Around 40 preserved vintage boats are mooring up at central London’s only marina, for one weekend only.
The Classic Boat Festival returns to St Katharine Docks — next to Tower Bridge — on 9-11 September. It’s the 13th time the event has been held, and is part of this year’s Totally Thames Festival (another highlight of which is an illuminated flotilla setting sail down the river).
Among the vessels on display are several of the surviving Dunkirk Little Ships, which sailed across the Channel to rescue trapped Allied soldiers in 1940. You can also see the Nancy Blackett — the yacht which inspired Swallows and Amazons author Arthur Ransome — and Gloriana, the Queen’s row barge which featured prominently in 2012’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations.
Some of the work boats, and sailing and motor yachts, will be available for the public to climb onboard and have a closer look, while chatting with the owners. Bit wobbly on your sea legs? Stay firmly on dry land for live entertainment at an outdoor seating area, food and drink stalls, kids’ activities, boat building workshops, and other nautical-themed happenings across the three days.
The Classic Boat Festival also has a programme of free talks, covering topics including a chance to hear from the custodians of the royal vessel Gloriana, and an insight into the history of St Katharine Docks. See the full Classic Boat Festival schedule for details.
The Classic Boat Festival at St Katharine Docks takes place 9-11 September 2022. The festival starts and ends with an opening and closing salute of horns each day.