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
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.
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.
March to October 10am - 6pm....Last admission 5pm
closed 24, 25, and 26 December
ADMISSION INCLUDES FREE AUDIO GUIDE...
Child (under 16) Free
Concessions £11.20 (Senior, Student, Disabled)
FREE ADMISSION WITH THE LONDON PASS
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!
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
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
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
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£.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Update February 2011: 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. 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 £8 and £10 for an adult (one way), with discounts for children, senior citizens and family groups.
I took a river cruise from Greenwich to Westminster twice and found that it was a pretty cool way to see the city.
You get a different perspective of a city when you see from the river.
The company i went with is called city cruises and they were quite good.
The tour guide was very funny eventhough he claimed he wasen't a tourguide.
I have done the trip with people of all ages and it really suits all, so I would especially recommend it to families.