When visiting London, seeing the famous River Thames is an absolute must.
You can certainly take a simple stroll along the river banks to watch the boats and the Thames Clippers river buses cruise by, but planning a special excursion lets you discover this iconic London landmark in unique, one-of-a-kind fashion.
From informative sightseeing tours with City Cruises to flying high in the London Eye for a top-of-the-world view of central London, these novel ways to enjoy the Thames are sure to elevate your experience. Here are seven unique things to do along the River Thames.
1. Go on a sightseeing tour
Cutting right through the heart of London, the River Thames runs past many of London’s most famous landmarks. Instead of spending your day walking from one to another, why not check them all out with ease on a sightseeing river cruise?
On a Thames cruise, you’ll watch the best of the city slide by before your eyes, passing by buildings that encompass hundreds of years of history. Along the way, your captain will also provide informative commentary so you can learn more about what you’re seeing.
If you see something that catches your eye, you don’t even need to wait to go back and see it later. Grab a 24h hop-on, hop-off river cruise pass that allows you to get on and off the boat as you please for a full day.
2. Enjoy a nighttime river cruise
The only thing that could make London’s historic riverfront even more enchanting is seeing it all lit up at night.
On a nighttime river cruise along the Thames, see the bridges and buildings glow in their evening best, reflected in the inky black waters of the river. Later in the day, the hustle of the city center calms down for a peaceful, memorable experience. To make the evening even more special, you can also take a dinner cruise.
3. Zip along the Thames in a speedboat
Not to worry if a leisurely sightseeing cruise isn’t quite your speed—you can get spectacular views along the River Thames with something a bit faster: a speedboat tour on the Thamesjet.
Enjoy taking in the city’s top sites before you speed up and watch London swoosh past as you and your fellow adrenaline-seekers roar down the river, marrying the best London views with exhilarating thrills. Even though our Thamesjet speedboat ride is fast, you’ll still see all the famous landmarks, like London’s bridges and the Tower of London.
4. Explore cultural offerings along the river banks
Fancy catching a live music show at the Royal Festival Hall, or seeing one of the Bard’s timeless classics at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre? Perhaps you prefer the visual arts and want to admire contemporary art at the Tate Modern. No matter your cultural preference, you’ll find it just steps from the water, along both the north and south banks of the Thames.
5. View historic and modern architecture
Some of London’s best architecture and landmarks are located along the Thames’s north and south banks, especially historic national treasures like Big Ben. Some even span it, like Tower Bridge, London Bridge, and Westminster Bridge.
Boating along the Thames path or strolling the banks offers some of the best vantage points of these timeless masterpieces—and it’s not just historic architecture you’ll find. Modern architecture is alive and well here, from the revitalized Battersea Power Station to the bulbous silver orbs of the Thames Barrier.
6. Get a bird’s-eye view from the London Eye
Soaring above the South Bank and overlooking Big Ben and the Palace of Westminster, the 443-foot-tall London Eye sweeps riders high into the sky over the Thames River inside glass capsules.
With unobstructed panoramic views of the river and the central London skyline, the observation wheel has some of the best views in all of London. In the distance, you might even catch a glimpse of Buckingham Palace, the royal palace itself.
7. Have a classic afternoon tea on a River Thames cruise
Few things are more quintessentially British than partaking in the beloved tradition of afternoon tea.
Although you can enjoy tea at many restaurants and hotels around London, you can also combine this elegant experience with beautiful views of central London. Sign up for a tea-time cruise, and you’ll be sipping on bottomless tea and nibbling on unlimited finger food, such as sandwiches, scones, and miniature pastries, while you take in the sights along the River Thames.
Make the most of your time on the Thames.
Sightseeing, sailing, and incredible memories await when you use City Experiences to show you the best of this vibrant city.