The historic River Thames is the lifeblood of London, pulsing through the entire city. Experiencing this river is an absolute must when you are visiting the city – and there is more than one way to enjoy the River Thames from speedboat rides to Thames river cruises and much more. Here are a few of the fantastic experiences you can have along this river.
Take a Thrilling Speedboat Ride
You could experience the Thames at full speed, with the wind in your hair on a thrilling speedboat ride. There are speedboats that will take you zooming up and down the river, so that you can see as much of the city as possible in a short period of time. There’s nothing quite like the thrill of zooming over the water’s surface – so why not give a speedboat ride a try?
Dine At a Riverside Hotel
Another way to enjoy the River Thames is to treat yourself to a meal in one of the great restaurants within hotels along the riverbank. There are a number of high quality options to choose from where the food comes with an order of lovely views. For example, the Bingham Hotel has one of the best riverside spots in Richmond and the Thames flows alongside it’s elegantly landscaped garden. The Blueprint Café is another great spot, with an elevated view of a large sweeping curve of the river. Le Pont de la Tour is also an iconic option, serving up sophisticated French food along the banks of the Thames.
Ride the Emirates Cable Car
If you want a great view of the Thames from above, you could take a ride on the Emirates Cable Car, a scenic cable car link across the River Thames, sponsored by Emirates airlines. The crossing takes about 10 minutes and it will take you on a cable dangling high above the river. It was the first urban cable car in the United Kingdom and it takes 2,500 passengers per hour in each direction. You can pay for your journey with your London pay as you go Oyster card.
Take a London Helicopter Tour
If you really want the thrilling experience of seeing London from above, why not take a London helicopter tour? There are several companies that offer thrilling sightseeing tours in the sky, where you can soar above the city and look down to see the tiny buildings, streets and the shimmering river below. There are short rides that will give you a quick look around, or longer tours with commentary.
Enjoy an Afternoon Tea Cruise on the Thames
What could be more quintessentially British than enjoying afternoon tea while floating down the Thames? You can feast on this traditional afternoon meal on a boat while admiring some of London’s most iconic landmarks. The Thames afternoon tea cruise spread includes scones, pastries, sandwiches and of course a selection of delicious teas. If you want to pay a little more, you can make it a boozy afternoon tea by adding a glass of bubbly.
Visit the Bridges
You can visit some of the many bridges over the River Thames for fascinating history and beautiful views. For example, Tower Bridge is without a doubt the most iconic bridge in London and dates back to 1894. At the Tower Bridge Exhibition you can take a look behind the scenes at the machinery room where you can see the hydraulic system that will allow the bridge to rise up for river traffic.
You can also visit London Bridge, famous for the nursery rhyme about it falling down. The Millennium Bridge is also worth visiting too, as it links St. Paul’s Cathedral with Shakespeare’s Globe and the Tate Modern. Lambeth Bridge was described by Charles Dickens as the “ugliest ever built” but it does offer fantastic views of Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament and the London Eye.
These are just a few of the ways that you can enjoy the River Thames when you are in London. This river is a very important part of London life and it holds so many stories from throughout the history of the city. Make sure that you experience the Thames while you are in London, no matter which way you decide to enjoy it!