Boats and City Cruises, London
the thames river, being theriver where the city of London was built, is a top attraction and there are many cruises around the thames like the Thames Rib Cruise or the Thames Clippers but the best thames river cruise is at night and is best done via the City Cruises, one of the largest touring company which has daily day and night cruises of the thames river of which the Thames River Circular Tour is the most popular option whreing you have a 45 minute guided tour of the Thames from the Tower of London Pier to the various attractions on the thames river like the various bridges, Big Ben and Houses of Parliament, London Eye and more. A Price of a cruise is 13 GBP (11.70 GBP online) for adults and 6.50 GBP for children 4 to 16 (5.50 GBP online).
You can buy the tickets online or at their stalls at the Tower of London Pier from 10:00 am to 10:00 pm everyday (but take the night cruises are they are more spectacular).
DUKWs were amphibious vehicles used in WW2 and were, and are, known as DUKS hence the name of the tours that take place on road and river in central London.
There are a number of tours available but I think most people take the classic London tour where you see many famous landmarks. Tours run every day except 24th, 25th, 26th, 31st Dec and 1st Jan.
Not cheap though - an adult ticket costs £24.
A great piece of London transportation means is the Solar Shuttle boat over the Serpentine pond in Hyde Park.
At the start in 2008 it was the first UK electrically-powered passenger ferry driven entirely by energy from the sun.
One way ticket: 5 pounds.
Weekends, school and public holidays between March and the end of September and full-time during June, July and August from 1200 hours. The service runs approximately every half-hour until dusk.
The London Water Bus Co. maintains tours on the smaller canals in the North of London with the characteristic small longboats.
Destinations are Camden town, London Zoo and "Little Venice".
Single trip from Camden to the London Zoo (incl Zoo entrance): £24.00; return single trip: £4.10
Single trip from Camden to Little Venice: £8.20; return trip: £11.50
Departure address at Camden:
58 Camden Lock Place - London NW1 8AF (At the Camden Lock Market).
On a recent visit to Greenwich we took a new (for us) route – we travelled on the Thames Clipper service. This is a boat bus service and a great way to travel on the river. You don’t get the commentary that you get on the sightseeing cruises but you don’t pay their high prices either – and you can even use your Oyster Card.
There are five regular routes which between them cover the river from Putney in the west to Woolwich in the east, although to cover that distance you’ll have to change in central London. We boarded the RB1 service at the London Eye and travelled the approximately 35 minutes to Greenwich Pier. Other useful routes include the west London one which links Putney and Chelsea to the centre, and the “Tate to Tate” which runs between the two buildings of that gallery.
Boats on most routes run every 20 minutes during the day, more frequently during the peak rush hour times, and less frequently after 9.00 pm. There is no need to book in advance – just turn up and pay at the booth on the pier, or use your Oyster card, which entitles you to a 10% discount on the fares. A single fare on the longer routes (west London to the centre or central London to Woolwich) is £6.80 or £6.12 with the Oyster discount. You can also get return tickets (but we planned to return on the DLR – see next tip) and River Roamers if you plan to use the service a lot.
Seating on board is plentiful (maybe les so during the rush hour) and there is a snack bar where you can buy coffees, beer and wine, crisps and chocolate etc. The boats are fully wheelchair accessible and there are accessible toilets on board. All in all, this is a very comfortable way to travel.
London maybe one of the world's most expensive cities, but this is a great freebie if you want to see the sun set over london.
The Woolwich to North Woolwich ferry has been operating in some form or other since the 14th century, but as a free service it has only be going for about 120 years ! The three boats all date from the 1960's, although only 2 operate at any one time. This provides a 10 minute service from 6 am until about 8 pm. Cars and lorries may have to queue at peak times, but foot passengers never have to.
Not really worth going visiting in it's own right, but if you are heading for woolwich barracks of just like ferries...then you are in luck. Photographers may also appreciate the setting sun over the towerblocks of docklands with the city of London in the far background.
Cost to the tax payer ? about 7 million quid a year - making your journey a nicely subsidised 6 pounds or so.
Little boys of any age will of course just enjoy see this great bit of kit at work.
A boat service operates on the river Thames between the two Tate galleries (Tate Britain and Tate Modern) and makes a very pleasant way to travel between the two sites. It avoids the crowds that will be encountered on the underground and it is direct (you would have to change lines to get from Pimlico to any of the tube stations near the Tate Modern). The boat serves Millbank pier at the Tate Britain end and the Bankside pier at the Tate Modern end. At Bankside there is a kiosk where you can buy tickets, but if you are boarding at the Millbank pier there is no kiosk so you buy your ticket on the boat. There is a discount on the ticket price if you have a London travelcard.
The boat is also good for some sightseeing as it passes a number of key landmarks on the way.
We decided that a boat ride would be a fun way to get back to London from Greenwich, so we took the Thames Clipper. The clipper is a high speed catamaran that is used for commuting on the Thames River. From Greenwich to London, the trip took about 30 minutes and there were about eight stops along the way.
The seating is comfortable and there is plenty of room to move around. You can even sit outside in the back of the boat on a nice day to enjoy the view. Snacks and beverages are available onboard.
The cost was a reasonable GBP 5.50, 1/3 off with our travelcard.
Because on the WE in August there was no service on the Circle and District lines, resulting in very crowded nr 15 bus reaching the Tower of London, I choose to do the trip on the river Thames.
My choice of City Cruises was based on the fact that there was a direct boat every half hour from 09.15h on and last return (summer) at 21 h. The boats are big enough (200 passengers or more) with large upper deck with seats for sight seeing (plus toilets and bar).
A return ticket Westminster pier - Tower pier is 11 £; for 16 and more than 60 yr old the return fare is 5.50 £. (not much more than bus or tube). The tickets desk is at the pier entrance.
I found it very pleasant. A member of the staff was commenting the monuments, bridges and the mostly contemporary architecture buildings along the river sides. He did it with sense of humor.
This trip confirmed what I wrote here in 2009 under "favorites - architectural":
There is big contrast - an architectural shock - between modern buildings and older ones crammed on each other. Some of this contemporary architecture is interesting but the global feeling is that of great heterogeneity.
Compare a cruise on the Thames and one on the Seine in Paris and you will understand what I mean.
On the other hand I must say that the contrast can be amusing. When the boat turns at the Tower pier you will seen on the left the medieval Tower of London, in front the Tower Bridge from the end of the 19th c. and on the right the City Hall from 2002 also called the onion or motorcycle helmet.
There are several boat services on the Thames. For details look on the "Transport for London" website www.tfl.gov.uk getting around - river
There is a detailed list of River Bus services and River Tours services.
A trip from Westminster to Greenwich is a pleasant way to pass time and see London. Most of the boats have a guide who points out the monuments and places of interest. Some are hilarious in the way they present their information, and may ask for a voluntary collection at the end of the tour.
Thames River Services is one company that allows passengers to get off and resume later. We had decided to do the round trip to Greenwich. We boarded at Festival Hall, and changed boats at St. Katherine's Pier and then continued to Greenwich, returning finally to Westminster Pier. Toilets and a bar are available on board. A cup of tea was £1.75
The trip is not cheap. We paid £7.25 as we were senior citizens, which is about half the full fare. The trip should last 3 hours if non-stop.
Boats leave every hour , starting at 10.00 am at Westminster and the last boat leaves Greenwich at 6.00pm
a nice way to get from the top of Edgeware Road/Maidavale, or from the zoo at Regents Park also, to the Camden markets is by canal boat that runs along the canal from Little Venice stopping at the zoo as the canal boat company has its own moor and entrance gate into the zoo, and along to the Camden lock where you can walk around the corner to the Camden markets. - or vice versa going in the opposite direction.
Following an important industrial transport route first opened in 1820 this is a lovely way to see a unique and interesting view of London.
The 4 canal boats that the London Waterbus Company uses along this route are converted traditional working narrow boats, and three of them are on the National Register of Historic Ships.
The Summer timetable runs from April to September with trips every day - the first days of April the boats run 1-2 hourly from 11am to 4pm - from the 6th of April boats run hourly from 10am to 5pm.
In October the boats run Thursdays to Sundays
The Winter timetable runs from November to March with weekends trips only.
See the website for the exact timetable and current prices.
Little Venice to the London Zoo takes approximately 35 minutes and to the Camden Lock approximately 50 minutes.
Tickets are sold on board - most debit and credit cards are accepted in addition to cash of course!
Groups of 20 can be booked with discounts for over 20 - need to be be booked at least 10 days in advance
Their brochures advise certain restrictions:
- pets, guide dogs, bicycles or other wheeled items cannot be taken on board - wheelchairs can only be taken if they can be folded (and there are steps to negotiate to get down into the boats)
- only lightweight, small and folded flat pushchairs or child buggies can be taken - and will be stored on the roof during the trip
Using the Thames for getting around is often overlooked by visitors and Londoners alike.
The services that are now running, usually offer 33% discount to those with travelcard.
Of Most use to tourists is probably the 'Tate to Tate' sevice, that also stops at Waterloo. At 12 pounds for a 'river roamer (8 pounds witha travelcard), it allows 3 return journeys in a day - allowing plenty of time to get your waterbourne photographs.
There are also a couple of useful services to Greenwich, for example from Westminster pier.
The service from Savoy (off the Strand) for the short hop to St Katherines dock and onto Canary Wharf means you can sail under Tower Bridge for as little as Two pounds 70p
For full details of times, prices and operators check out the website below :
One must try an adrenaline rush ride on a rigid inflatable boat on the Thames. See the major sights from another fun perspective :)
Make no mistake - the river is quite wide, and meanders a lot in London itself, so a ride from Waterloo (London Eye) to the Thames barriers is quite a distance!
Float past the landmarks like Houses of Parliament, Savoy Hotel, the South Bank, and all the bridges, including London & Tower Bridge (the one that opens up), pass by Tower of London, then Greenwich & the O2 Dome; next brace yourself for a fast ride out through the Thames Barriers!!
This is the only company taking you through these flood barriers, so it's a unique experience.
You get protective jackets, and photos taken too! Safety features are second to none, and the boats are very powerful!
Board at: The London Eye Millennium Pier, London, SE1 7PB; sails every hour, including weekends! Great in ANY weather!
Prices from 22ukp per adult for 90 minutes of serious FUN.
There are boat stops that take commuters up and down the Thames from outlying areas to inner London such as from Putney to Westminster - but this sign was intriguing to see while we were at the Tate Britain Musuem - that the two Tates have boats that travel to and from each other ie the Tate Britain Museum with the Tate Modern Museum which are both beside the Thames River
It is so easy to get from Tate Britain to Tate modern [or vice versa].
The boat goes from outside either gallery.
The boat runs from around 10AM to 5PM seven days a week. Closed 24th - 26th December.
The single price is £5 for adults £2.50 for children 5-16 under 5’s free. A family ticket [2 adults 2 children] is £10.
The boat passes many famous London landmarks such as Houses of Parliament, the London Eye, St Paul’s cathedral and the Globe Theatre.