The Thames Barrier

Greenwich Peninsula is the fastest growing area in London and is home to the O2, Emirates Airline, and the Thames Barrier.

Back in the C16th the peninsula was drained by Dutch engineers before being used as pasture land.

For over 100 years the peninsula was dominated by the gasworks which primarily produced town gas which is also known as coal gas.

The Thames Barrier spans 520 metres across the river. It was built to protect central London from flooding caused by tidal surges.

The 10 steel gates can be raised into a position and stand as high as a 5-storey building and as wide as the opening of Tower Bridge. Each main gate weighs 3,300 tonnes.


Once a month it’s closed for maintenance. The next time it’s closed is Monday – 14 June 2021 – 09:35am – 12:05pm so you can see for yourself how it works. You can also see how the Thames barrier works in this short video:

The Thames Barrier Information Centre will re-open on 1 July 2021 but for pre-booked visits only. There is also a café for you to enjoy too. Visit:


Hazel Baker is an award-winning London Tour Guide and qualified CIGA guide who delivers guided walks and private tours in London. View all of Hazel’s walking tours.


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