How to spend a day out on the river Thames

Everything is better on the water, whether it’s exploring London’s famous attractions or enjoying a romantic evening dinner cruise.

Here are six ways to enjoy time on board the City Cruises’ fleet, from morning until late into the night.

Morning: sightseeing with the kids

Going on an early sightseeing river tour is a great way to start a family day out in London. Kids love the excitement of climbing aboard a boat. Plus, you can sit back, relax and enjoy the fresh river breeze (and, even better, a hot cup of coffee from the boat’s cafe).

The earliest departure from Tower pier is at 9.50am, bound for Westminster pier – dropping you right by the Coca-Cola London EyeBig Ben and the Houses of Parliament. Or, go on an adventure, and ride up the Thames to the historic town of Greenwich where you can explore the Royal Observatory, the National Maritime Museum, the Cutty Sark and Greenwich Park.

Lunch: entertaining on the high seas

If you’ve got a client to impress, why not have a meeting with a difference – on the river? City Cruises’ special lunch cruise takes one hour and 45 minutes, which gives you plenty of time to pitch your big ideas, enjoy a two-course meal, and see great sights like the Tower of LondonTower Bridge and Tate Modern.

The cruise boards from Tower pier daily at 11.30am and returns at 1.30pm. If you can’t make that time, remember all City Cruises' boats have fully-stocked cafe bars, offering sandwiches, snacks, and hot and cold drinks so you can create your own lunch-on-the-go.

Early PM: afternoon tea river cruise with friends


Tea on a boat :) #tb to last week. #afternoontea #citycruises #London #lookatthebackground #Thames

A photo posted by Mirka (@mirkams) on

Whether you’re organising a birthday party, hen do, or just catching up with old friends, a traditional afternoon tea always goes down well. On City Cruises’ afternoon tea cruise, you can tuck into delicious sandwiches, pastries and, of course, scones with jam and cream – all while gently floating down the river and enjoying the fascinating live commentary.

The cruise takes one hour and 30 minutes and boards daily from Tower pier at 3.15pm, taking you past Westminster to Canary Wharf then back again by 5pm. Perfect timing to head down to nearby St Katharine Docks for a few cocktails or glasses of wine alongside the marina.

Early evening: sunset drinks

After a long day sightseeing (or working) there’s nothing better than a few drinks in good company. Going on a tour at this time is ideal as the sun goes down and the twinkling lights of London start to appear. Book a slot on the Sundowner evening cruise so you can sip a glass of sparkling wine, sample tasty canapés and listen to live jazz – all while gazing out from the open deck at Shakespeare’s GlobeSt Paul’s Cathedral and The Shard as you drift by. 

Night: a romantic dinner with a difference

As a couple, you’ve probably been out for lots of dinners since your first date. The London Showboat dinner cruise, however, is really something else. As you get on board, you’ll be met with a glass of fizz before being taken to your table to enjoy a four-course dinner and half a bottle of wine each. As the boat cruises alongside the sparkling lights of London’s cityscape, from Westminster pier to the impressive Thames Barrier, you’ll enjoy live entertainment as a singer performs popular songs and classic West End hits. Don’t forget your dancing shoes! 

Book a Hop-On Hop-Off ticket for multiple trips

If you fancy yourself as a bit of a Captain Jack, and don’t want to stay on dry land for too long, why not get a hop-on, hop-off ticket? You can either get a 24-hour or 72-hour pass, giving you unlimited travel between all City Cruises piers such as Westminster/London Eye pier, Tower pier and Greenwich pier. There’s also a Family River Pass available, where up to three kids travel free. 

Spend a day on the river with City Cruises

Enjoy a day along the river Thames on City Cruises’ boats, from morning to night – watch the video below.

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