London Day Out on the Thames

Follow the river Thames through the capital with our London itinerary that takes in peaceful parks, soaring skyscrapers, and some of the capital’s top attractions.

Early Morning: WWT London Wetland Centre and the Thames Path

Enjoy a scenic start to the day with a stroll through the picturesque riverside neighbourhood of Barnes, where you'll find wildlife oasis WWT London Wetland Centre. See how many birds you can spot by the lakes and ponds, and make sure to stick around until 11am to watch Asian short-clawed otters being fed. There’s a cafe on site to grab a coffee and quick bite for breakfast.

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Follow the Thames Path - a trail that runs from the Thames from its source to the Thames Barrier - from Barnes and Putney, which forms part of the route for the annual Oxford and Cambridge University Boat Races.

Stop at Putney Pier and hop on the MBNA Thames Clippers river bus to London Eye Pier (Waterloo Millennium Pier). Keep your eye out for millionaires’ yachts entering Chelsea Harbour and the imposing Battersea Power Station along the way.

Late morning: Coca-Cola London Eye

Take a ride on the Coca-Cola London Eye for spectacular 360-degree views of the city. In just 30 minutes you'll be able to spot 55 of London’s key landmarks lining the Thames and surrounding areas, including Buckingham Palace, The Shard and Big Ben.

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Lunch: Tower Bridge

Walk across Westminster Bridge and admire Big Ben on the way to Westminster Pier. Hop back on the MBNA Thames Clippers; or switch to a leisurely City Cruises boat for a trip down the Thames to Tower Pier, and soak up the sights along the way, including the Millennium Bridge and St Paul’s Cathedral.

By now you'll be peckish, so stop for lunch at Perkin Reveller next to the Tower of London for a sandwich or more substantial fare such as fish and chips. Grab a window seat or eat on the terrace for sweeping views of Tower Bridge and the Thames.

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Early Afternoon: Tower Bridge and HMS Belfast

Next, walk over to the Tower Bridge Exhibition and explore the insides of this iconic London landmark. Time your visit to see the bridge lift as it lets large boats pass underneath (check ahead as times change daily).

Once back on the south side of the river, hop aboard HMS Belfast to explore its nine decks, and discover what life was once like on Europe’s only surviving World War II cruiser.

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Late Afternoon: City Cruise Afternoon Tea

After all that exploring it’s time to relax and enjoy a scrumptious afternoon tea aboard City Cruises’ boat. Sit back and tuck into delicious sandwiches, cakes and scones with clotted cream and strawberry jam. Treat yourself to a glass of champagne as you listen to live commentary on sights along the river.

Evening: Emirates Air Line Cable Car

There’s time for one more boat trip along the river before the day is out, as you take a MBNA Thames Clipper from Tower Pier to North Greenwich Pier. From here, use your Oyster card to board the Emirates Air Line cable car for one of its extended Night Flights from 7pm. You’ll be able to spot The O2, Canary Wharf, the Royal Docks and Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park as the sun goes down during the 25-minute return trip.

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Dinner With a View

After a fun day by the water it’s time for a drink and some food. The Avenue at The O2 is lined with family-friendly restaurants and bars. Alternatively, soak up stunning views of the river as you enjoy traditional British fare at Scoff & Banter Canary Wharf.

For a special end to the day, savour a cocktail against the dramatic backdrop of Canary Wharf’s twinkling lights at The Intercontinental London O2’s Eighteen Sky Bar.

Getting Around

Purchase a MBNA Thames Clippers one-day River Roamer ticket for unlimited river bus travel between London’s piers, including Embankment, London Bridge, Tower Bridge, Greenwich and Waterloo. It’s the fastest way to travel along the Thames. Alternatively, you can use an Oyster card or contactless payment method for each separate journey.

For a more leisurely boat trip along the Thames, City Cruises has a River Red Rover all-day hop on, hop off pass with guided commentary of the many sights along the way. Adrenaline seekers may prefer a speedboat tour for an exhilarating river experience.

If you prefer bikes over boats, hire a Santander Cycle and explore the Thames cycling paths, or join an organised cycle tour.