The Tall Ships Festival will be filling Greenwich and Woolwich with huge boats for the beginning of the Rendez-Vous 2017 Tall Ships Regatta.
More than 30 Tall Ships will gather for four days on the Thames before setting sail for Canada via Sines in Portugal, Bermuda and Boston.
The weekend also includes an opening ceremony in Woolwich on Thursday, April 13, featuring Glenn Tilbrook from Squeeze, and a show from Hydromania, billed as “a spectacular performance of light, sound and water”.
Firework displays will take place on April 13 and 14 in Greenwich with a farewell pyrotechnic bonanza at Royal Arsenal riverside at 9.45pm on Saturday, April 15, in Woolwich with plenty of music and maritime entertainment in between.
The regatta, organised by Sail Trading International, will mark the 150th anniversary of the unification of Canada – but where should you go to get a flavour of the action?
1. Greenwich Festival Village
A celebratory festival village has been set up especially for the event at Cutty Sark Gardens, close to the Old Royal Naval College.
The village will include food stalls, market stalls and two bars, as well as the best viewpoint of the ships moored along the bank and in Greenwich Reach.
A viewing area reserved for wheelchair users can be found on the lawn by the Greenwich riverfront, to the right of the pier entrance.
2. Woolwich Festival Village
Not to be outdone, a festival village will also be springing up in Woolwich, this time at the Royal Arsenal Riverside.
Just like in Greenwich, the village will include food stalls, market stalls and two bars.
Another viewing area reserved for wheelchair users will be at the far end of the English Heritage Riverside Walk.
3. From on board the Tall Ships
The best views of all can be found from on board the ships themselves while they are moored on the Thames.
The boats can be boarded for free at the Royal Arsenal Woolwich Pier. Visits are ticketed and last about an hour.
At Greenwich Pier, Tall Ship enthusiasts can take a ferry to visit one of the three largest boats. Tickets cost £10 for an adult and include a guide.
Information about visiting times and prices can be found on the Greenwich Council website .
4. Deptford Creek
Some of the best views of the departing Parade Of Sail can be found at Deptford Creek, as well as Maritime Greenwich, on Sunday, April 16. The ships are scheduled to leave Greenwich at 5pm, passing Woolwich at around 5.45pm, and will be visible from the river’s edge.
5. Eltham (yes, really)
Eltham might not be the first place that springs to mind if you’re looking for a waterfront, but the High Street will be getting into the swing of things with live music and children’s activities from 10.30am on Saturday, April 13. The day will include performances at Passey Place from Brothers In Swing, Pete Hicks, Decks And Quartz and Santino Fabbricatore.
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