London’s two thousand year history and countless cultural institutions and museums have led to a huge number of walking and public transport tours all across the city. From the Jack The Ripper Tours of London’s East End to free tours of the Houses of Parliament, guests of the Montcalm London Marble Arch are spoilt for choice when it comes to ways to learn about the city.
One of the most sought after tours of London has to be the Riverboat Cruise. The multifaceted cruise is not just used for transport along the river, but tours of London’s riverside landmarks as well. Whether you’re on a spa break in London for the first time or you’ve visited the English capital before, seeing the city from the river will provide you with a new perspective on London. This blog will outline everything you need to know about the Thames Riverboat Cruise as well as other tours you can take on the Thames.
What Is The London Riverboat Cruise?
The Thames Riverboat Cruise provides visitors with a chance to see many of the famous landmarks along the London leg of the Thames. Departing from Westminster, the London Eye, Tower and Greenwich, the London Riverboat Cruise allows for hop on and hop off journeys so you can stay on for as long as you like.
Running every 40 minutes from each of the piers, guests of 5 star hotels in London’s West End needn’t worry about missing one. The first cruises depart from Westminster and tower piers at 10am, with London Eye Pier at 10.10am and Greenwich at 10.30am. The last boat of the day from Greenwich leaves at 6.30 pm, and if you want to travel all the way from Westminster to Greenwich, your last chance is at 4.40pm daily.
If you’re planning to travel all the way to Greenwich from Westminster, then your journey time will be 70 minutes long. For a return, it’s double that.
There are varying prices that you can pay with contactless payment cards at each of the four piers. For one stop, you’ll be paying £10.75 for adults and £7.00 for children. For the whole journey between Westminster and Greenwich – or the reverse – an adult ticket costs £13.25 and £8.25 for children, making it far better value for money than a just one stop.
A return ticket from Greenwich to Westminster is even better value for money, costing just £17.50 for adults and £11.25 for children. It’s also worth pointing out that an unlimited hop-on-hop-off ticket costs £19.50 for adults and £12.75 for children, giving you free reign to get on and off the boat throughout the day.
It’s worth pointing out that the latter deal mentioned above is available through the London Pass. These are now digital and so are purchased in the form of an app. The London Pass comes at a variety of prices depending on how many days you purchase it for. It’s worth noting that the more days you purchase, the better value for money you’ll be getting. The London Pass offers visitors not only the Thames Cruise Tour, but nearly 100 other attractions and museums in the city that would otherwise be ticketed.
What You’ll See
Between Westminster and Greenwich lie some of London’s most famous London landmarks. From Tower Bridge and the Tower of London to the Golden Hinde and the Cutty Sark, the Riverboat Cruise will provide an all in one way to tick off the landmarks on your London visit list.
Not only are there plenty of sights to see, but a recorded audio guide accompanies the tour from Westminster to Greenwich, providing insight and history concerning many of the most prominent landmarks. This guide is also available in six other languages – Italian, French, German, Russian, Japanese, Spanish and Chinese.
Layout Of The Boat
Each boat consists of an indoor lower deck alongside seating and a bar. There are also usually open air upper decks that provide a panoramic view of the river and surrounding landmarks. Watch out for the seagulls though!
Food And Drink
Every boat comes with a bar providing hot drinks and alcoholic beverages alongside snacks and sandwiches. It may not have the rustic charm of the Crescent Restaurant & Lounge, but if it’s nearing lunchtime or you’re getting thirsty during the cruise, the bar definitely does the trick.
If you’re looking for something a little bit fancier, the Thames Cruise also has special Afternoon Tea Cruises that provide refreshments and a hearty helping of jam, scones, finger sandwiches and cakes to wash down the pretty views. It’ll cost a little extra, but the experience is unforgettable, perfect for a romantic day out or a truly British celebration with loved ones.
Alternative River Tours And Cruises
If you’ve already set sail on the London Riverboat Cruise but have an itch to get back on the water, there are a wealth of other options for river tours. Below are just a few of them.
Utilising the RIB motorboat used by Thames river guards and rescue vessels, the Thames Rockets are a series of motorboats that allow for high octane thrills along the Thames. Guests will be in safe hands, and even safer life jackets, meaning that this thrill a minute ride is safe and exciting. There are a number of speeds and running times for these tours, all of which are overseen and narrated by friendly and funny drivers.
Bateaux London Dinner Cruise
The Thames Riverboat Cruise may be fancy, but the Bateaux London Dinner Cruise takes waterbound high society to whole new levels. These glass boats accommodate stunning views of the Thames, all from your dinner table, that’s if you’re not distracted by the three course dinner and live entertainment on board.
One-Day River Roamer By Uber Boat
More like a water taxi, the Uber Clippers run every 20 minute from dozens of piers along the Thames. You may not get the tour guide narration of the Thames Riverboat Cruise, but it’ll get you from point A to point B in the blink of an eye, all with the same astounding views.