration [ɪnspɪˈreɪʃ(ə)n]
sludge [ˈslʌdʒ] major [ˈmeɪdʒə]
a murder [ˈməːdə] rowing [ˈrəʊɪŋ]
a crime [krʌɪm] a ferry [ˈfɛri]
a route [ruːt] cable [ˈkeɪb(ə)l]
a livelihood [ˈlʌɪvlɪhʊd] tidal [ˈtʌɪd(ə)l]
to originate [əˈrɪdʒɪneɪt] a meander [mɪˈandə]
gloomy [ˈɡluːmi] a lock [lɒk]
purview [ˈpəːvjuː] a stench [stɛn(t)ʃ]
a Roman Tam [ˈrəʊmən tam] sewage [ˈsuːɪdʒ]
to encompass [ɪnˈkʌmpəs] a sewer [ˈsuːə]