Boats and City Cruises, London
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.
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.
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 :
"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!
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!
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
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.
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.
Ticket for a City Cruises boat ride.
Normal price was 5.20 pound, so with my travel card I payed 3.46 pound.
I think it is great to travel the city form one end to the other end above the ground, instead then going underground. There isn't much to see under the ground, if you are lucky you might encounter a lost mole . . .
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.
A free Thames boat ride is included in The Big Bus hop on hop off bus ticket. We arrived in London during a tube strike, and we found that the boats were free at that time and some people were using them for transportation along the river. This is a good way to get out of the traffic. You can also get a boat to or from Greenwich.
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)
London has finally woken up to the fact that with the River Thames running through it, a perfectly straightforward transport hub is 'on tap'. There has always been the tourist jaunts from Central London east to Greenwich or west to Richmond. But know there are a series of relatively fast boat connections all along the river at strategic points. Quick and enjoyable, giving you the opportunity to see many of the key sights.
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
The Thames is the backbone of London as it winds its way right through the middle of the city.
As well as enjoyable walks along the various embankments it is also a pleasurable method of getting around.
There are several services including one between Tate Modern & Tate Britain (South bank & Millbank)
This one is a general purpose one which goes by a lot of major sights.
A whole day ticket is around £16