Exploring London’s rich tapestry of history and culture can be an overwhelming task, but few experiences encapsulate the city’s essence quite like a Thames River cruise. The iconic waterway winds its way through the heart of London, offering unparalleled views of the city’s most famous landmarks and providing an immersive journey through centuries of history. Keep reading to discover some of the top Thames River cruise experiences that offer a unique perspective on London!
Top London Thames River Cruise Experiences
For an adrenaline-fueled experience, consider a high-speed RIB (rigid inflatable boat) tour. Hold on tight as you zip past iconic sights while learning about the city’s history from a different perspective. These exhilarating rides are perfect for thrill-seekers looking for an unconventional Thames adventure.
- Speedboat Tour Through Heart of the City (45 minutes): Race through London’s iconic landmarks on a high-speed power boat cruise from Tower Bridge Quay, capturing selfies under Tower Bridge and experiencing an adrenaline-fueled tour past St. Paul’s Cathedral, Canary Wharf, and the Cutty Sark.
- River Thames Speed Boat Tour (50 minutes): Embark on a River Thames boat cruise led by a witty comedian guide, weaving cheerful anecdotes into historical narrations as you glide past landmarks like the London Eye and Globe Theatre.
- Thames Barrier Speedboat Tour (70 minutes): Hop on a speedboat departing from Embankment Pier for a thrilling round trip adventure up to the Thames Barrier, complete with live guided commentary and exhilarating high-speed action.
- Canary Wharf Speedboat Tour (45 minutes): Experience the ultimate adrenaline rush aboard a high-speed vessel as you twist and turn through London’s sights, accompanied by a chart-topping playlist, during a round-trip adventure along the Thames from Embankment Pier.
- Ultimate Tower RIB Blast Speedboat Tour (40 minutes): Experience the pinnacle of adrenaline on a London sightseeing speedboat ride, where you’ll twist and turn at exhilarating speeds while enjoying a chart-topping playlist during a scenic tour to the Thames Barrier and back.
- River Thames Speedboat Ride (50 minutes): Speed through London’s iconic Thames landmarks on a thrilling sightseeing speedboat cruise, catching glimpses of Big Ben, the Shard, and Tower Bridge, culminating at Westminster Pier for a chance to capture unforgettable moments.
- Break the Barrier Speed Boat Ride (45 minutes): Feel the thrill of a speedboat adventure through London’s landmarks, guided by an entertaining team and custom engines, showcasing iconic sights from Greenwich to the Thames Barrier, leaving you craving more excitement.
- Private Speedboat Hire through the Heart of The City (45 minutes): Charter a private speedboat accommodating up to 12 passengers for a high-speed adventure through London’s heart, offering a unique perspective of the city from the river.
Classic Sightseeing Cruises
Hop aboard a classic sightseeing cruise to witness London’s iconic landmarks from the comfort of a boat. Pass by the Tower of London, the Houses of Parliament with Big Ben, the London Eye, and the majestic Tower Bridge. These cruises often come with informative commentary, providing fascinating insights into the history and significance of each landmark.
- Westminster to Tower Bridge River Thames Cruise (30 minutes): Explore the landmarks of London along the River Thames with a sightseeing cruise, journeying from Westminster Pier to Embankment Pier, Festival Pier, Bankside Pier, and Tower Bridge Quay.
- River Thames Sightseeing Cruise: Take a single cruise along the River Thames for a different perspective of London, departing from various piers such as Westminster, Tower, and Greenwich.
Dinner and Sunset Cruises
You can combine breathtaking views with fine dining on a dinner cruise along the Thames with a dinner cruise. As the sun sets and London lights up, indulge in a delectable meal while passing by the illuminated riverside landmarks. It’s an unforgettable way to experience the city’s beauty and culinary delights simultaneously.
- River Thames Dinner Cruise (3 hours): Savor a delightful dinner cruise along the River Thames, relishing a four-course meal while enjoying a live cabaret performance. Dance the night away as you cruise past London’s illuminated monuments, traveling as far as the Thames Barrier and back.
- River Thames Evening Cruise with Bubbly and Canapés (2 hours): Embark on a Thames cruise after sunset to relish London’s riverside. Begin your evening with a glass of bubbly and delectable canapés, accompanied by live performers showcasing a selection of songs.
- River Thames Dinner Cruise with Live Jazz (3 hours): Indulge in a sophisticated night out in London with fine dining, captivating live music, a warm atmosphere, and unparalleled views. Perfect for fans of jazz!
Afternoon Tea Cruise
Savouring the quintessential British experience of afternoon tea aboard a luxury riverboat is definitely a quite fun way to see the city. Delight in an array of sandwiches, scones, pastries, and, of course, a selection of teas while taking in the sights of London’s skyline. The elegant ambiance coupled with stunning views creates an enchanting afternoon on the water. This Afternoon Tea Cruise on the River Thames invites you to indulge in one of England’s finest traditions, offering a 1.5-hour experience. As you sail along, relish the sight of the city’s most historic buildings while delighting in a pot of tea, served alongside a selection of delicate sandwiches and cakes.
London River Thames Lunch Cruise
With this 105-minute lunch cruise along the River Thames, you can embark on a unique London experience. Indulge in a delectable 2-course lunch, complete with tea or coffee, all while surrounded by the iconic sights of London. Departing from Tower Pier, nestled beside the historic Tower of London and enchanting Tower Bridge, the cruise takes you past landmarks like the Houses of Parliament, the London Eye, and the striking Shard pyramid at London Bridge. Delight your taste buds with thyme, rosemary, and lemon-roasted Chicken Supreme, accompanied by creamy leek, tarragon, and mushroom sauce, Potato au Gratin, and seasonal vegetables. The culinary journey continues with a dessert of warm, dark chocolate fondant paired with berry compote and vanilla sauce. Throughout the cruise, the bar services offer a variety of soft and alcoholic drinks, while an informative audio commentary provides fascinating insights into London’s history. The cruise concludes at the original departure point, ensuring a memorable and flavorful journey along the Thames.
Thames Cruises Combined with London Activities
You can enhance your London exploration by combining Thames River cruises with city activities. Enjoy a full day tour, visiting Westminster Abbey, witnessing the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace, and taking guided tours of the Tower of London, followed by a delightful Thames River Cruise.
- Tower of London Tour & Thames River Cruise (3 hours): Witness the renowned opening ceremony and behold the Crown Jewels before the crowds, followed by a comprehensive guided tour of the Tower by an expert. Additionally, receive a one-way river cruise ticket for added exploration.
- Westminster Walking Tour & Thames Boat Ride (4 hours): Discover London’s iconic Westminster area, where you’ll encounter 20 must-see sights in a single tour, including Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, and Big Ben. Conclude your exploration with a leisurely cruise down the Thames, reveling in the fantastic views along the way.
- Tower and Westminster Tour with River Cruise (8 hours): Embark on London’s essential tour, exploring the city’s most popular attractions, including the Tower of London, Westminster Abbey, and a comfortable riverboat cruise along the Thames, among many other highlights.
- Ghost Walk and River Thames Boat Ride (2 hours): Experience both thrills and chills on a walking tour through the darkest chapters of London’s history, exploring haunted houses, venturing into royal parks, and concluding with a boat ride on the River Thames.
- Westminster Tour, River Cruise, and Tower of London (7 hours): Embark on the ultimate London tour, immersing yourself in the city’s history and culture through a combination of walking and boat exploration. Witness 20 diverse historical and cultural sights during a walking tour in the Westminster area, a Thames boat tour, and a visit to the iconic Tower of London.
- London in One Day Tour with River Cruise (1 day): Experience a comprehensive day tour of London, including visits to Westminster Abbey, the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace, guided tours of St Paul’s Cathedral and the Tower of London, and a Thames River Cruise.
Thames Cruises Combined with London Bus Tours
Combining London bus tours with Thames cruises is the perfect way to experience the best of both worlds, offering a delightful fusion of river and road exploration. These experiences weave together the allure of the river and the charm of the iconic London buses, providing an unforgettable tour of the city’s rich history and cultural gems.
- London Vintage Bus Tour, Thames Cruise, Fish & Chips (3.5 hours): Explore England’s capital in style with a tour aboard a vintage open-top bus and riverboat. Take in the sights of the Tower of London, Shakespeare’s Globe, and London Bridge, among others. Witness the prestigious Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace, concluding your adventure with a delightful stop at a classic London pub for a taste of traditional fish and chips.
- Big Bus Hop-on Hop-off Tour and River Cruise (1 – 2 days): Discover the iconic sites of London with a flexible 24- or 48-hour hop-on-hop-off bus tour combined with a Thames cruise.
Greenwich River Cruises
Venture further along the Thames to Greenwich, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. These cruises take you past maritime landmarks, including the Cutty Sark and the Royal Observatory. Explore Greenwich’s rich history and visit attractions like the National Maritime Museum before returning to central London.
- Westminster to Greenwich River Thames Cruise (1-2 hours): Opt for a one-way or return cruise from Westminster to Greenwich and enjoy the sights of London along the Thames, accompanied by a downloadable audio commentary highlighting landmarks such as the Tower of London.
- Westminster to Greenwich Single Cruise Ticket (40 minutes): Embark on a picturesque River Thames cruise to witness London from a unique perspective, starting from Westminster Pier and enjoying informative commentary en route to Greenwich Pier.
Hop-On-Hop-Off River Services
Opt for a flexible way to explore London by using hop-on-hop-off river services. Enjoy the freedom to disembark at various stops along the Thames, allowing for visits to attractions such as the Tate Modern, Shakespeare’s Globe, or the buzzing Borough Market, and then hop back on at your leisure. With a 24-hour river pass, you can freely hop on and off at major destination piers like Westminster, Greenwich, London Eye, and the Tower within the designated time frame.
Themed and Specialty Cruises
For a more specialized experience, opt for themed cruises that cater to specific interests. From jazz nights to historical-themed voyages or even festive cruises during holidays like Valentine’s Day, Christmas or New Year’s Eve, there’s a cruise for every taste.
- Valentine’s Day Romantic Dinner Cruise (3 hours): Celebrate Valentine’s Day with a romantic dinner cruise along the River Thames in central London. Witness the city aglow as you enjoy a welcome glass of Champagne and indulge in a delectable 3-course meal, all while taking in the enchanting views.
- Christmas Party Dinner Cruise (5 hours): Immerse yourself in the festive ambiance and embrace the Christmas spirit while sailing along the iconic London skyline. Delight in a traditional 3-course meal, and then put on your dancing shoes as the onboard DJ spins a mix of Christmas classics and contemporary hits for an unforgettable celebration.
- Festive London New Year’s Eve 3-Course Dinner Cruise (5 hours): Witness the spectacular London New Year’s Eve fireworks from an unparalleled vantage point on a dinner cruise along the River Thames. Enjoy the festive lights as you sail from Tower Pier to Westminster, creating lasting memories of this celebratory night.
A Thames River cruise isn’t just a boat ride; it’s an immersive journey through time, showcasing the very fabric of London’s history and culture. Whether you’re a visitor or a seasoned local, these experiences offer a fresh perspective on the city’s iconic landmarks and hidden gems, all while drifting along the timeless waters of the River Thames.