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Photograph: St Katherine Docks

Dozens of beautiful vintage boats are going to rock up in London next month

They will include some of the surviving Dunkirk Little Ships, which rescued trapped Allied soldiers in 1940

Written by
Ellie Muir

Moor up, moor up, it’s nearly time for London’s Classic Boat Festival, where 40 charmingly preserved vintage craft will descend upon St Katherine Docks marina.

Nestled beside Tower Bridge, St Katherine Docks is a swanky marina in central London surrounded by a collection of drool-worthy bars and restaurants. From September 9-11, the classic vessels will arrive in London as part of this year’s Totally Thames Festival, a month-long celebration of the river’s heritage, with talks and guided tours of London’s historic docks and all of the famous boats dotted across the capital. 

Among the boats on display will be several of the surviving Dunkirk Little Ships, which sailed across the Channel to rescue trapped Allied soldiers from the beaches of France in 1940. And don’t forget to say ‘Ahoy!’ to Gloriana, the Queen’s Row Barge, which featured in the 2012 Diamond Jubilee celebrations.

And the maritime fun doesn’t stop there. Several of the working boats and sailing yachts will be open so the public can climb aboard and have a gander. Back on terra firma, there will be live entertainment, food and drink stalls, kids’ activities and a load of nautical-themed workshops across the weekend. You might need your ear defenders, though: the festival will be opened and closed by a salute of the boats’ horns each day. Toooot! 

Check out the Classic Boat Festival schedule here. St Katherine Docks. Sep 9-11. Free.

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