I admit it: I love being in places on the water. Taking a relaxing trip on the Thames while admiring the skyline of London is a must for me when I am visiting the city. This way I can have magnificent views of the London Eye or the Tower of London. However, due to the high diversity of tours, people often ask me which Thames River Cruises are the best. That’s why we have created this guide to tell you the main differences between the most popular tours. Choose the tour you want wherever and whenever you want!
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What do you get to see on a Thames River Cruise?
Before discussing the individual tours in more detail, we’d like to take a look at all the attractions located on the banks of the Thames that are visible from the water. The Thames is the longest river in London, and there are both long and short cruises available. Naturally, most of the round trips focus on the top landmarks. The following highlights can be seen on virtually all Thames cruises: Lambeth Bridge, the London Eye, Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament, Westminster Bridge, Waterloo Bridge, the National Theatre, Somerset House, the OXO Building, St. Paul’s Cathedral, the Millennium Bridge, Tate Modern, Shakespeare’s Globe, London Bridge, The Shard, the HMS Belfast aircraft carrier, the Tower of London, City Hall, and Tower Bridge.
Nearly all the cruises are round trips, so you don’t need to worry about which side of the boat to sit on. It doesn’t matter, as you’ll get to see everything either on the way out or the way back. In addition, there are a few cruises that head towards Greenwich. On the way to this somewhat quieter district, you’ll pass the old docks. A river cruise to Greenwich is undoubtedly one of the most convenient ways of exploring London. This explains why it’s also one of the most popular things to do in the city.
There are also some so-called hop-on hop-off cruises that allow you to travel as far as you want, get off and explore the area, then get back on board later to continue your journey.
The most popular London river cruise
If you’re looking for a basic Thames river cruise in order to view the famous sights from the water, you may like to consider the options listed below. These superb, reasonably priced cruises with English commentary stop at all the most important places for tourists. All you need to do is decide whether you want to experience London from the boat by day or by night. It’s so romantic!
Approx. 45 minutes
Approx. 2 hours
1 day ticket
Approx. 1 hour
Starting at 14 €
Starting at 33 €
Starting at 19 €
Starting at 15 €
Money-saving tip! This cruise can be booked in combination with admission to the London Eye.
Including a glass of sparkling wine and snacks.
With this ticket, you can travel up and down the Thames all day long as often as you want!
You can either book a round trip or just a one-way trip to Greenwich.
Money-saving options: Combination tickets including a river cruise
In our opinion, the combination tickets that include a river cruise are really practical, as they offer two-fold advantages: they save both time and money if you’re only in London for a weekend, for example. Now I’d like to tell you about the river cruise combination tickets that cover the best attractions.
Thames river cruise + optional London Eye ticket
If you want my opinion, this is the best combination: the London Eye offers its own Thames river cruises, which are available either in combination with entry to the London Eye or separately. The London Eye River Cruises leave from the pier directly at the foot of the ferris wheel, so this is an ideal way of combining the two activities.
Price: If you’re planning on visiting the London Eye and taking a river cruise, your best option is to buy the combination ticket for around 35 €. The river cruise alone costs approx. 15 €. With the combination ticket, you save quite a bit. Whether you decide to buy a ticket for a river cruise alone or a combination ticket, I can strongly recommend this cruise!
Tower of London + Thames River Cruise
Another highlight visible from a boat on the Thames is the Tower of London. This historic building is very impressive and well worth seeing, both inside and out. On this cruise, you’ll also pass underneath the world-famous Tower Bridge – a great experience! It gives you a good idea of what it was like when British trading ships traveled up and down the world’s busiest waterway in days gone by.
Price: this combination ticket allows you to take any number of boat trips during the course of the day. For around 50 €, you can visit the Tower of London and enjoy relaxing on the water for as long as you want.
London River Cruise including lunch, dinner or light refreshments
Another great way of making your river cruise extra special: a delicious meal on the water. There are various options available:
- Thames Lunch Cruise: a good option if you haven’t got much time. Enjoy a tasty lunch and a wonderful view of London!
- Thames Afternoon Tea Cruise: If you want to experience a bit of British culture while on vacation, this is undoubtedly the ideal choice. Afternoon tea with a view of the Thames and Big Ben? Yes, please!
- Thames Dinner Cruise: this offering is perfect for couples who want to spend a romantic evening in London. The lights of the city provide some extra-special flair!
Here’s a summary of the most popular Thames river cruises including dining options.
Starting at 90 €
Starting at 90 €
Starting at 37 €
Starting at 37 €
Thames River Cruise Specials: the fun options
If you’re looking for something truly spectacular, you’ll love these combination tickets and special offers. In my opinion, they’re ideal for two types of travelers:
- For families: the most interesting combination tickets for kids are those that include a Thames river cruise and a fun visit to the aquarium or Madame Tussaud’s. There’s never a dull moment on a tour like this!
- For thrill-seekers: here’s one option that will particularly appeal to the adventurous types among you – speedboat rides. The table below shows the details of the two most popular speedboat tours in London. It’s great fun!
Approx. 50 minutes
Approx. 3 hours
Starting at 49 €
Starting at 70 € (350 group of 5)