The Thames Barrier spans 520 metres across the river Thames near Woolwich, and it protects 125 square kilometres of central London from flooding caused by tidal surges. It has 10 steel gates that can be raised into position across the river Thames. When raised, the main gates stand as high as a 5-storey building and as wide as the opening of Tower Bridge. Each main gate weighs 3,300 tonnes.
The barrier is closed under storm surge conditions to protect London from flooding from the sea. It may also be closed during periods of high flow over Teddington Weir to reduce the risk of river flooding in some areas of west London including Richmond and Twickenham.
The Thames Barrier will then remain closed over high water until the water level downstream of the Thames Barrier has reduced to the same level as upstream. This is a managed process to provide for different circumstances, and takes about 5 hours. The Thames Barrier is then opened, allowing the water upstream to flow out to sea with the outward-bound tide.
The Environment Agency runs and maintains the Thames Barrier as well as London’s other flood defences.
2nd November 2020 to 28th March 2021 – Thursday- Sunday
29th March 2021 to 31st October 2021 – Thursday-Sunday
– 3rd October 2020 (Saturday) – Café closed (Information Centre remains open) due to preparations for Thames Barrier Annual Closure on Sunday 4 October).
– 4th October 2020 (Sunday) – Extended opening hours (to be confirmed) for the Thames Barrier Annual Closure.
– Christmas 2020 – Café and Information Centre closed from 24th December (Thursday) , re-opening 31st December 2020 (Thursday).