River Thames: Take a boat trip

River Thames
The best way to see London’s River Thames is possibly to take a boat trip along it. There are several companies offering these, all pretty similar. Trips depart from a number of central London locations along the river, including Charing Cross Pier (by Embankment tube station), Westminster Pier (by Westminster Bridge and the tube station of the same name), Tower Bridge and Waterloo on the south bank. Some trips are quite short and focus on the central stretch of the river, while others go as far west as Kew Gardens or as far east as the Thames Barrier.

Depending on how long the trip you chose is, the sights you will see from the boat will probably include
~ London’s bridges, including the iconic Tower Bridge (not to be confused, as some tourists do, with the more mundane London Bridge)
~ great views of some of the most famous sights, such as Parliament, St Paul’s cathedral and the Tower of London
~ the restored warehouses in the eastern part of the city, now among the most sort-after London addresses for those that can afford to live here

You’ll also get a good insight into all the activity on the river itself, with other sightseeing boats, river police, barges and privately-owned vessels etc. passing regularly. Commentary is usually provided in a number of languages, and refreshments available on board. In the evening some of the companies run dinner or disco cruises, and boats can also be hired out for groups to enjoy a private customised tour. The website below lists a large number of companies offering tours, but the best bet may be simply to turn up at one of the piers and see what’s on offer, though at busy times you may have to wait a while for a place on a tour.

Fares vary depending on the route you choose but are typically between £6 and £10 for an adult, with discounts for children, senior citizens and family groups.

  • Directions: You'll see tours offered from several piers on both banks of the Thames




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