We asked some of our foreshore experts what their favourite artefact was.
Denis Hill on Bellarmine jugs.
Guided foreshore exploration for families and adults
Foreshore exploration is guided by our experienced staff who will help you find and identify artefacts located on the surface of the foreshore. This is a chance to find evidence of thousands of years of history – who lived here and how they lived. Any money generated from these events goes into supporting our work with schools.
Find out more
To find out event details, click on the images below and “click to register” in the details section. Before booking please read the “essential information” section below the booking dates.
All money generated from these events is put towards our school education programmes.
Cost £25 per ticket (for adults and children aged 8+) for 2 hours
To pay for tickets you do not need a Paypal account, just click on the Paypal logo under “Purchase Tickets” and you have the option to pay with a debit or credit card.
Booking dates are below or please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 020 8742 0057
Credit note holders
We are very appreciative of people who opted for a credit note for walks cancelled in March. To rebook your tickets, do not go through the booking system on this page, instead to book an event please email email@example.com, including a copy of your Credit Note email and let us know the date, location and number of tickets you would like to book. You will not be charged extra for the price increase.
Recommended reading material from our staff…
Kellow Chesney – Victorian Underworld (a catalogue of wonders and horrors)
Mayhew – London Labour and the London Poor
Mayhew and others – The London underworld in the Victorian period
Patricia Pierce – Old London Bridge
Lara Maiklem – Mudlarking
Jason Sandy and Nick Stevens – Thames Mudlarking
Cohen and Wragg – The River’s Tale.
Schmid – Atlas of Animal Bones (very expensive but given the quantity of bones on the foreshore, fascinating)
The Time Traveller’s Guide to Elizabethan England – Ian Mortimer (audiobook read by the sublime Mike Grady)
Jo-Anne Sunderland Bowe (foreshore teacher currently studying for a PhD)
Ackroyd – London
Pickard – Elizabeth’s London / Restoration London / Victorian London
Cookson – Crossing the River
Leahy and Lewis – Finds identified (PAS)
Adkins and Adkins The Handbook of British Archaeology
Christine Webb (foreshore teacher, historian and mudlark)
Sarah Penner – The Lost Apothecary (fiction – mentioned in forward)
Jane Casey The Cutting Place (fiction – Thames Explorer mention in the forward)
Ted Sandling – London in Fragments: A Mudlark’s Treasures. (I recommend this to most to beginners)
What the Victorians Threw Away – Tom Licence
Rag and Bone – Lisa Woollett
The Thames at War – Gustav Milne
Finds Identified 2: Dress Fittings and Ornaments – Leahy and Lewis
In order to preserve the historic nature of the foreshore, and in line with the Port of London Authority’s rules, Thames Explorer requests you take only memories and photographs away and not artefacts. Please bring your camera or smartphone to take photographs with. Thames Explorer Trust does not recommend accessing the foreshore without an experienced guide. Access to the foreshore requires a permit from the Port of London Authority (PLA) – Thames Explorer holds a permit. Any form of digging or scraping is forbidden, there are however, a great many surface artefacts to discover.
Occasionally our events have to be cancelled – problems with the foreshore, weather etc. If we know an event is going to be cancelled we will email you at your booking email address as soon as possible, however if our staff think it is unsafe to continue at the time of the event – you will be issued a full refund. Please respect their experience.
Booking is essential and limited t0 25 people. Children must be accompanied by an adult (minimum age for children is 8 years), maximum of 2 children per adult. In the event of the session being cancelled due to insufficient numbers, we will notify you 10 days beforehand and issue you with a full refund. In the event of sudden, high rainfall we will notify you with as much time as possible, full refunds will be offered. Please keep any eye on your booking email address in case of cancellation. Unfortunately, we cannot issue refunds for personal cancellations.
Please see booking page for details of meeting points.
Please bring wellies or walking boots (no crocs or open toed sandals!) Be prepared for rain or shine and a little bit of mud. Waterborne diseases can be a risk therefore it is important that those with open cuts or eczema have them covered and that children keep their hands away from their faces when exploring the foreshore. You should wash your hands thoroughly afterwards and especially before eating and drinking! If you prefer to wear rubber gloves then please bring these with you.
The Thames Explorer Trust is a huge fan of dogs (and cats) however as some people are not, we ask your not to bring your dog with you.
We have several sites for foreshore exploration. Please see the map opposite and check the location for the date of your event. Please note the foreshore steps can be quite steep and people with mobility problems should call us first for more information.
Weather policy – events take place outside whatever the weather, therefore it’s important that everyone is dressed appropriately and is prepared for changing weather conditions. We do not have any indoor facilities. It may be possible to seek shelter in nearby public buildings at the discretion of the owners.
Health and Safety Guidelines for Visitors to the Foreshore, updated for Covid-19 July 2020
We do everything we can to keep our visitors safe and we have a very low accident record over many years. The Trust has public liability insurance, a child protection policy and we comply with Health and Safety Executive regulations. We follow ‘good practice’ for operating procedures and staff training. All staff have up-to-date enhanced DBS checks. Staff are competent in safeguarding and accident and emergency procedures.
Please read this advice before your journey:
It is essential that you bring waterproof gloves and bag to carry them home in
All participants must bring a face covering –
Please bring hand-sanitizer as there may be no local hand-washing facilities – wash your hands with soap and water at the first available opportunity.
Cover freshly broken skin and eczema with waterproof plaster
Activities take place on riverside paths and the foreshore. Access to the foreshore (draw docks or steps) may be slippery and steep, the foreshore can also be muddy and uneven. Our staff will point out any hazards to you and remind you of how to keep safe before going onto the foreshore.
Please listen to the advice and follow instructions given by our staff
You are responsible for your own safety at all times
You are responsible for the safety of any children in your group at all times
Do not climb on walls or railings and keep within safety rails at all times
Do not remove any artefacts from the foreshore – take a photo instead and leave finds behind.
Thames Explorer staff will advise you how to remain safe during your visit, however you are responsible for your own safety and that of your parties safety at all times.
Protecting Your Health – Covid -19
In response to Covid-19 we have reduced the number of people we take on the foreshore to enable safe social distancing and have strengthened some of our advice to minimise the risks.
Please keep a safe distance from our staff and other people not in your group. The current guideline is 2 metres where possible.
This is an outdoor event where clear communication is essential for safety. For that reason our staff may not be wearing a face covering.
Please wear your face covering, especially if you nearer to someone than 2 metres.
If you pick up an item please do not hand it directly to staff or other people in the group. Safe sharing rules will be explained on the day.
Remember to keep hands away from your face during your time on the foreshore.
Eating or drinking on the foreshore is not permitted.
Bring and use hand sanitizer and wash your hands with soap and water at the first opportunity
After you leave the foreshore, do not eat or drink until you have washed your hands.
Leptospirosis (Weil’s Disease)
This is a bacterial infection transmitted through contact with animal urine and contaminated water. There is a small possibility of contracting this disease when in contact with river water. In most cases the disease is only mild but in serious cases it can be life-threatening and symptoms should not be ignored. Early symptoms are flu-like and include headaches, chills, high temperature, vomiting and muscle pains. If you experience any flu-like symptoms within 3 weeks of visiting the river foreshore inform your doctor, referencing river water and Weil’s Disease. Tests are available and early treatment can limit the severity of the infection.
Please note that tickets bought within 2 weeks of an event are non-refundable unless the following criteria apply:
In the event that you are unable to attend due to suspected coronavirus, or if you have been told to isolate: It is important to let us know at the earliest opportunity so that we may re-advertise your ticket and you will be issued a refund. Please note that we can only issue refunds if you let us know before the event, not after.
In the event that Thames Explorer is unable to host the event due to suspected coronavirus or because we have been told to isolate: We have arranged cover from a second member of staff for as many of our events as possible, however in the event that both your guide and the cover guide is unable to attend, we will let you know at the first available opportunity by email and you will be issued a refund.
In the event the government alters its guidance on outdoor events which prevents us from hosting the event: we will inform you by email at the earliest opportunity and you will be offered a credit note for a future event or issued a refund.
Emergency guidance: Except in emergencies our staff will be at the meeting point to greet you, however in the unlikely event that they are not only unable to be there but also unable to communicate their absence to us (and therefore us to you) we ask that you call our office – 020 8742 0057. If a member of the office team is not available, please wait at the meeting point for 40 minutes but no longer. If you are sure you are in the right location and that no member of our staff has turned up, you should contact Thames Explorer by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) and you will be issued with a full refund .
If you would like to gift someone a trip you can download a certificate by clicking here. This certificate has no value in itself but is to notify someone you intend to purchase tickets for them as a gift for a future date. You can then book tickets in their name at a time of their choosing.