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Matthew Pearson

All About the Thames River Boat Cruise

As you plan out your trip to London, you won't want to miss out on a Thames River boat cruise. It's simply a must-do. Whether you're interested in a sightseeing tour or a dinner cruise, there are plenty of Thames River cruise options.

Take in all of the incredible sights and sounds of London from the comfort of a boat, including historic landmarks, modern architecture, and stunning parks and gardens. There are so many River Thames cruises available to suit all budgets and interests, but our favourite has to be the Uber Boat by Thames Clippers.

Sailing along the Thames allows you to experience the heart of London from a different angle. We've got answers to all the key questions, so read on to find out about travelling the fabled River Thames by boat.

River Thames and Big Ben

Where does the Thames River Boat Cruise leave from? And where does it go?

The boat departs from four locations:

  • Westminster
  • Embankment
  • London Bridge
  • Tower Bridge

To validate your ticket, you'll start from one of these four locations between 10am-6pm. The boat tour has 23 stops - and much like the London Underground, it has different zones through West, Central and East London.

If you're rding the full length of the river from west to east, you'll travel from Putney Pier to Barking Riverside Pier. Starting in West London, you will travel through Wandsworth, Chelsea Harbour and Battersea Power Station. See the London Eye, Westminster and London Bridge, before travelling towards East London. You'll pass through Canary Wharf and Greenwich before arriving at Barking Riverside.

Most of the piers are wheelchair accessible, and many have nearby Santander Cycle stations for easy commuting.

London skyline

How much does it cost?

The hop-on hop-off Uber Boat by Thames Clipper normally sets you back:

  • Adult River Roamer: £24.60
  • Child/Concession River Roamer: £12.30
  • Family River Roamer: £49.20

However, it’s included with The London Pass®

How often do the boats run?

The boats run every 10-20 minutes at key London piers. The service operates every day of the year except for Christmas Day. Make sure to check the latest timetable for the most up-to-date information.

How do I use The London Pass®  to board a hop-on hop-off cruise?

Simply show The London Pass® at the ticket office at one of the four main entry points. You will receive a 24 hour hop-on hop-off ticket. The 24 hours starts at the time you receive this ticket from a City Cruise ticket office.

The Shard from the Thames

What are the boats like?

All boats have an indoor lower deck, while most have an open-air upper deck, giving you unimpeded views as you sail by lots of iconic London sights.

What can I see from the boat?

From the comfort of the sightseeing boat, you can see many of London’s most famous buildings and cherished landmarks, including the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben, the Tower of London, Tower Bridge, Shakespeare’s Globe, the Tate Modern, Cutty Sark and The Shard.

Canary Wharf

If I get a return ticket, do I need to stay on the boat for the return journey or can I disembark?

You don’t need to stay on the boat. You can disembark, explore the area and get on a later boat for your return journey. Just be sure to check that the service will still be running!

Are the sightseeing boats fully accessible for people in wheelchairs?

Most of the boats are, with a maximum of two spaces for wheelchairs. It’s best to call the reservation team to check which services will be best for you. You can reach them on +44 (0)207 7400 400. Their hours at 8am - 6pm, Monday to Friday, and 10am - 4pm on weekends and bank holidays.

Are the sightseeing boats heated?

Yes, they all are, and all Thames River Boat Cruise boats have indoor seating.

Can I get food and drink on board?

You can. There’s a bar onboard all sightseeing boats offering hot and cold drinks, snacks and sandwiches.

Tate Modern Millennium Bridge

Is there an audio guide?

There is a live or recorded commentary in English on board all sightseeing cruises. This is entirely complimentary.

Is the guided tour available in other languages besides English?

Yes, you can get an audio guide in seven other languages: Italian, French, German, Russian, Japanese, Spanish and Chinese. Pick up your free audio guide from the bar aboard the boat.

Can I bring a bike aboard?

No, unfortunately not, but kids' scooters are allowed aboard a Thames River Boat Cruise.

London skyline at night over River Thames

Experience everything London has to offer with The London Pass®

Planning your London trip? With The London Pass®, you can explore big-name landmarks, local hotspots and epic tours, all on one pass, all for one price. Not only that, but you'll enjoy savings of up to 50%, compared to buying individual attraction tickets.

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