Best day out on the Thames

Follow the river Thames through the city with this London itinerary that takes in 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 to watch Asian short-clawed otters being fed.

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

Stop at Putney Pier and hop on an Uber Boat by Thames Clippers river bus to London Eye Pier (Waterloo). Keep your eye out for millionaires’ yachts entering Chelsea Harbour and the iconic Battersea Power Station

Late morning: London Eye

A family enjoy the amazing views from a pod as they ride The London Eye.

Take a ride on the London Eye for spectacular 360-degree views of the city. In just 30 minutes, you can spot some of London’s key landmarks lining the Thames and surrounding areas, including Buckingham Palace, The Shard and Big Ben.

Lunch: Tower Bridge

Tower Bridge against a blue sky with little clouds, photographed from the cobbled river path

Walk across Westminster Bridge and admire Big Ben on the way to Westminster Pier. Hop back on Uber Boat by 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 should feel peckish, so stop for lunch at The Ivy Tower Bridge, across the river from the Tower of London, for sophisticated all-day dining with magnificent riverside views. 

Early afternoon: Tower Bridge and HMS Belfast

HMS Belfast on the river Thames with Tower Bridge and blue sky in the background.

Next, walk over to Tower Bridge and explore the inside of this iconic London landmark. Time your visit to see the bridge lift as it lets large boats pass underneath – make sure to 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 Second World War cruiser.

Late afternoon: City Cruises afternoon tea

After all that exploring, it’s time to relax and enjoy a scrumptious afternoon tea aboard a 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 attractions along the river.

Evening: IFS Cloud Cable Car

There’s time for one more boat trip along the river before the day is out, as you take an Uber Boat by Thames Clipper from Tower Pier to North Greenwich Pier.

Board the IFS Cloud Cable Car for one of its extended Night Flights. 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.

Dinner with a view

Round off your day with some tasty food and drink. The Avenue at The O2 is lined with family-friendly restaurants and bars. Alternatively, soak up stunning views of the river and enjoy traditional British fare at Scoff & Banter Canary Wharf.

Or, if you've really got a taste for spending time on the river, book a dinner cruise to enjoy a meal while admiring iconic Thameside landmarks.

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

A sightseeing clipper Uber Boat cruises on the Thames and passes by London financial district Canary Wharf.

Purchase a one-day River Roamer ticket from Uber Boat by Thames Clippers for unlimited river bus travel between London’s piers, including Embankment, London Bridge, Tower Bridge, Greenwich and Waterloo. 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 an 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 with Thames RIB Experience or Thames Rockets

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