How the Thames Barrier works and visiting information.
About the Thames Barrier
The Thames Barrier is one of the largest movable flood barriers in the world. The Environment Agency runs and maintains the Thames Barrier as well as the capital’s other flood defences.
The barrier spans 520 metres across the River Thames near Woolwich. It protects 125 square kilometres of central London from flooding caused by tidal surges.
It became operational in 1982 and has 10 steel gates that can be raised into position across the River Thames. When raised, the main gates stand as high as a five-storey building and as wide as the opening of Tower Bridge. Each main gate weighs 3,300 tonnes.
How the Thames Barrier works
Find out how we forecast when the Thames Barrier should be closed, and watch a video to see how it works:
The Thames Barrier Information Centre is open Thursday to Sunday for the public and groups. It's open Monday to Wednesday for private group talks and conferences.
Additional opening hours
The Thames Barrier information Centre will be open 7 days a week during the February school holidays, Monday 17 - Sunday 23 Feb, 10.30am – 5.00pm (last admission is at 4.30pm).