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Booking river cruises and boat tours in London: What you need to know

Traveling to London? Nothing beats a cruise on the River Thames. Boat tours let you see the city’s top attractions from the water, like the Houses of Parliament, St. Paul’s Cathedral, the Tower of London, and more. Whether you’re returning to the British capital or visiting for the first time, consider booking a London river cruise to make the most of your trip

    What kind of river cruises can I book in London?

    Most London river cruises and boat tours let passengers book a one-way or return trip, usually between Westminster and Greenwich. Travelers can book a wide variety of city cruises in London, however, and we’re not just talking about routes. 

    Is zipping by Canary Wharf your idea of fun? Adventure seekers can embark on thrilling speedboat tours on the River Thames. Prefer to take it slow? Embark on a leisurely sightseeing river cruise on an open deck boat to take in the views. 

    Dinner cruises on the River Thames

    Take your experience of dining out in London up a notch. Meal courses may vary, but if you choose to book a river cruise with dinner included, you definitely won’t pay more for the view. Raise your glass to Big Ben as you embark on this unique experience. These cruises often include a 3 or 4-course meal, complimentary drinks, and onboard entertainment. You can opt for a cruise with live music while you taste British dishes like roasted lamb rump. Or one where you can dance and get the party started before returning to land.

    If you’re going on one of these river cruises in the summer, chances are you’ll be able to catch the sunset from aboard. 

    Afternoon tea cruises on the River Thames

    Most travelers who visit London are familiar with the tradition of afternoon tea, but why not add a twist? Consider taking an afternoon tea river cruise. This type of tour usually follows a shorter route between Westminster and the Tower of London. Still, it includes plenty of sightseeing while taking part in a must-do British activity at the same time. you’ll still have plenty of time to enjoy the view. Some of the top attractions you can spot from your table by the window include Tate Modern, the Shard, and Shakespeare’s Globe.

    Hop-on hop-off river cruises in London

    Hop-on hop-off tours in London are perfect for first time visitors and travelers on a tight schedule. Choose one of the hop-on-hop-off cruises on the River Thames to explore all the riverside sites on your list. Most tickets are valid for 24 hours so you can see London at your own pace. 

    With onboard explanations of each site, you can choose to get off the boat and take a closer look or continue their journey. These cruises typically stop near top attractions like Westminster Abbey and the London Eye.

    London boat tour and river cruise tips and information

    Some tours in London include a river cruise as part of a bigger package. You can find and book Harry Potter tours in London that include river cruises. Fans of the wizard will be able to spot known sites like the Millennium Bridge. Don’t worry, unlike its fate in the movie Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, the bridge is still standing and stable.

    Wear comfortable clothes and shoes. Especially if you're planning on hopping on and off the riverboat frequently. Keep in mind that river cruises with dinner included typically require passengers to follow a dress code.

    You can use river cruises as an alternative to buses and the subway. Companies operate the river bus services in London and offers different routes. Common stops include Battersea Power Station Pier, Canary Wharf Pier, Woolwich Arsenal Pier, North Greenwich Pier, Tower Pier, Putney Pier, and Doubletree Docklands Nelson Dock Pier. If you purchase a London city card with free access to public transportation, check if it includes a river bus.


    Other Sightseeing Options in London

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    What people are saying about London

    Overall rating

    4.5 / 5

    based on 14,011 reviews

    Jack was an amazing, friendly and knowledgeable tour guide who let us see jack the ripper in a whole new way. 100% would recommend to anyone looking for a great spooky london tour.

    Great experience. Our hosts Luke and Alex were fantastic and catered to our needs whilst keep the party spirt hyped! Will definitely be doing ti's again. A fantastic time was had!

    Very entertaining evening with tales of ghastly ghosts and a lot of history thrown in! Nice couple of hours that flew by with our enthusiastic host George. Loved it

    Brilliant! Jack was warm, friendly and very knowledgeable :) x

    Jack the guide was very informative and entertaining!