River Thames, London

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    City Hall and the Shard, London
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    H.M.S. PRESIDENT 1918

    by davidjo Written Dec 7, 2012
    protected convoys in WWI

    Originally HMS Saxifrage, built in Scotland, the HMS President is now moored by the Victoria Embankment and serves as a venue for conferences as well as housing some media offices. It was primarily a drill ship for the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve and it was used to protect merchant convoys during WWI and was intentionally built to look like a merchant ship.

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    RIVER TOURS

    by davidjo Written Dec 5, 2012

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    River Trips
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    There are several companies that provide tours on the River Thames including some that you can hop on and off at certain attractions, and they also provide a commentary on the way. The prices range from £13.50 for a rover tour that you can hop on and off and it will take you as far as Greenwich to £32.50 that will take you from London Eye to Canary Wharf and back. Shop around and see which one suits you, see where the drop off points!

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    THAMES CRUISE - LONDON BRIDGE'S

    by balhannah Updated Sep 6, 2012

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    Cannon Street Railway Bridge
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    Bridges, there are many that cross the River Thames, some very important, others not so!

    So, we cruised underneath London Bridge, and once again I think of the childhood rhyme, "London Bridge is falling down, falling down......"
    It didn't even look the slightest like falling down!

    The Nursery rhyme isn't so silly though, as the first London Bridge was built during Roman occupation of England in the first century. The first Bridge was made of wood and clay and was re-built with the various materials mentioned in the children's nursery rhyme. Many London Bridges were built, and in a way, they did fall down one way or another. Today, the new London Bridge was opened by Queen Elizabeth II in 1973.
    It is very plain, not like the photo's I have seen of the very old London Bridge.

    Others we passed under were Southwark Bridge, which was often mentioned by Charles Dickens.
    Cannon Street Railway Bridge, has some impressive Tower's on one side, and the Millenium Bridge which was in the 2009 film "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince." The Millennium Bridge is shown to be destroyed due to an attack by Death Eaters instead of the fictional Brockdale Bridge mentioned in the book.

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    THAMES CRUISE - THE GOLDEN HIND

    by balhannah Written Sep 6, 2012

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    Golden Hind

    Not the best of views of the replica of the Golden Hind from the cruise, but at least I could say I had seen it!
    This is a complete replica of the Ship which in 1577, Sir Francis Drake sailed from Plymouth, completely circumnavigating the globe over 3 years.

    Queen Elizabeth I gave Drake a charter granting him permission to attack and loot ships belonging to England's enemies, really meaning the Spanish. Funny that Drake and his men regarded themselves as privateers, not pirates, a Pirate is more what comes to my mind, and it did to the Spanish too, not happy chappies!

    There is a self guided tour of the ship available
    OPEN 10 - 5.30PM DAILY
    ADMISSION....Adult - £6.00, Children/ Concession - £4.50, Family - £18.00

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    THAMES CRUISE - OLD BILLINGSGATE MARKET

    by balhannah Written Sep 6, 2012

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    Old Billingsgate Fish Market

    This historic building was once the home of the Old Billingsgate Fish Market, once the largest open air Fish market in the World.
    The original building was built in 1850, then demolished and replaced in 1873 with the lovely arcaded market hall.
    What first caught my eye, was the Fish at the top of the weather vanes!

    It is a London landmark and now used for venues.

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    THAMES CRUISE - HMS BELFAST

    by balhannah Written Sep 6, 2012

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    HMS Belfast

    What a good view we have of the HMS Belfast from the Thames Cruise Boat.
    Once, a Royal Navy cruiser from the 2nd World War, now a floating Museum.

    HMS Belfast was launched in 1938 and served in WWII and the Korean War. This Ship is a chance to view what it was like to live, work, eat, sleep and socialize on board the Ship. Cramped quarters, noise, imagine what it was like during the war.....not for me!
    The Gun Turret Experience puts you into battle in WWII, while the interactive Operations Room puts you in the Captain's shoes as you control a fleet of ships off North Borneo.

    OPENING HOURS....
    March to October 10am - 6pm....Last admission 5pm
    closed 24, 25, and 26 December

    ADMISSION INCLUDES FREE AUDIO GUIDE...
    Adults £14.00
    Child (under 16) Free
    Concessions £11.20 (Senior, Student, Disabled)

    FREE ADMISSION WITH THE LONDON PASS

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    THAMES CRUISE - THE SHARD OF GLASS

    by balhannah Written Sep 6, 2012

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    The Shard

    The Shard is a very new building we saw being built in 2011. The Shard was formally opened on 5th July 2012, by the Prime Minister of Qatar, in a ceremony attended by Prince Andrew, Duke of York. The height of the tower is 309.6 metres (1,016 ft).

    The Shard is to contain office space, a 200-bed 5-star hotel, three floors of restaurants, ten apartments (priced at approximately £50 million each), and a public viewing platform, none of this is available at the moment, so, just a view from the distance is all you will get!

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    THAMES CRUISE - NOT ALL IS OLD!

    by balhannah Written Sep 6, 2012

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    London city hall

    That's correct, not all of London is old historic buildings, there are some new ones too, and in some surprising shapes, like the GLA Building OR London City Hall, a round glass building near the Tower Bridge.
    It is home of the Mayor of London and the London Assembly.
    Exhibitions are regularly held here, the website has details.

    You can normally visit parts of City Hall, Mondays to Thursdays from 8.30am to 6pm and Fridays from 8.30am to 5.30pm.

    If you are coming by Tube, alight at the London Bridge Tube station

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    CRUISE THE THAMES - TOWER BRIDGE

    by balhannah Written Sep 6, 2012

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    Tower Bridge
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    A cruise was included in our "London Pass," so after visiting the Tower of London, we made our way to the Tower Hill Pier on the River Thames. By afternoon, our nice sunny day had turned into an overcast and wet day by the time our cruise finished. The Boats are modern, all-weather boats with open upper decks and lower saloons with panoramic windows, so all of us on the open air deck moved down to the lower deck when it rained!

    A commentary is given all the way. We both loved cruising the River, a good way to see uninterrupted views of the famous sights.

    I will tell you what we saw, starting with the famous Tower Bridge.
    It was great to see it "in the flesh, so to speak," a bridge with character is how I would describe it! It was built in victorian gothic style in 1894, evidently not very popular at the time, I don't know why, I loved it! The Bridge, a combined bascule and suspension bridge, was named after the Tower of London. The two towers have two horizontal walkways joining the upper level and inside the bridge, is the Tower bridge Exhibition, a display area that encompasses the walkway and the two famous towers.

    The Tower Bridge opens from 10 - 6.30 pm from 1st April to 30th September
    1st October to 31st March from 09:30 to 6pm.

    I thought this was a funny piece of info.....In May 1997, the 'unexpected' opening of Tower Bridge divided the motorcade of US President Bill Clinton!!!


    ALL DAY HOP-ON-OFF- CRUISE...
    With the LONDON PASS- FREE all day hop-on-hop-off ticket - The Red Rover Ticket
    NORMAL TICKET.....Adult: £13.50 Child: £6.50

    THE TOWER BRIDGE
    FREE ADMISSION WITH LONDON PASS
    NORMAL PRICE ..... Adult: £8.00 Child: £3.00

    OPEN....
    1st April to 30th September: 10:00 - 6.30PM
    1st October to 31st March: 9:30 - 6PM
    (last admission 1 hour before closing)
    Closed: 24th to 26th December

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    Observation boat different perspective

    by fred98115 Written Jul 9, 2011

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    St. Stephen's Tower (the bell Big Ben is inside)
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    The Thames was a primary mode of transportation in olden days, so riding one of the observation boats connects you to how Londoners 500 years ago saw their town. In our case, it was a mode to take us from the Tower to the London Eye, a trip of about an hour or so one the river. We were able to see the major highlights, fortunately from a side seat since we were one the first on the boat. It is glass covered, however, so everyone can see, but if you want to take pictures then try for a window (river) seat. This is a nice ride, but, honestly, not our highest priority the next time we are in London.

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    View From The River...

    by Donna_in_India Updated Jun 3, 2011

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    We took the Thames River cruise that was included with our Big Bus Tour. It started at Tower of London pier and ended at the pier by the Parliament. It was absolutely freezing in early June but we enjoyed it anyway. Not very long, but enough of a taste of the river for me.

    Departure times vary, but are approximately every 20 minutes in the Summer and every 30-40 minutes in the Winter. You can board Tower Pier, Westminster Pier or Waterloo Pier.

    There are several other companies that offer river tours as well:

    Bateaux London - 7695 1800 - has dinner cruises with cabaret and dancing and a Sunday lunch cruise.

    Thames Cruises - 7928 9009 - has evening disco cruises.

    Thames River Services - 7930 4097 - has trips between Westminster and Greenwich.

    Catamaran Cruisers - 7695 1800 - departss Westminster Pier hourly (11 a.m. - 6 p.m.) for a 50 minute circular cruise with commentary in 9 languages. Also point-to-point hop-on/hop-off throught the day with boats leaving from Embankment, Waterloo (London Eye), Bankside, Tower, and Greenwich.

    I've previously taken the trip to Greenwich which I really enjoyed. I recommend taking even a short cruise to get a different perspective of London from the river.

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    Splash your Cash!

    by scottishvisitor Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Throw a party in style
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    We didn't go on a river cruise on this trip (far too cold brrrrrr) & we couldn't find another 40 people to book with. The cruise costs 8.95 + vat & sails with a minimum of 40 people. A luncheon cruise is available for 27.95. If you prefer to take a bus tour you ticket price will incude a river cruise but on a much more modest vessel.
    If you have plenty of cash you can charter the boats for Weddings or Parties check out the website for prices.

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    HMS Belfast

    by Blatherwick Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    HMS Belfast

    The HMS Belfast is a museum located on the Thames River that has been administered by the Imperial War Museum since 1971. In it's service life it was a Town-class light cruiser of the Royal Navy. Launched in March 1938, Belfast was the largest light cruiser ever built for the Royal Navy, with a displacement of 13,175 tons. She served with distinction during World War II, in which she participated in the sinking of the German battleship Scharnhorst, the Normandy Landings, and the force of Operation Zipper (intended to eject the Japanese from Malaya but turned into a relief operation by the Japanese surrender). During the last days of the war in Europe, she was spotted in the North Sea by a German submarine without being aware of it. The German captain decided not to fire however, since the war was almost over.

    She also served in the Korean War, in which her guns were used for shore bombardment in support of United Nations forces. She was decommissioned in 1963.

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    Thames River cruise

    by Dabs Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    For a different perspective on London, take one of the many boat cruises that leave from either Westminster pier or Embankment pier.

    We had a beautiful sunny day so we went on the Catamaran Cruiser round trip from Embankment to Greenwich as it was included on the London Pass. Our cruise was narrated by a person (who pointed out at every opportunity that he was doing commentary for the tips) who did provide some interesting information about the sights along the river.

    Along the way you will see the London Eye and Houses of Parliament as it swings back to Westminster before heading to Greenwich, the Tower of London, OXO tower, the very modern city hall and much of the Gherkin and St. Paul's, go beneath the Tower Bridge, London Bridge and the wobbly bridge (Millennium Bridge). Passengers can get off at Greenwich or stay on board for the return journey.

    Seating was on the open air top deck and I believe there may have been more seating below deck. Try and get a seat along the railing if you want to snap photos.

    Alternatively, you can also use the Thames Clipper, which is a commuter service that goes as far as the O2 which is just past Greenwich. No commentary on this boat but it's more economical, you can save even more on the fare if you have a travelcard or Oyster card for London transport.

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    St Katharine's Dock

    by phil_uk_net Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    St Katharine's Dock

    A peaceful little haven by the Tower. Like all docks along the Thames this was once a real, working dock up until fairly recently - in relative terms. In its heyday cargoes of ivory, shells, sugar, marble, wines, rubber, carpets, fragrant spices and perfumes would be brought into the capital from far-off, exotic sounding places.
    With the advent of containers and the demise of traditional shipping techniques the docks were closed in the 60's and 70's. They lay dormant for a while until development of the area commenced, leading to what we have today.
    The dock now exists as a yacht haven, residential and leisure area. There are small shops, bars and restaurants as well as some expensive real-estate. A very pleasant place to spend a few hours and eat lunch, perhaps.

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