Passenger services on the River Thames are now regulated by London's transport authority - Transport for London (TfL). This has meant that several scheduled "commuter" and riverbus style services have become established in recent years, and there is better co-ordination of the tourist and sightseeing services.
There is lots of information on boat services on TfL's London River Services website (see link below). This has route maps and details of all the sightseeing and commuter services as well as some of the dinner cruise operators.
Whilst river services are not included in the Travelcard scheme, a valid card will get you a 1/3rd discount off the fare for most scheduled riverbus services and many of the sightseeing cruises.
Two scheduled routes which are particularly useful are run by Thames Clippers, using a fleet of fast water-jet powered catamarans (see pictures):
- "Tate-to-Tate": Millbank (for Tate Britain, near Westminster) - Waterloo (London Eye) - Bankside (for Tate Modern); every 40 minutes
- "Commuter service": Embankment - Bankside - London Bridge - Tower Bridge - Canary Wharf - Greenwich - Woolwich; every 15-40 minutes, depending upon the time of day.
They run a good, efficient service using modern, comfortable boats, on some of which you can sit outside on the rear deck as you whizz along the river at 28 knots (52 km/hr, 32 miles/hr) - great fun on a nice day. I occasionally use this service to go home from work, as there are piers very close to where I work and live. We also sometimes use it to go into town at the weekends. It is not usually the fastest option available, but it is certainly the nicest!
There is a very good boat service along the Thames in London that let's you move around many points of interest comfortably enjoying an unique scenery. With a travelcard you get a 1/3 off in your ticket. The most interesting places you can reach are:
- London Barrier
- Cannary Wharf
- Tower of London
If you want to go far, Kew Gardens or Hampton Court Palace are also beautiful destinations by boat
Fancy a trip under all those famous London bridges or just a relaxing cruise along the Thames then look below for times and options.
Or for the quirky experience try the AMPHIBIOUS TOUR lasts 75 minutes from by the London Eye.
Cruises depart every 40 mins.
Approx. journey times:
Westminster/Waterloo 30 mins > Tower 30 mins > Greenwich
Complete round trip from any pier: 2 hrs 30 mins
In the lower saloon of City Cruises Riverliners you’ll find 2 bars serving hot and cold snacks, light refreshments and alcoholic beverages, throughout your trip.
return travel: £6.00 (discount)
Boats in London are more important than they would seem to the distant traveller. There are many canals running all over the city, if not only for the River Thames which has been important since the biggining of time (nothing less, nothing more! ;-) ). You can take the boat as a bus with the London River Services http://www.tfl.gov.uk/river/map.shtml , as a day-trip http://www.canalmuseum.org.uk/boat-trip.htm , or to plan a party http://www.cpbs.co.uk/ . And if these are not enough, here is where you'll find plenty more... http://www.viewlondon.co.uk/home_feat_where_boats.asp
P.S. Go see the official website by the Environment Agency down below...
There are many tour boats catering to tourists, providing guided tours up and down the Thames River. These go slowly and can take an hour or more to get from the West End to Greenwich (or back), a popular one-way route for tourists.
If you would like to spend less time on the boat, see just as much scenery, and can live without the commentary, I recommend taking the regular commuter high-speed ferries. As with the other operators, these are integrated into Transport for London's web site. For the route mentioned, check out the "Savoy to Woolwich Arsenal" route map under "Maps", "Route maps", listed under "Commuter services". Prices will be similar in most cases.
The boats themselves are run by Thames Clippers. Note that the TfL schedule is easier to follow than Thames Clippers'.
"The Woolwich Ferry service is a free daily service. It completes the orbital route to the east of London by linking the North Circular Road (A 406 / A117) and South Circular Road (A205). The service is operated by Greenwich Council and is part of the Transport for London Road Network." Tfl website info.
It runs from 6am to 8pm Mon-Sat from Silvertown-Woolwich (and vice versa of course). During the week there are two services running but at weekends only one, so you queue for longer. As well as cars and bikes, this is also a foot passenger ferry. The crossing takes approx 5 mins.
I will add a link to the Greenwich Borough Council (who run the ferry) shortly, but at the moment it doesn't seem to be working properly!
You can get a river-trip, go to Greenvich or Tower... From Westminster tube-station.
Price - about 8 pounds, you'll get 30 discount with travel card
Collect your pass from The Original Tour (bus) on the day of travel.
Choose between the Thames Circular non-stop 50-minute cruise with a professional multi-lingual commentary in 7 languages or the Point-to-Point cruise, towards Greenwich or Waterloo, with the live "Captain's commentary" by the Catmaran crew. Point-to-point cruises are available from Embankment, Waterloo, Bankside, Tower and Greenwich Piers. A great way to explore London's riverside attractions in greater detail!. N.B. You must hand in your 'River pass' when making your first journey.
There are several services that offer trips in and around the Thames and there are river taxis for the more intrepid traveler. they are slower than the tube but offer scenery you would not otherwise see.
I have listed a catamaran cruise that I took. I have taken several and this is the most steady of the vessels I ahve been on. they also serves cold snacks, drinks and offer a photo service.
In every great city with water nearby, it's great to get out onto the water to take a peek at the land. In London, take one of the boats that go between Westminster Pier and the London Tower.
If you purchase a ticket on the Big Bus, a one way ride comes with your ticket. We like to use at the very end of our time.
OK, you are seriously limited by the destination you can actually go directly to by boat, but you really don't have to worry about congestion!
A popular route is to go by boat to Greenwich (where the Cutty Sark boat and Millennium Dome are) from just outside the Houses of Parliament, but there are many other stops on the route.
I can't remember exact prices, but I seem to remember prices in the region of £7 to £10. It isn't especially cheap, but several of the boats give you a commentary of what you are seeing as you go down the river, and there is a lot to see!
For an enjoyable afternoon trip, try a boatride on the River Thames. We started at Westminster Pier and rode up to Greenwich and back. You get to sit and see the London Eye, Royal Festival Hall, Cleopatra's Needle, Globe Theatre, HMS Belfast, Traitor's Gate, and Tower Bridge. All can be seen quicker than by foot and you get to listen to a humorous commentary. Relaxing and inexpensive. We went when it was raining and we loved it!!
If there is as much money in your wallet as there is water flowing through the Thames, you might be seduced to take a trip on a cruise ship combined with lunch or even more romantic: combined with dinner while you enjoy London by night. You can book a trip at Bateaux London at Embankment Pier, Victoria Embankment. Phone +44 (0)20 7925 2215.
Trainstation: Charing Cross
Don’t worry, there are different kind of boats and boat trips and even with a smaller budget you might want to enjoy a trip on the Thames, if not by cruise ship, you can do it a cheaper way: with just touring without trop de tralala ! On the website you will find different formulas to take trips from and to different locations.
The boat on the picture is just departing from Embankment Pier and passing underneath the Hungerford Bridge.
This is a great way to see a different type of London.
At Little Venice (nearest tube Warwick Avenue) you can jump on a river boat and sail to Camden Lock. There's also a stop at the London Zoo.
I can highly recommend it. I loved it!
Hi i took a cruise on the river Thames and found it to be a great way to see some of the sights of london ,like parliment house ,st pauls cathedral and all with commentary its great,youll find it easy to get to with the tube get of at waterloo or the embankment stations.