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Filming, photography and events on the tidal Thames

The Thames provides a fantastic backdrop for film and TV programme makers and has featured in many iconic moments in movies, from Harry Potter films through to James Bond's The World Is Not Enough.

The tidal Thames – which stretches some 95 miles from the sea through the heart of the capital and as far west as Teddington – gives location managers a diverse mix of possible locations. This includes the marshes and wide expanses of sea in the Thames Estuary; iconic and historic buildings and a busy river in central London; or the tranquil river and towpaths of west London.  

All filming activity (and all commercial still photography) on the tidal Thames requires a filming licence. This includes ALL filming involving boats and vessels and filming on piers and other structures in the river. We can also advise on the possibilities for safe filming activity on the Thames foreshore (ie: the part of the river exposed at low tide).


Filming and photography on the tidal Thames is licensed by the PLA to help ensure that it is completed safely and does not interfere with operations on this busy tidal highway for passenger, tourist, freight and leisure vessels.  We can help guide you through securing the necessary PLA licence for filming on the Thames.

All licence applications must be submitted using our online form, which covers the key information we need to know to consider your request. The form can be accessed at this link.


A fee is charged for commercial filming and photography on the Thames, with charges reflecting its duration, complexity and purpose.  Fees are by agreement with the PLA Corporate Affairs team.

Use of drones

Some productions make use of drones in their filming operations.  The consenting of drone operations over the river is completed via our online drone portal, which can be reached at this link.

River traffic management

Some particularly complex filming operations or events may need river traffic to controlled for a limited period. In this case we may need to issue a Notice to Mariners so that river users are aware of the operation and to supply harbour service launches to patrol on scene.

The costs of both these activities must be borne in full by the film maker/event producer.

Location – Richmond Footbridge, Lock & Weir

Richmond Footbridge, Lock and Weir, situated between Teddington and Richmond, which we own and operate, offers a wonderful location for film and television productions, as well as still photography.

The footbridge is open for general public use between 6.30 am and 7.30 pm in the winter months and 6.30 am to 9.30 pm in the summer months.

If you require the bridge to be closed while filming took place, this can be arranged with due notice.

This is the only bridge over the river Thames where a complete closure to the general public can be arranged.

If filming at this location, a PLA filming licence will still be required. Separate fees will be payable for both the license and use of the location.

Click here to see the Terms and Conditions for filming at Richmond Lock and Weir.

Promotional events

The tidal Thames is periodically used for a range of events from public awareness raising to commercial product launches. All such events must be discussed and agreed with the PLA.

If you are looking to arrange such an event must get in touch with us at the earliest opportunity and at least six weeks before the date of the event being considered. Use our form to submit as much information as possible.

Fees for events on the river are by agreement with the PLA Corporate Affairs team.

Read our event organiser guidance at this link for additional information.


To enquire about filming, photography or events on the tidal Thames use our online form to provide as much information as possible.

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