The river is London's oldest and most important public space, yet it is significantly underused at night. The Illuminated River offers an opportunity to think about the river as a unique natural and built environment, to look at ways in which we can enhance the experience for the public and improve the environment for flora and fauna.

Waterloo Bridge. Photo Sean Pollock

The Illuminated River Foundation will deliver multiple benefits for Londoners, visitors and the environment.


It will create more opportunities to enjoy and explore the river, Thames Path, the bridges and local amenities, and to celebrate the unique character and heritage of these great landmarks.


It will be a model of best practice and collaboration, a concept built on listening, learning, consultation, research and expertise.


It will connect north and south, and run through 7 local authorities, creating a unified vision to celebrate London's bridges and the city's historic links with the river.


It will enhance understanding of the river’s history and ecology.


It will support the green agenda on the Thames by increasing biodiversity and reducing light pollution and energy consumption [Please see the environment page for more information].


It will increase public access to art, promote creativity and support the Mayor’s cultural strategy for London.


It will involve and bring together many river communities, schools, organisations and interest groups.


It will pioneer innovative lighting and engineering solutions.


It will create a long-term maintenance programme, collaborating with other lighting and public realm projects along the river.

It will provide a concise and invaluable record of the natural and built environment of this stretch of the Thames, based on 3-D surveys of the bridges, wildlife surveys and other resources for use by partners.


It will enhance travel and connectivity along and over the river, and further promote the Thames as a means of transport for both commuters and tourists.

Nighttime Economy

It will invigorate and support the existing nighttime life of central London.

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