The classic boat festival returns to St Katharine docks

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Prepare yourself to embark on a voyage through history, as the eagerly awaited Classic Boat Festival comes back to the scenic St. Katharine Docks on September 9th and 10th, 2023. This event, dedicated to honouring the enduring charm and skill of classic boats, assures to be a visual delight for boat enthusiasts, history aficionados, and families alike.

With its unique location by the River Thames and nestled amidst the iconic Tower Bridge and the Tower of London, St. Katharine Docks provides the perfect backdrop for this enchanting celebration. Now in its 14th year, the Classic Boat Festival has firmly cemented its place as one of London’s most captivating maritime events.

Check out the stunning collection of vessels, ranging from majestic vintage sailboats to beautifully restored motorboats. Each boat holds a rich history, demonstrating the craftsmanship and artistry that once ruled the waves. This year, visitors can explore over 40 vintage boats, offering a fascinating glimpse into the world of classic boating and the stories behind these magnificent vessels.

A wonderful selection of warships will be on display this year, including the Dunkirk Little Ships, motorboats from the Bates Starcraft and Rampart ranges, and two steam tugs. Impressive modern vessels join the lineup too, with 20-metre Navy P2000 ship HMS Dasher and one of London’s MET Marine Police Unit Targa motorboats. Sir Alec Rose’s famous sailing yacht Lively Lady will also be in situ, alongside the Nancy Blackett – a favourite yacht of ‘Swallows and Amazons’ author Arthur Ransome, and the 200-year-old Thames sailing barge Gladys.

Immerse yourself in the lively atmosphere as the docks come alive with a vibrant Festival Village. Browsing through the eclectic mix of artisanal stalls, visitors can discover maritime-themed crafts, nautical-inspired entertainment, and a selection of delectable food and drink vendors catering to every taste. With live music performances too, there is something to keep the whole family entertained.

The Classic Boat Festival also offers a range of interactive experiences to engage visitors of all ages. Budding sailors can join informative talks and demonstrations to learn more about classic boat restoration, navigation, and the rich maritime heritage that surrounds us. For those seeking a more immersive experience, numerous boats will be open for boarding throughout the festival. Step aboard these beautifully restored vessels, feeling the wind in your hair and the connection to London’s seafaring past.

Offering free entry for all, and with each day marked with an opening and closing salute of horns, the Classic Boat Festival is a must visit for boat enthusiasts and anyone with an interest in naval history.

Open Saturday 9th September 11-6pm and Sunday 10th September 11-5pm, for more information visit www.skdocks.co.uk/whats-on/classic-boat-festival 

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