Thames River - UK, England

The River Thames is 215 miles long (345km) and rises near Cirencester in Gloucestershire and flows eastward through Oxford, Reading, Windsor, London and enters the North Sea via the Thames Estuary. It is navigable by small boats from Lechlade in Gloucestershire to Teddington Lock for 123 miles This non-tidal section is divided into reaches by 45 locks. After Teddington it becomes tidal for 68 miles to the sea but is only navigable to large ocean-going ships as far upstream as the Pool of London and London Bridge. From the outskirts of Greater London, the river passes Hampton Court, Kingston, Teddington, Twickenham, Richmond, Kew before flowing through central London. Past central London, the river passes between Greenwich and the Isle of Dogs, before flowing through the Thames Barrier, and then passing Dartford, Tilbury and Gravesend before entering the Thames Estuary near Southend-on-Sea. The river has supported human life for thousands of years providing habitation, water power, food and drink. It has been a major highway for trade through the Port of London, along its length and through its connections to the British canal system. The river's strategic position has seen it at the centre of British history.