The Classic Boat Festival 2019 at St Katharine Docks 6-8 September 2019

After the Summer I always feel a bit depressed and I need to find activities in London to beat the blues. I look forward to take my son to the Classic Boat Festival which is returning to St Katharine Docks from the 6-8th September from 11am – 6pm for its 11th and most impressive outing since its inception in 2008. It will be one of the highlights of Totally Thames 2019, a month-long celebration of the London’s iconic waterway and its rich history through a range of river-based events.

The festival will host an impressive display of beautiful classic boats, with plenty of activities for visitors and families to enjoy – such as a tour of the historic Lady Daphne or paddle-boarding in the Marina. What I look forward to the most is to climb on-board and explore around 40 vintage work boats and sailing and motor yachts including Dunkirk Little Ships and many others.

The incredibly popular food market at St Katharine Docks, KERB, will be there to keep everyone sated – and there will be plenty of live entertainment to enjoy.

St. Katharine Docks Classic Boat Festival. © Lucy Young 2017 

An oasis in the heart of London, St Katharine Docks provides the perfect setting for a journey through time admiring the festival’s historic vessels, chatting with their passionate owners and even climbing aboard. This year’s boats will include a significant proportion of the surviving ‘little ships’ which rescued 336,000 trapped Allied soldiers on the beaches at Dunkirk in 1940, as well as the Lady Daphne – one of the last wooden barges in Britain with a passenger license.

The Lady Daphne will offer festival-goers a unique chance to tour the river Thames and relive the days when such vessels dominated London’s trade, with the tour including a special raising of Tower Bridge as part of the journey.

The marina will also be awash with activities, including stand-up paddleboarding, SKD talks on the powerful stories of the classic boats and the colourful history of the docks, and MYO crafting workshops for adults. Children will have their own tent featuring treasure hunts, crafts and face-painting, and food will be supplied by KERB, one of most London’s most celebrated street-food brands.

Throughout the weekend there will be live music from the Sea Shanty Singers on the Saturday and the Thames Youth Jazz Orchestra on the Sunday.

Classic Boats Festival Programme

Over the course of the weekend:

  • Classic Boats: Climb on-board and explore around 40 vintage work boats and sailing and motor yachts including Dunkirk Little Ships and many others. 11am – 6pm daily, 6th-8th September in the Central Basin
  • Lady Daphne Tours on the Thames: a tour of the Thames unlike any other, going under Tower Bridge. Twice on the 6th and 3 times on the 7th and 8th September, book here
  • Marble Quay: featuring local and other organisations across London for family activities, KERB food market and live entertainment. 11am – 6pm daily, 6th-8th September
  • MYO (Make Your Own): Hosting free workshops including lino cutting, flag sewing and illustration. Two sessions a day, 7th and 8th September.
  • Paddle-boarding in the Marina: Paddleboarding London will provide free paddleboarding tasting sessions in the marina throughout the weekend, bookable at our welcome tent
  • SKD Talks Programme: plenty of talks to give insight into the history of the marina and the boats. Twice daily, 7th and 8th September.
  • Kids Tent and Activities: 11am – 6pm daily, 7th and 8th September.

More information here.

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