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Not for its length but for its location is the Thames one of the best-known rivers in the world. Although it is only 338 kilometres long, it is England's chief waterway. The Thames begins at Seven Springs in the Cotswold Hills. From there it pursues a very winding course through the Chiltern Hills. At Oxford, the famous university town, it is met by its chief western tributary, the River Cherwell. This is the beginning of commercial navigation. From here the river flows through the English countryside, passing such well-known sites as Henley, where the annual regatta is held; the royal residence at Windsor Castle; the college town of Eton; Hampton, famous for its beautiful Hampton Court Palace built during the reign of Henry VIII; and then on to London. By the time the Thames reaches London, it has become an estuary, a section of the North Sea affected by the tides. The river flows for 40 kilometres through Greater London, past the Tate Gallery, Lambeth Palace, the houses of Parliament, the Royal Festival Hall and National Theatre complex, Southwark Cathedral, and the Tower of London.

Many people know about the Thames because ------ .

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