Address: River Thames

You only need to walk along the Thames to realise how busy and popular Thames cruises are – and the reason is obvious. The river runs through one of the world’s greatest cities, and with it’s incredible history, London landmarks are seen in almost every direction, certainly around the centre.

There are the obvious ones – Tower Bridge, with the Tower of London next to it, City Hall, the Shard, Tate Modern and The Houses of Parliament. Others may not be so prominent and here it pays to do your homework. There’s St Paul’s, The Gherkin, The Monument, Cleopatra’s Needle, the Golden Hinde, the National Theatre and Shakespeare’s Globe. These are but a few of dozens of famous London landmarks that can be seen along the river.

There are the bridges too, all with marvellous history – from London Bridge, that was the only crossing over the Thames a thousand years ago to the recently built Millennium Bridge.

The cruises tend to concentrate around the central part of the city, often from the Houses of Parliament to Tower Bridge, but there are a number of services that offer different routes with different vessels and there are a number of ferry stops at piers along the way. A popular vessel is the large, fast Sea Cat which tends to run from around the Thames Barrier to the centre. Smaller craft can go up at least as far as Hampton Court. A new addition is the RIG speed craft. Strapped in with no cover, these give a great, fast, exhilarating view of the river and a fun experience. Ferries usually sell refreshments.

The pictures below are from a Sea Cat ferry from Woolwich to Embankment, short walk up to Westminster Pier, ferry to Hampton Court and return. The Woolwich ferry cost around £12 return and took about 20 minutes one way, the Hampton Court trip cost around £24 return and took about 6 hours for the return journey. The RIG ride costs around £50 per person.

Click on the pics below for an enlarged view and use the arrow towards the right edge of each pic to go on to the next.