August 2011 archive

- 04 Aug 2011

What is the Role of the River Thames in Westminster?

Just click on the map for a larger version

Like so many major cities, London is located next to a great winding river and with the sun shining (well on and off!) it is a great place to be. Water always looks so inviting in the summer and our river has over recent years become much more of a focul point in terms of living, working and leisure time. In fact, one of the highlights of The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee next year will be a river pageant with The Sovereign’s specially constructed Royal Barge leading a flotilla of boats along the river. This will no doubt conjure up thoughts of Tudor times when the mighty Thames was in constant use as a trade and transport route. After such a long time of underuse it is so good that the Thames has once again developed an effective riverboat service. Its also great that it has been integrated into the city’s infrastructure and you can even use your Oyster card!

We have just updated the ‘How to reach us’ section on the Location’ page of our website to include details on the River Bus Service. Of course the big story at the moment for London is that we are now less than a year from the start of the 2012 London Olympics and Paralympic Games. It seems that here too the river Thames will play a big part in giving visitors a memorable ride to their Olympic event with extra river services being laid on between Westminster and Greenwich piers.
You can tell ‘Olympics fever’ has started. The countdown shown in huge numbers at the top of the BT Tower now seems meaningful and of course the recent party to unveil the Olympic Countdown Clock, only served to heighten the sense of excitement and expectation. I have to say how fantastic it is that all the permanent stadia are now complete a year out. That really says something for our ability as a world city to plan and execute such a huge project.

Westminster feels quite a focal point with Horse Guards Parade, site of the Beach Volleyball and only 5 minutes from One Great George Street set up for the Test event running at the middle of this month. According to the press, the Prime Minister is very excited about it and will have a birds eye view from 10 Downing Street.
Our own venue will becomes the London Media Centre for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games from mid June next year and registration has now opened for media. Our next door neighbours, The Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre has been booked by Italy and close by 45 Millbank has been booked by Georgia. All of us are members of The Westminster Collection, a collection of stand-alone venues based within the boundaries of the City of Westminster.

With so many visitors, officials and of course the athletes in town our transport infrastructure will be pushed to the limit. The inclusion therefore of the river as another travel option and the connections available from the river to other integrated modes of transport such as the DLR will be most useful. The authorities are now making available lots of information to help everyone plan their journeys within the city around and during the games themselves.

I hope that you have found some of what I have been blogging about interesting reading. If you have any comments or suggestions about this blog post or ideas for future posts, just drop me an email. Enjoy the last remaining weeks of summer I’ll be back with another post September time.