Films, Talks & Tours

Chiswick Pier Trust Events

‘Through the porthole – the pleasures, perils and pitfalls of houseboat living on the Thames’:  a double-bill presentation from Chiswick Pier Trust and the River Thames Society

Over a thousand people live afloat on the Thames between Teddington Lock and the Thames Barrier.  To the outsider, these floating villages look like an idyllic and affordable alternative to the over-heated London housing market.  Whilst the great views of the river, the sense of community and the closeness of nature are genuine, it’s not always plain sailing.  This double bill, presented as part of TideFest 2017, gives a more realistic view of life on the Thames, including the complicated and unregulated process of buying a houseboat.

1:45pm: ‘Life Afloat’ – Film on the Pleasures and Perils of Houseboat-living on the tidal Thames

Life Afloat is a 55 minute film which delves into the stories of house boat residents and challenges the romantic view of life afloat.  Residents interviewed for the film include actor Imogen Stubbs, who likens living on a boat to ‘living in a whale or a womb’, and artist Denis Postle who describes the experience as ‘like living inside a cello or a double bass’.  The film looks at how tidal life for these communities has changed throughout the decades. Originally a pursuit for bohemians and those with little income, changes have taken place alongside those of London house prices and river-side property development.  The film reflects on these changes and the impact it will have on the future of these floating communities.

Registration and refreshments from 1:30pm.

“Houseboat living” on the thames

3:00pm: ‘Buying a Houseboat on the Thames –  Understanding the Risks and Pitfalls’ – Talk from  Hilary Pereira of the River Thames Society

Buying a houseboat on the Thames is a high-risk venture in an increasingly expensive yet unregulated market. There are many questions to consider and speaker will guide the audience through these, including the differences from buying a flat and provide an illustrated guide to the various pitfalls that can catch out unwary buyers.  Hilary has lived afloat for many years, initially on the canals, but, for the last 40 years, on the Thames where she has also brought up two children on board.  This is a unique opportunity to hear from an experienced Houseboat resident and owner.

Time:   1:30 – 4:00pm

Venue: Pier House, Chiswick Pier Trust, Corney Reach Estate, Chiswick, London W4 2UG

Admission: £3 per event or £5 for both. (no charge for pensioners or under 16s)

Free to Chiswick Pier Trust and River Thames Society members

Hilary Pereira, Houseboat expert.

A Plastic Ocean Film Showing

Plastic Oceans Festival – Two 90 minute environmental films to be shown at the One Over the Ait

There will be a special screening of “A Plastic Ocean” as part of Tidefest 2017. It’s a new adventure documentary that brings to light the consequences of our global disposable lifestyle. An international team go on a mission around the globe to uncover the shocking truth about what is lurking beneath the surface of our seemingly pristine seas.

Watch the trailer below.

Screenings: 3pm 

Venue: One Over the Ait, Kew Bridge Piazza (upstairs)

Admission:  Free Please book in advance for free tickets HERE

Oliver’s Island Adventure

 Come on a visit to this special place on the Thames – Oliver’s island at Strand on the Green – and hear about the long history and its current environmental importance. With kind permission of the PLA, who own the island, we are able to offer places for a limited number of visitors to this normally ‘out of bounds’ site for a series of archaeologist-led tours by Dr Fiona Haughey.

Access to the island is courtesy of the London Kayak Company Ltd whose volunteers will check off each group before they access the kayaks and make sure each member has a lifejacket.

For those aged over 16 only. Please wear trainers or similar and lifejackets will be provided.

Times: 10am, 10.30am, 11am, 11.30am, 12 noon. ( 5 groups of 6 )

Venue: Strand on the Green Sailing Club, under Kew Rail Bridge (between City Barge and Bull’s Head pubs)

Cost: £5 per person

Oliver’s Island

Lots Ait Boatyard Tour – Brentford

 Come and discover Brentford’s best kept secret and learn about the importance of this small island on the Thames. Lots Ait is home to John’s Boat Works, the Two-Lipped Door Snail and a thriving community of boat dwellers. It was also a key location for the film ‘The African Queen’. Meet John and a former apprentice from the original boat yard and hear about Lots Ait’s amazing boat building history. View the ‘Back to the Future’ exhibition curated by Wendy Kloos and learn about its historic past and discover the natural environment of this small island and its wild inhabitants with archaeologists Dr Fiona Haughey and Ynys Crowston-Boaler.

Suitable for accompanied children over 12 yrs.

Venue: Meet at Goat Wharf  (by the gate on 10mins beforehand) adjacent to 41 High Street, Brentford, TW8 0BB

Times: Tours are at 2pm, 3pm, 4pm and 5pm for groups of up to 20 persons.

Cost: £3 per person

Lot’s Ait Boatyard

TideFest Discounts at London Museum of Water & Steam

London Museum of Water & Steam is home to magnificent collection of steam pumping engines and tells the history of London’s water supply. This great little museum by Kew Bridge is offering a special TideFest package where all kids under 15 yrs get in free of charge and adults receive a special £8.00 rate, instead of £11.50, by quoting Tidefest or presenting a Tidefest programme. The discount is valid on the day or afterwards with a programme.

Venue: Green Dragon Lane, Brentford, TW8 0EN

Times: 11am to 4pm

Cost: £8 adults, kids under 15 free

Contact: 020 8568 4757 or

Cost: £10 per person

London Museum of Water & Steam is home to magnificent collection of steam pumping engines.

Lea Navigation Reedbed Boat Tours

Thames21’s “Love the Lea” Programme has been working to improve the River Lea for the last five years, to provide habitats for wildlife and improve the water quality of the river they have been putting in new reedbeds into the Lea Navigation. Join them on board the ‘Alfred Le Roy’ for a relaxed trip on the river with commentary from Thames21 project officers. Advance booking required.

Please wear sensible footwear. Suitable for accompanied children over 8yrs.

Trips will be leaving at 10:30am, 1:00pm

Cost: Free of Charge to first 40 people in the queue

Meeting point: Thames21 Lock Office, Navigation Way Off Gilender Street, Bromley By Bow, E3 3JY

Finishing point Crate Brewery, The white building, Queen’s Yard, Hackney Wick, London E9 5EN

Bookings: Online

NOTE:  If you have any booking queries please contact