London’s lifeblood is its river. The Thames is the reason the city is where it is, the means to its fortune for centuries, and today the place locals and visitors flood to on a summer day.
You could just enjoy a stroll along the riverbanks, but the best way to experience it — and to see the city — is to take a boat tour. There are different types of tours available, so take your pick according to your mood.
Slow and Stately
Hop aboard City Cruises at Westminster Pier just outside the Houses of Parliament for a sightseeing cruise along to Greenwich. You’ll see Big Ben and the London Eye before cruising past the city proper, with its ever-expanding skyline of glass and steel. Look out for Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre on your right and St Paul’s Cathedral on your left as you pass under the pedestrian Millennium Bridge and enjoy floating beneath Tower Bridge on your way out of the city’s center toward Greenwich. There, you’ll dock at Greenwich Pier, close to the Cutty Sark tea clipper and the World Heritage Site of Maritime Greenwich.
Chic and Sleek
For a dinner cruise, board Bateaux London’s elegant, Parisian-style Symphony at Embankment Pier at 7:30 p.m. (it returns at 10:45 p.m.). Book the Elite package to have champagne on arrival before sitting down at a window table for a unique view of London as you dine on a sumptuous four-course meal of modern British cuisine. Live jazz accompanies your journey, and wine, mineral water and an after-dinner liqueur are included.
Fast and Furious
If you want to combine sightseeing with a thrill ride, join Rib Tours London for an exhilarating trip along the river from Festival Pier. Take in the sights along the water’s edge (the Houses of Parliament, St Paul’s Cathedral, the Tower of London) before passing underneath Tower Bridge, where the speed restrictions are lifted and your driver can really let the engines roar. You’ll twist and spin, first one way and then the other, each side of the RIB (rigid inflatable boats) lifting out of the water in turn, sending you up in the air and then so close to the water you could reach out and touch it.
Photo Courtesy of iStock-ibajars