River Thames, London

4.5 out of 5 stars 4.5 Stars - 198 Reviews

Been here? Rate It!

hide
  • City Hall and the Shard, London
    City Hall and the Shard, London
    by antistar
  • Tower Bridge and HMS Belfast, London
    Tower Bridge and HMS Belfast, London
    by antistar
  • River Thames
    by toonsarah
  • toonsarah's Profile Photo

    Take a boat trip

    by toonsarah Updated Mar 29, 2014

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    2 more images

    Update March 2014: ticket prices checked and updated

    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.

    Fares vary depending on the route you choose but are typically between £8 and £14 for an adult (one way), with discounts for children, senior citizens and family groups. There is also a hop on, hop off, option, the Red Rover - see the City Cruises website for more information.

    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 (and booking online in advance does save you a couple of pounds). Most recently we have used City Cruises and been very happy with the experience which was a Sundowner special with drinks and canapes included. See my separate Nightlife tip for more information.

    Was this review helpful?

  • toonsarah's Profile Photo

    HMS Belfast

    by toonsarah Updated Mar 29, 2014

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    HMS Belfast & Tower Bridge
    2 more images

    Update March 2014: website updated, small changes to text

    HMS Belfast served in WW2, playing a leading part in the Normandy Landings. She is now moored on the Thames near Tower Bridge as a unique reminder of Britain’s naval heritage. A visit to the ship makes a good day out, especially for families – we took a young nephew there many years ago and he loved imagining himself as a sailor!

    The ship has been restored to reflect the different the campaigns that she served in, with 9 decks to explore. Areas you can visit include the Boiler Room, Engine Room, Wheelhouse, Ship’s Company Dining Hall, Mess Deck and Admiral’s living quarters.

    There is a café on board where you can get cooked meals, hot and cold drinks, snacks, sandwiches and confectionery.

    A few points to note about getting around HMS Belfast:-
    Wheelchairs: unfortunately only limited areas of the ship are accessible for wheelchair users, though modifications have been made to provide a limited tour including the Quarterdeck, the Boat Deck and the café. Access to the ship is via a gangway with a wheelchair lift.
    Safety: children under 16 have to be accompanied by an adult. Please make sure children (and you!) have suitable footwear – there are lots of narrow metal steps so flip-flops and high heels just wouldn’t be safe.

    The ship is also used for corporate events and conferences (hence my recent visit) and if you’re travelling to London with a group of children you might like to know that school classes and youth groups (age 8-18) can now sleepover on board. HMS Belfast's sleepover ("Kip in a ship") provides the opportunity to experience what it is like to live and sleep in the renovated mess-decks. The children sleep in original bunks, with authentic lockers and shower facilities. Meanwhile, you’ll be pleased to know, there are separate cabins with en-suite for accompanying adults. Breakfast, a session with an Education Officer and exploration of the ship are included in the price. See Kip in a ship for more information.

    The ship is open daily (except over Christmas), 10.00am – 6.00pm (till 5.00pm in winter). Admission costs £15.50 for adults with children under 16 going free and concessions £12.40. Audio guides are free and available in English, French, German and Spanish

    Related to:
    • Museum Visits

    Was this review helpful?

  • breughel's Profile Photo

    HMS Belfast

    by breughel Updated Dec 23, 2013

    5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    HMS Belfast
    3 more images

    Concerning ships my preference goes to sailboats so that I visited in Greenwich the famous clipper "Cutty Sark" before the restoration and the fire that damaged her in 2007.
    I did not visit the HMS Belfast because I got some experience of what a warship looks like when as a young man I participated to a day cruise on a Belgian Minesweeper. The sea was rough and I had to leave the table of the officers for an obvious reason. After that experience I opted for a military service with the Land Forces.

    For somebody who has never been on a battleship I would highly recommend the visit of the HMS Belfast, a powerful 6-inch light cruiser (187metres long, total 20 guns), who served Britain for 32 years and played a role in WW II as support for the D-Day landing in Normandy. HMS Belfast was part of the Eastern Naval Task Force, with responsibility for supporting the British and Canadian assaults on 'Gold' and 'Juno' beaches.

    When passing alongside her on the Thames I try to imagine how German soldiers felt facing that huge armada of 2700 vessels plus all the smaller craft when at 5.30 am on 6 June 1944 HMS Belfast and all the others opened fire on them.

    HMS Belfast is now part of the Imperial War Museum and is the first ship to be preserved for the nation since Nelson’s Victory (at Portsmouth). She opened to the public on 21 October 1971.

    Open daily: 1 March - 31 October 10.00 am -6.00 pm (last admission 5.00 pm)
    1 November - 28 February 10.00 am - 5.00 pm (last admission 4.00 pm)
    Closed 24, 25 and 26 December.
    Admission Prices 2013
    Adults £14.50; Senior +60/Student £11.60
    Child (under 16) FREE

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Museum Visits

    Was this review helpful?

  • breughel's Profile Photo

    Golden Hind(e) Galleon.

    by breughel Updated Dec 23, 2013

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Golden Hind.

    The cruise ships on the Thames pass close to the replica of the Golden Hind docked in St Mary Overie Dock. The Golden Hind was an English galleon best known for its circumnavigation of the globe between 1577 and 1580 under Captain Sir Francis Drake.
    The original name was Pelican. Drake renamed it when entering the Strait of Magellan.
    Special is the fact that after this circumnavigation the Golden Hind was maintained for public exhibition in Deptford during about 100 years until she rotted away.

    What you see here, oddly located between an office building and a pub (Old Thameside Inn), is a full-size replica launched in 1973. Even more surprising, this replica is perfectly seaworthy even if the bright colours might give the impression it was only made for the show (but usual colours in the 16th c.). It has circumnavigated the world like the original and travelled 140.000 miles!

    A second replica has been permanently moored in the harbour of the sea port of Brixham in Devon.
    Visits: daily 10 - 17.30h. Price: 6£, reduced 4,50£.

    Related to:
    • Museum Visits
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • etfromnc's Profile Photo

    The Thames and Hampton Court

    by etfromnc Updated Sep 4, 2013

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    One could literally list thousands of things to do in London and still not cover the subject but as I said in an earlier comment, I seem to do new and different things each time and each trip seems to be better than the one before it had been.
    When I was in London in 2004, it was only for two days and the most memorable part of that stop was something that I would never have been able to conjure up had I not been in the company of some Englishmen. We took a boat trip along the Thames from Richmond to Hampton Court Palace. Hampton Court is such a beautiful place where we were able to get away from the crowds of London, enjoy a picnic in a delightful English garden, and it all was wrapped exquisitely by the roundtrip journey along the Thames between Richmond and Hampton Court. When I was returned in 2009, some of my friends made the same trip and were about evenly divided as to whether it was a delight or a waste. I still remember that day with great warmth.

    Related to:
    • Family Travel
    • Sailing and Boating
    • Romantic Travel and Honeymoons

    Was this review helpful?

  • TrendsetterME's Profile Photo

    Cruise on Thames, London, England

    by TrendsetterME Updated Jul 13, 2013

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Cruise on Thames, London, England
    4 more images

    There r several brands doing the Thames River Cruises, starting from Westminister and / or Lambeth and mostly having the same route ... Nice option to see London also from the "water" side and be able to shoot nice photos where u cant reach by ride and car ...

    U can buy ur tickets in some Concierge of several Hotels or check the below sites for info :
    http://www.thamescruises.com/
    http://www.citycruises.com/

    Westminister, Banks, London Bridge, Tower Bridge etc r the major spots u gonna see as u r on the boat ... Be prepared w some gloves and polars, as in in winter definitly cold as u shoot photos on exterior of the boat ...

    Enjoy ... :)

    Related to:
    • Photography
    • Cruise
    • Arts and Culture

    Was this review helpful?

  • antistar's Profile Photo

    Walking the Thames: North Bank

    by antistar Written Jul 3, 2013

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Tower Bridge and HMS Belfast, London
    4 more images

    It's not always easy to walk along the north bank of the Thames in the City of London. There's many diversions away from the riverside, but it's worth persevering. A walk from London Bridge to Tower Bridge is a must, as is walking the spans of those two bridges - the views are incredible. From the north bank you can now see some of south London's new architectural highlights, like the Shard and the new City Hall.

    Was this review helpful?

  • River cruise

    by bigben11 Written Apr 15, 2013
    Thames cruise

    You have the possibility to cross the river Thamse by different ship companies. We went from the Tower Bridge to Big Ben. You can see a lot of sights, for example the London Eye, from the direction of the river. On the ship there is a guide who tells you some interesting stories about monuments, building and the bridges.

    Was this review helpful?

  • mikey_e's Profile Photo

    The great waterway

    by mikey_e Written Dec 29, 2012
    The Thames
    4 more images

    London, just like Paris, Rome, Lisbon and countless other Imperial capitals, was founded on the banks of a great resource: a river wide and deep enough to ensure transport by water of heavy commercial goods. The Thames, of course, is more than just an economic resource for London. Its geography has defined the city and its constituent neighbourhoods, providing romantic backdrops for some and a reminder for others of their isolation (elected or coerced) from the borough of power and wealth. The Thames has also given rise to the various bridges that define London’s various periods of development, and has allowed the city’s inhabitants to maintain their maritime tradition and self-identification, despite the relative isolation of London from the sea. Today, cars, planes and rail have all made travel by water somewhat obsolete for passengers, but the Thames continues to exert a strong influence over the identity of London and its inhabitants. For those who wish to experience a bit of the pleasures of the river, cruises are of course offered, and there’s always the London Eye for the opportunity to get a glimpse of the entire expanse of this great waterway.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • davidjo's Profile Photo

    VICTORIA EMBANKMENT GARDENS--2

    by davidjo Updated Dec 8, 2012
    1862 Gateway
    2 more images

    This gateway used to mark the northern bank of the Thames back in 1862 before the Embankment was built, but now you can find it at the western end of the Gardens, probably 30 metres from the Embankment now.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Photography

    Was this review helpful?

  • davidjo's Profile Photo

    When the Lions drink London will flood

    by davidjo Written Dec 8, 2012

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    LION HEAD MOORING RING

    By Victoria Embankment at regular intervals there are bronze lion heads with mooring rings in their mouths for boats to be attached, so the saying is 'when the lions drink London will be flooded', true enough isn't it!!! Just look carefully over the wall of the embankment!!

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Photography

    Was this review helpful?

  • davidjo's Profile Photo

    TEMPLE STAIRS ARCH, KINGS REACH

    by davidjo Written Dec 8, 2012

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    2 more images

    The Temple Stairs Arch is on Victoria Embankment and on top of the Arch is the head of Neptune which was erected in 1868, but through the arch you will find a memorial from 1935 placed there for the silver jubilee of King George V. During the Jubilee that part of the embankment was called the King's Reach.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Photography

    Was this review helpful?

  • davidjo's Profile Photo

    THE DRAGON MARKS THE BOUNDARY

    by davidjo Written Dec 8, 2012

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    colourful dragons
    2 more images

    Originally these colourful dragons guarded the entrance of the Coal Exchange in Lower Thames Street from 1849 but were moved to just outside the Temple Gardens in the 60's when the Coal Exchange was demolished. They now mark the boundary to the City of London.

    Related to:
    • Photography
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • davidjo's Profile Photo

    H.M.S. WELLINGTON

    by davidjo Written Dec 8, 2012
    last of the Grimsby sloops
    1 more image

    Just by Waterloo Bridge you will find H.M.S.Wellington moored by Temple pier which was a Royal Navy ship built in 1934 and serve in the Pacific before the 2nd World War, mainly on convoy duty in the North Atlantic. It is the only surviving member of the Grimsby class of sloops but for the last 60 years it has been London's only floating Livery Company.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Photography

    Was this review helpful?

  • davidjo's Profile Photo

    SUBMARINE WAR MEMORIAL

    by davidjo Written Dec 7, 2012
    submarine memorial
    1 more image

    The Submarine War Memorial is on the wall of the Victoria Embankment and commemorates the Navy submariners who died in the service of their country during WWI and WWII. There is a bas relief showing the inside of a submarine on the memorial and another with nereids swimming. There are the two statues of Truth and Justice and at the front is the Memorial Plaque.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Photography

    Was this review helpful?

Instant Answers: London

Get an instant answer from local experts and frequent travelers

64 travelers online now

Comments

Hotels Near River Thames
4.0 out of 5 stars
258 Opinions
0.3 miles away
Show Prices
3.5 out of 5 stars
349 Opinions
0.3 miles away
Show Prices
4.5 out of 5 stars
964 Opinions
0.3 miles away
Show Prices

View all London hotels