The tidal Thames is not well served for casual moorings - places where you can just moor up for a few hours or overnight are few and far between. It is recommended that when planning a trip onto the tideway you should arrange your moorings before setting out - contact numbers have been provided wherever possible.
Many boaters coming onto the River from the canal system will not stay overnight on the tidal part, instead making a dash between Teddington and Brentford, or the rather longer voyage down river to Limehouse basin. However with a little planning, longer stays can easily be organised.
Bear in mind that most of the marinas are entered via a lock which can only be opened at certain tide states. The tide window for each lock is indicated where appropriate. Tidal information is available from the WWW tide predictor.
Teddington is situated not far from Kingston and boasts, as well as beautiful parks and stretches of river, a long and chequered history stretching back to when it was first founded - as Todynton - hundreds of years ago.
Teddington is a name derived from the Anglo Saxons. The 'ton' element of the name means a settlement. The first element derives from Tuda's people.
Before Teddington Lock was constructed in 1811 the river was tidal as far as Kingston. The pound lock was an early attempt to control the high tides, which in the 19th century were around 10 feet above the level in Roman times. Today the tide flows up to Teddington but the half tide lock at Richmond prevents too strong a current and keeps the river level.
A number of flint and bone tools and weapons from the Mesolithic period (about 7000BC) have been found at Teddington. Neolithic (3000-4000BC) finds have been made in nearby Bushy Park.
It is in Teddington (at Teddington Lock to be precise) that the Thames ceases to be tidal. An obelisk 265 yards below the lock marks the boundary of the jurisdiction of the Port of London Authority and the Environment Agency. This area has for many years been a trendy, bustling area.
This is the oldest of the four. Various wooden bridges stood on or near this site since before Roman times but in 1176 a visionary cleric, Peter de Colechurch, decided to build a revolutionary stone structure.
Its 19 arches stretched 900 feet across the Thames and took 33 years to build. Although Peter de Colechurch died before he could see his vision turn into reality, his bridge stood for 655 years. It was demolished in 1831-2 to make way for a bridge designed by John Rennie the Elder which could cope better with the demands of the growing City and Victorian road traffic. That bridge stood for only 140 years until in 1971 it was sold to an American oil company. It now stands in Lake Havasu City, Arizona, while the wider, stronger London Bridge which replaced it still reaches across the Thames today. The current bridge was designed by Mott, Hay & Anderson with Lord Holford as architectural adviser.
An internationally-recognised landmark which to millions of tourists epitomises London, Tower Bridge was built between 1886 and 1894. Apart from the Millenium footbridge, it is the most recently constructed of the Corporation-owned bridges. Its initial design was by Horace Jones, with John Wolfe Barry as the engineer and George D Stevenson as his architectural assistant. It was opened by the Prince of Wales, later King Edward VII. In its heyday in Victorian times the bridge would open more than 6,000 times a year; now it opens for river traffic about 900 times a year.
During its construction Tower Bridge was known as the Wonder Bridge because, as well as being the largest, most sophisticated bascule bridge ever built, it also used hydraulic power on a scale never attempted before.
The steam-driven power system has since been replaced with a new electric and oil hydraulic system but the bridge remains a wonder to the half a million tourists who visit it every year.