We love and care for your canals and rivers, because everyone deserves a place to escape.

Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park Waterways

In July 2017 the Loop of waterways around the London Stadium, which includes the Old River Lea, City Mill River and St Thomas Creek, will open to public navigation for cruising without the need for prior booking.

General Information

Closures will occur from time to time as part of the security requirements for high profile events in the Park. Boaters will be notified in advance of any closures via our stoppage notifications and notices on site. 

From August 2017 onwards Waterworks River and Three Mills Wall River, which runs adjacent to the loop, will be accessible by prior booking only through Carpenters Road Lock, City Mill Lock and Three Mills Lock as it is a flood relief channel. The booking system will be accessible online and through enquiries London customer service team. Access onto the Waterworks River will be available from 9am to 5pm seven days a week with the exception of closures for maintenance, events security or unsafe weather conditions for navigation. Planned closures will be advertised using our normal channels and procedures. 

A map of the waterways is available here.

Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park


Known as the Bow Back Rivers, this historic network of waterways was transformed in the build up to the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games as part of a major investment and clean-up programme.

The six kilometres of rivers in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park were once a key transport network for the industries that lined the river but the decline of canal freight after the Second World War, together with a build-up of silt, saw the rivers become virtually un-navigable and derelict until they were eventually closed altogether by the 1960s.

This all changed with the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. The waterways were to become the green veins of Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and a massive restoration and clean-up operation was put into effect.

Going for Gold!

Throughout the build up to the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, we worked with the Olympic Delivery Authority to improve the condition of these rivers. We created new river walls and towpaths, dredged deeper channels, improved wildlife habitats and refurbished disused locks. Since handing the rivers over to the London Legacy Development Corporation in 2012, we’ve continued to work in partnership to breathe new life into these once hidden and forgotten waterways.

We took over the day-to-day care of these rivers in the summer of 2016

From summer 2016 we once again took over the day-to-day care of these rivers, continuing to work closely with the London Legacy Development Corporation. We have jointly produced a strategy – our Olympic Legacy Waterways Framework – which sets out how the waterways can continue to be improved and enjoyed by all in the years to come. If you have any questions about this, please email waterways@londonlegacy.co.uk.

Carpenters Road Lock is integral to the Olympic Legacy Framework and is being restored with funding from Canal & River Trust, Heritage Lottery Fund, London Legacy Development Corporation and Inland Waterways. The lock is significant from an engineering point of view, as it had the only ‘double radial lock gates’ in the country. Built in the 1930s this design included two convex-shaped gates that lifted up vertically to enable boats to pass through. The restored lock will be open this summer (2017).

Getting involved

To celebrate the restoration of Carpenters Road Lock, we're planning a range of events and activities, including plans for an east London canal festival, so people can learn about the history of the lock and rivers and experience live performances and contemporary art. For more information please email our Heritage Activities Officer Joanna Steele.

East London Waterways Festival

As part of celebrations for the restoration of Carpenters Road Lock a cavalcade cruising opportunity will be available over bank holiday weekend August 26-28, with the formal opening ceremony on Bank Holiday Monday, 28 August.

Be one of the first boaters to pass under the only double radial lock gate in the country and join a wider celebration of East London Waterways and regeneration of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park Waterways. Weather permitting there will also be opportunity for tidal extension incorporating Bow Creek and the tidal Thames. To express interest in the cruise send your boat name and index number to waterways@londonlegacy.co.uk.

Come and celebrate with us at the East London Waterways Festival this August - Visit here for more information

Waterways FAQ

Why are you charging boats £150 for stopping or mooring in the stadium island loop?

The purpose of the daily charge is to act as a deterrent to boaters. We don’t want to have to ask boaters to move on if they decide to ignore the signs and we hope the high cost will encourage boaters not to stop in the first place.

What will happen if a boat moors in the Park and ignores the signs?

If a boater ignores the signs, moors in the Park and refuses to move, we will as a last resort move the boat a short distance to Bow Free Wharf using our contractors District Enforcement Ltd. where it can be easily collected by the owner.

The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park is a dynamic new heart for east London. Make sure you visit soon!

Last date edited: 21 July 2017