7 Best Thames River Cruises in London

Cruising the waters of the Thames and enjoying the views of the city while taking a relaxing boat ride will be the highlight of your trip.

Vicky Del Moral

Vicky Del Moral

7 min read

7 Best Thames River Cruises in London

Thames River Cruise | ©Jose Carlos Bartolome

From the water you will see a different profile of London and at the same time you will learn about its history. Thames river cruises can be closed tours or operate as a tourist "bus" on the most important river in England.

There are many tours that are organized on the waters of the Thames River, from the most economical to the most exclusive, with on-board services such as dinners and live shows.

1. River cruise on the Thames with live narration

Thames Riverboat| ©Scott Anderson
Thames Riverboat| ©Scott Anderson

This cruise runs from Westminster to Greenwich is a closed round-trip boat tour. It's perfect for taking in London's skyline and up to 13 of its major riverside attractions. Plus, you can stay in Greenwich to see the area and then return by hopping back on the next boat

Departing from Westminster Pier you can relax on the deck or inside the boat to admire and photograph city landmarks such as the Houses of Parliament, St. Paul's Cathedral, the Tower of London, the Tower of London, the Tower of London and the Greenwich Bridge. A guide, whose audio is also available in English, will be explaining information about everything you see.

I recommend booking this cruise on the Thames if you do not have much time but want to enjoy the highlights of the city as seen from the river.

  • Duration: 1 hour.
  • Price: from 17€.
  • Frequency: every 30 or 40 minutes.
  • Recommendation: at the end at the starting point you can take advantage and buy tickets for Westminster Abbey.

Book a cruise on the Thames

2. Thames Sunset Cruise

Sunset on the Thames River| ©Mica BunnyAttack
Sunset on the Thames River| ©Mica BunnyAttack

When you book a Thames sunset cruise you will be able to contemplate certain places such as the London Eye, HMS Belfast, The Shard, Big Ben, Tower Bridge or Cannary Wharf at sunset and you will also have the opportunity to enjoy a glass of sparkling wine and an aperitif.

Discover London's iconic sites and landmarks from a different perspective and in a different light. And when you disembark it's an ideal time to go for lunch. So here are 10 places to eat near the London Eye.

  • Duration: 2 hours.
  • Price: from 39€.
  • Recommendation: perfect to relax after an intense day of sightseeing.

Book a cruise on the Thames at sunset

3. Thames sunset cruise with lunch

Thames River Cruises| ©Angel Alicarte
Thames River Cruises| ©Angel Alicarte

And if you want to enjoy a cruise on the Thames while enjoying a tasty meal, you can do that too. So, while you cruise along the river and enjoy the view of the main monuments such as Tower Bridge, the Palace of Westminster or Big Ben, you will enjoy a delicious two-course lunch with tea or coffee.

Booking a Thames river cruise with lunch will give you the strength to go, for example, to see the Tower of London once the cruise is over. See what to see at the Tower of London.

  • Duration: 1 hour and a half.
  • Price: from 60€.
  • Recommendation: it is an ideal activity to do with family or in a large group.

Book a cruise on the Thames with lunch

4. Dinner cruise with live music

London Eye from the boat| ©Marce de las Muelas
London Eye from the boat| ©Marce de las Muelas

And if you want to spend an unforgettable evening, I recommend you to book a Thames dinner cruise with live music. This tour, aboard a luxurious boat that will start in Westminster, allows you to enjoy a gourmet style dinner with between 3 and 5 courses in which highlights the specialties of cheese and meat.

Even so, there is a special menu for vegans or people intolerant or allergic to certain foods. What are you waiting for? Enjoy an exquisite wine, background music and live entertainment while watching the spectacular views of the city. Also, if you are looking for a later plan you can see the London Eye at night.

  • Duration: 3 hours approximately.
  • Price: 104€.

Book a cruise on the Thames with dinner and live music

5. Cruise on the Thames with free stops

Day Cruise| ©JOSE MANUEL CANDELA
Day Cruise| ©JOSE MANUEL CANDELA

Booking a Thames cruise with free stops is ideal for those who want to have freedom of movement, because you will have at your disposal a pass valid for a whole day and you can either take the full tour or disembark at the time you want to visit the main monuments and re-embark whenever you want throughout the day.

In addition, through the City Cruises mobile app you will have the opportunity to listen live to the history of the most emblematic places and main points of interest.

I recommend it if you have a full day to visit the attractions on the banks of the Thames. See Tower of London tickets, London Eye tickets, London Eye prices or Sea Life Aquarium tickets.

  • Duration: you can use it all day and the full tour lasts 1 hour.
  • Price: from 33€.

Book a cruise on the Thames with free stops

6. Thames cruise and Harry Potter tour

Are you a fan of the Harry Potter saga? Then you can not miss this combined activity that brings together a tour of the film locations full of fun facts provided by the guide and a cruise on the River Thames.

But this tour is not like any other, as it is full of interactive games. And not only that, by booking a Thames river cruise + Harry Potter tour you will also get to see other movie locations such as James Bond and Marvel movies.

  • Duration: 2 hours and 30 minutes.
  • Price: from 25€.

Book a Thames cruise + Harry Potter tour

7. Thames river cruise and tour bus

Thames River| ©Antonio Campoy
Thames River| ©Antonio Campoy

To get to know the city in depth, I recommend that you choose the option of booking a Thames river cruise and tourist bus. This way, you can see the most important monuments comfortably both from land and water.

And all while enjoying the explanations of a local tour guide. It is perfect if you go with older people or children who can get tired easily when walking around London.

  • Duration: 3 hours and a half approximately.
  • Price: from 59€.

Book a Thames river cruise and sightseeing bus tour

We compare all the options

So that you can choose the best option according to your tastes, I leave you some comparative tables that will help you decide better.

  • Thames River Cruise
  • From $17
  • 1 hour
  • Frequency every 30 or 40 minutes
  • Without food
  • Book now
  • Thames River Evening Cruise
  • From $41
  • 2 hours
  • Perfect to relax after an intense day of sightseeing.
  • With wine and aperitif
  • Book now
  • Thames River Lunch Cruise
  • From $63
  • 1 hour 30 min
  • Ideal to do with family or in a large group
  • With lunch and tea
  • Book now
  • Thames River Dinner Cruise with Live Music
  • From $112
  • 2 hours 45 min
  • Special menu for vegans or intolerant people
  • With gourmet dinner
  • Book now
  • Hop on Hop Off Thames River Cruise
  • From $35
  • 1 hour
  • You can use the pass all day long
  • No food
  • Book now
  • Harry Potter Locations Tour in London and Thames River Cruise
  • From $27
  • 2 hours and 30 min
  • You will also see James Bond and Marvel locations.
  • No food
  • Book now
  • Bus London Tour with Thames River Cruise
  • From $62
  • 45 minutes
  • Perfect if you go with seniors or children
  • With other attractions
  • Book now

How to get to the Thames river cruise embarkation areas

Views of Tower Bridge from the River
Views of Tower Bridge from the River

Most of the Thames river cruises depart from the docks in central London and have public transport nearby. In the case of the flexible cruise you can also access from any of its stops at the above attractions.

Embankment Pier

  • Embankment Underground
  • Charing Cross train or subway

Westminster Pier

  • Westminster Underground
  • Tower Pier
  • Tower Hill Underground
  • Tower Gateway DLR light rail
  • Fenchurch Street Railway Station
  • 15, 15H, N15 and RV1 bus routes

Greenwich Pier

  • Cutty Sark Light Railway (DLR)
  • Greenwich Railway
  • 188, 199 and N1 bus lines

London Eye Pier

  • Waterloo and London Waterloo Underground
  • Bus Route RV1

Book a Thames sunset cruise

Why a Thames Sunset Cruise is worthwhile

Sailing under Blackfriars Bridge
Sailing under Blackfriars Bridge

For me, one of the great advantages of booking a Thames cruise is that you will be able to rest your tired legs a little bit after traveling tirelessly through a city with so much to do.

In addition, they are a saving of traffic jams that you can suffer in bus and crowds of people crowded on the subway. And the best thing is that they link two of the main tourist attractions of the city: the area of Westminster Abbey, where are the famous Big Ben and London Eye, with the areas of the City and St. Paul's Cathedral and the Tower of London.

These cruises are ideal to get an overall idea of the appearance of the city or to see its monuments from another perspective. I recommend them especially if you are traveling with children as it is a fun and comfortable way to get an overall idea of what London is like and visit some of its main attractions.

Book a Thames river cruise with lunch

Other interesting attractions in London

Sunset at the London Eye| ©Stevieboy55
Sunset at the London Eye| ©Stevieboy55

If you have already decided to take the cruise, my advice is to take the opportunity to visit the Westminster Abbey area, from where you can embark to start the boat tour.

Right there you will find the London Eye (this is the article I have written about London Eye Tickets: how to buy, prices and schedules), a few meters away the Westminster Abbey (here all the information on London Westminster Abbey Tickets: how to buy and prices) and the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben.

If what interests you is to walk around the city and enjoy it understanding what you see, you can take a look at my article on Top 10 Tours and Excursions in Londonwhich can help you choose a good guided tour of the city where you will also learn the best kept secrets of the big city.

Book a cruise on the Thames with dinner and live music