Our programmes

Most of our programmes are designed as full-day courses (four hours with half an hour for lunch) although half-day courses (2 hours of fieldwork) are available on request at all sites except Fulham Palace.


We suggest your full-day course starts at 10 am and finishes at 2.30 pm, but we can be flexible with timings if the tides allow – please let us know your preferred times when booking. If you have to arrive late and/or leave early due to transport considerations we can either shorten or omit activities.


A full-day programme includes two 2-hour sessions and involves both indoor and outdoor activities; the order of your activities depends on the tides.

All sessions are designed to be flexible so that we can tailor them to suit your learning objectives and pupils’ needs. Programmes may vary depending on the nature of the site, tides and weather conditions. Please supply us with your learning objectives in advance of your trip. In preparation for your river visit, we can provide classroom resources and advice as well as Inset training.

How To Book

Step 1  

Choose your preferred site, programme and month to visit.

Step 2  

Phone 020 8742 0057 or email to check availability and to make a provisional booking.

Step 3

Once you have made a provisional booking we will send you a booking form. You must return the form (1 per class) within 7 days to confirm the booking. If we do not receive your form we will contact you before cancelling your visit.

Step 4 

We will send you an email containing written confirmation, an invoice, map, and health and safety advice. Please note your trip has not been confirmed until you have received written confirmation from us.

Step 5

Forward the invoice to your accounts department. The invoice should be paid at least three weeks before the date of your visit

Step 6

Contact us to arrange a pre-site visit.

Office opening hours

The office is open Monday to Friday 8.30 am to 4.30 pm. During term time, we may be teaching but we will return calls and emails as soon as possible.

Class Size

Maximum class size is 30 pupils. Depending on the tides and programmes we can cater for 2 classes on the same day at Chiswick, Greenwich, Kew Bridge, Fulham Palace, Southwark and Isleworth. At all other sites we can only accommodate 1 class per day.


To make the visit educationally effective and safe, we require the following adult to child ratios:

  • Pupils under 8, a ratio of 1 adult to 6 pupils is essential.
  • Pupils over the age of 8, the recommended ratio is 1 adult to 6 pupils and a minimum of 1 adult per 10 children is essential.

One-to-one support staff and Thames Explorer Trust staff should not be included in these ratios. All attending adults must provide close supervision at all times, especially on the foreshore. Please bring an additional adult who is able to support the class in the event of an emergency. Please make adult helpers aware that the trip involves outdoor activities, working near open water, walking by roads and walking on a muddy, uneven foreshore. Please make sure everyone wears sensible footwear and clothing appropriate for the weather.

What to bring

Each class leader needs to bring:-

  • A first Aid kit, hand gel and plastic gloves. Gloves only apply to foreshore sessions and are not essential. However we do recommend that anyone with open wounds, skin conditions and under 7’s wear gloves on the foreshore. 
  • We recommend that you do a pre-site visit and write your own risk assessment in advance of your trip, please contact us in advance, so that we can advise you on how to go about this.
  • You must bring the correct child to adult ratio and all adults must provide supervision at all times. Please bring an extra adult in case of emergencies. Please do not count 1:1 support into your ratio’s or share adults between classes.

Each person needs to bring:-

  • Packed lunch and plenty of drinking water (if doing a full day programme)
  • Appropriate clothing for the weather – come dressed for rain and shine!
  • For foreshore sessions please bring wellies (alternatively sturdy boots or old trainers) and spare shoes. Along with spare socks and a plastic bag to take muddy footwear home. You cannot go on to the foreshore with footwear that includes heals, open toes, or holes i.e. crocs.
  • A bag for rubbish- We don’t provide any rubbish bins at our sites to encourage you to reduce, reuse and recycle!

We will supply clipboards, pencils and worksheets for most programmes. If you do need to supply these yourself we will notify you before your visit.


We aim to make all our programmes inclusive and all our river centres have disabled access. Unfortunately wheelchair access on to the foreshore can be tricky, especially at sites with step-only access. We are happy to provide alternative activities to pupils who are unable to accompany their class on to the foreshore. Please contact us in advance of your trip to discuss options and to arrange a pre-site visit.

Please provide us with details of all pupils with SEND, EAL and medical conditions prior to your trip. Please make sure that one-to-one support staff are not included in your adult-to-child ratios. We also have our River of Life outreach programme that can be delivered at your school for SEND classes. At Chiswick our Rivers and Environmental Issues programme can be combined with ‘meet the RNLI life boat crew’ (see KS2 Rivers and Environmental Issues session 1c for details). Programmes at our other river centres can also be adapted and we are happy to discuss this with you. Subject to funding being available, we can sometimes offer subsidised visits to special schools, please contact us for further details.

Weather policy

Field trips will take place outside whatever the weather, therefore it’s important that everyone is dressed appropriately and is prepared for changing weather conditions. We will adapt programmes to the weather conditions as much as possible but the order of activities may be governed by the tides. Please note that at Southwark, Isleworth, Old Royal Naval College and the Millennium Bridge we do not have any indoor facilities.  It may be possible to seek shelter in nearby public buildings at the discretion of the owners. We never cancel visits due to bad weather except in cases of extreme weather (Met Office weather warning) and only if it compromises safety. Cancellations due to weather are very rare. If you do cancel or reschedule your booking at short notice you may be liable to pay the full fee.

Cancellation policy

To cancel a booking you need to complete a cancellation form which can be downloaded from the button at the top of this page.

You will not be charged for the visit if you cancel four weeks in advance. If you cancel or reschedule after this time you will incur costs or be liable for the full fee. Schools taking part in full day visits at the Old Royal Naval College need to give at least two months’ notice.