Illuminated River walk

A Central London evening stroll all about 14 lit Thames Bridges


This is a list of previous times this walk has been done by the club (since Jan 2010). For more recent events (since April 2015), full details are shown.

Date Option Post # Weather
Tue, 28-Nov-23 Evening Walk - Illuminated River: up to nine lit Thames Bridges (Tower Hill to Vauxhall or Battersea Power Station) 6 clear but cold night with near full moon
Fri, 22-Oct-21 Evening Walk - The Illuminated River: London Bridge to Lambeth Bridge along the North Bank, and back on the other side (if you wish) 11 dry but cold
Length: up to 9.1 km
Net Walking Time: up to 2 hours
Meet at 18.30 hours prompt outside Tower Hill Underground (Trinity Square Exit).
Transport: Tower Hill is served by District and Circle Lines, and has Tower Gateway DLR and Fenchurch Street Mainline Stations just around the corner. Vauxhall is served by the Victoria Line and by Mainline trains out of Waterloo. Battersea Power Station is the terminus of a branch of the Northern Line.
Late Start Points = Early Dropouts are aplenty: Monument/London Bridge, Cannon Street, Mansion House, Embankment/Charing X/Waterloo, Westminster, Vauxhall.
The aim of this walk is to see most if not all of the nine bridges participating in the Illuminated River Installation ( at least from distance, while avoiding road traffic and Christmas Markets as much as possible. Meet at Tower Hill, walk down to the Tower then the Thames, and – with views of Tower Bridge, the most easterly of the lit bridges – turn right upstream. Keep to the Northbank to Blackfriars Bridge and cross over to the Southbank. Continue past Southbank Centre and Festival Gardens (Christmas Market contamination) to Vauxhall (6 km into the walk).
Then walk on for another 3 km through the wilds of Nine Elms with its many diversions away from the Thames around assorted ‘Luxury’ developments all the way to the spanking new Power Station area with its tube station. Completists will want to initially bypass Battersea Power Station to dive under Chealsea Bridge for a gawp at the most westerly of the lit bridges: Albert Bridge, before returning to the tube station (or an establishment furnishing us with drinks and food).
Refreshments: Plenty en route and at the end. T=short.57
  • 29-Nov-23

    5 at the meeting point, plus 1 other met under London Bridge, ie 6 walkers on a clear but cold night with near full moon .

    We had picked a perfect night for this walk, as the various light installations on the bridges were clear to see from far out, so that at times three of them were in one framed view, initially accompanied by the Christmassy light show on the top section of the Shard, as well as the one on the Globe Theatre. The (relatively) newly opened part of the Thames Path around Queeenshithe was given the thumbs up, before Blackfriars Bridge was reached, where we switched over to the Southbank to avoid the road traffic.

    Fewer joggers here than north of the river, but more strollers, then the inevitable food and drink kiosks with seasonal offerings around The London Eye. We passed w/o buying anything.

    Instead, a little later we opted for a break at a pub just before Vauxhall and all 6 then walked on to Battersea PS. It seems that only the remaining Tideway sites stop the TP from following the river all the way, so sometime next year it should be completely unblocked one hopes.

    In Battersea, 4 went for a very nice meal at an Italian restaurant, while the 2 others went for a drink or two in the arches.

    Finest vistas: from the easterly end of the Southbank Centre/National Theatre stretch back to St. Paul's and the City, with the moon towering above; and two of the four chimneys of the PS with the moon above and inbetween them when we left the restaurant.

Length: 4.7 km one way, 10.0 km if returning to LBG; with plenty of mainline and tube stations as well as bus stops on route or just off route to cut it short

Meet at 18.30 on London Bridge’s southwest corner, outside The Barrowboy and Banker pub.

Exploration of The Illuminated River, a “long-term art installation transforming the Thames at night with an orchestrated series of light works that span nine bridges in central London. Its subtly moving sequences of LED light symbolically unify the Thames bridges, drawing inspiration from the spirit and history of the river and from the architectural and engineering heritage of its bridges.”

For a link to a sketched map of the route click here. T=short.57

  • 22-Oct-21

    10 at the meeting point (incl. 2 first timers), with 1 other joining on the other side of LBG, so 11 in dry but cold weather. The thinking behind walking along the Northbank was that because of the bend of the river, we'd see more of the lit bridges than from the Southbank (and so we did), and also that more of the buildings on the Southbank are purposefully lit, so best to admire them from across.

    That kind of worked well. Until you hit Blackfriars Bridge and the first of two Tideway sites means you have to walk along the other side of the busy Embankment road. Not THAT great a stretch, but then again - it's not that long either, before one is riverside again and there is a cycle super highway between footpath and road.

    The lit bridges themeselves are indeed quiet fascinating, in a quiet and unobtrusive way. With warmer temperatures, one would have been tempted to stand and watch for longer as they change colour slowly. Another time...

    At Lambeth Bridge, the first-timers walked back to Southwark, some walked on to their home in Pimlico, and 6 went for a drink at The Windmill in Lambeth High Street (the quietest High Street in London, perchance?). Afterwards, 2 walked to Vauxhall Station, 3 walked back to their homes in W1 and EC1, and 1 took a bus.