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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

4 min read

Thames River Cruises in London

Thames River Cruise | ©Jose Carlos Bartolome

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

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

The most economical

Thames River Cruise

The essential tour of London from the Thames

Perfect if you want to rest and relax for a while from long walks around the city while enjoying the most popular skyline of London seen from the Thames at the best price.

Duration: 1 hour

With departures every 30 or 40 minutes, the one-hour cruise on the Thames from Westminster to Greenwich is a one-hour closed boat tour, with a very economical price (it is the cheapest of the three that I recommend here) and very practical to know the skyline of London and up to 13 of its major attractions located on the banks of the river.

Thames River Boat| ©Scott Anderson
Thames River Boat| ©Scott Anderson

Departing from Westminster Pier you can relax on deck or inside the boat to admire and photograph landmarks of the city such as the Houses of Parliament, St. Paul's Cathedral, Tower Bridge and the Tower of London, among others, while a guide (the audio is also available in Spanish), will be explaining facts of everything you see.

Once you arrive at Greenwich, the end point of the cruise, you can disembark and visit, on your own, several of the attractions in the area, such as the Cutty Sark exhibition ship, Greenwich Park, the National Maritime Museum or the Royal Observatory of Greenwich. In addition, if you wish, you can return to the starting point, Westminster, on board the same cruise ship.

Why I like this option: this is a great way to enjoy the experience at a reduced price and without having to invest too much time either. You'll be able to see London's main attractions from the river while you rest.

Recommended if... you don't have much time or don't want to invest a lot of money in this experience but want to enjoy the highlights of the city as seen from the river.

How to get to the boarding areas of the Thames river cruises

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 and 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 Tube

Westminster Pier

  • Westminster Underground
  • Tower Pier
  • Tower Hill Underground
  • Tower Gateway DLR Light Rail
  • Fenchurch Street Railway Station
  • Bus lines 15, 15H, N15 and RV1

Greenwich Pier

  • Cutty Sark Light Rail (DLR)
  • Greenwich Railway
  • Bus routes 188, 199 and N1

London Eye Pier

  • Waterloo and London Waterloo Underground
  • Bus Route RV1

Book a Thames Sunset Cruise

Why it's worth taking a Thames River Cruise

Sailing under Blackfriars Bridge
Sailing under Blackfriars Bridge

For me, one of the great advantages of taking one of the various cruises on the River Thames is that you can rest your exhausted legs after traveling tirelessly through a city with so much to do.

In addition, they are a saving of the traffic jams that you can suffer in bus or the crowds of people crowding their meters.

These cruises are ideal to get an overall idea of the physiognomy 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 points of interest.

In addition, it connects two of the main tourist attractions of the city: the area of Westminster Abbey, where are the well-known Big Ben and London Eye with the areas of the City and St. Paul's Cathedral and the Tower of London.

Book a Thames river cruise with lunch

Other interesting attractions in London

Sunset on the London Eye| ©Stevieboy55
Sunset on the London Eye| ©Stevieboy55

If you have already decided on the cruise, my advice is that you take the opportunity to see the whole area of Westminster Abbey, from where you can embark to begin the boat tour. Right there you will find the London Eye (this is the article I have written about the London Eye). London Eye Tickets: how to buy, prices and schedules), a few meters from 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 to choose a good guided tour of the city where you can learn the best kept secrets of the big city.

Book a Thames cruise with dinner and live music

Frequently asked questions

  • How long do Thames river cruises usually last?

    They usually take about 2 hours, as most of them are return cruises. Dinner cruises and other experiences may take a little longer, so a good tip is to plan your night accordingly.

  • Are there vegetarian and gluten-free menus?

    Yes, but you must notify the cruise company at least 24 hours in advance that you want an adapted menu. It is not guaranteed that all menus and products are suitable for all types of allergy or intolerance, as well as that they are 100% nut free.

  • What points of interest in the city can be seen from the Thames cruise?

    You will have the opportunity to enjoy views of Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, the London Eye, the Tower of London and Tower Bridge, as well as some other minor points of interest.