River Thames

The true heart of London. Meander along the river to see everything from Tower Bridge to the Houses of Parliament.

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River Thames: Our most recommended tours and activities

Magical London: Harry Potter Guided Walking Tour

1. Magical London: Harry Potter Guided Walking Tour

Walk in the footsteps of your favorite wizards (and witches) around Muggle London. Your Harry Potter enthusiast guide will be armed with weird and wonderful trivia all along the way.  Meet your guide and start your adventure by finding out which Hogwarts House you belong in. Compete against other Houses in an interactive quiz as you see the sites that inspired J.K. Rowling, from Shakespeare's Globe to the London alleys that inspired Knockturn Alley. Highlights include passing The Leaky Cauldron, the secret wizarding inn. Explore the real Diagon Alley, where Harry buys his first wand. Even see the bridge destroyed by the Death Eaters in "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince".  For part of your guided tour, choose to either take the London Underground or a short boat trip down the Thames. Both options follow this itinerary:  1. Southwark Cathedral 2. Borough Market 3. The Golden Hinde 4. Winchester Palace 5. The Clink Prison Museum 6. Shakespeare's Globe 7. Millennium Bridge 8. Daniel Radcliffe's School 9. The London Eye 10. River Thames 11. Sherlock Holmes' Pub 12. Great Scotland Yard 13. Gringotts Wizarding Bank 14. The world's smallest police station 15. Trafalgar Square 16. Knockturn Alley 17. Diagon Alley 18. Palace Theatre

London: Westminster to Greenwich River Thames Cruise

2. London: Westminster to Greenwich River Thames Cruise

Admire the views of London's most iconic sights with a cruise on the River Thames. Cruise to Greenwich to see London's historical sights from the River Thames. Journey past iconic sights such as the Houses of Parliament, Tower Bridge, and the Tate Modern. Choose between either a one-way or round-trip journey, with skip-the-line entry, and avoid the queues at the ticket office as you go straight to board the boat. Listen to the live audio commentary as you enjoy the comfort of a modern but traditional vessel. Admire the pyramid structure of The Shard and see other monuments from London's historic waterway. Head to the open deck for panoramic views of London's landmarks. Stop at Embankment Pier, Festival Pier, and Tower Bridge Quay before arriving at Greenwich Pier. Feel free to explore the charms of Greenwich on your own terms, and see sights such as Greenwich Market, the Cutty Sark, National Maritime Museum, Greenwich Park, and the Royal Observatory which are all within easy walking distance from the pier.

London: Warner Bros. Studio Tour and River Thames Cruise

3. London: Warner Bros. Studio Tour and River Thames Cruise

Take a trip out from London to immerse yourself in the world of Harry Potter at the Warner Bros. Studio Tour. See your favorite characters, amazing sets, and even take a walk through the Forbidden Forest. Enjoy a cruise up and down the River Thames and capture some of the most iconic sights in London. Make your way to the studio in Leavesden, Watford, and enter the magical world of Harry Potter. Marvel at the spectacular sets created for the iconic films, including The Great Hall, and Platform 9 and 3/4. Stroll down Diagon Alley and admire the costumes and props that brought the book to life. Visit the newest expansion of the studio and walk through Gringotts, the wizarding bank. Find the Lestrange vault, a gallery of goblins, and see for yourself the Sword of Gryffindor, Helga Hufflepuff's Cup, and one of Voldemort's infamous Horcruxes. Join your sightseeing cruise on the River Thames at either Westminster or Tower Pier, and enjoy the convenience of hopping on and off to see what London has to offer. Spot the Tower of London, The Houses of Parliament, The London Eye, Tower Bridge, the Cutty Sark, Royal Observatory, Borough Market, and much more.

London: Westminster to Tower Bridge River Thames Cruise

4. London: Westminster to Tower Bridge River Thames Cruise

Climb aboard a sightseeing boat at Westminster Pier and cruise through the heart of London, admiring the many sights along the River Thames along the way. Stop at Embankment Pier, Festival Pier, and Bankside Pier before arriving at Tower Bridge Quay. Catch sights of St. Paul's Cathedral, The Shard, Tate Modern, Globe Theatre, and much more en route. Choose a 1-way trip to Tower Bridge Quay or opt for a round-trip cruise and return to Westminster. Listen to the live audio commentary from your captain and make use of the state-of-the-art facilities onboard the boat.   Benefit from regular departures from Westminster Pier every hour along with ideal viewing opportunities from the open top deck of the modern "Sapele" and "Mercuria" vessels or the open deck of the traditional "Sarah Kathleen." Each vessel features a bar serving light refreshments to purchase.

London: Hop-On Hop-Off Sightseeing-Tour

5. London: Hop-On Hop-Off Sightseeing-Tour

Explore London on a convenient hop-on hop-off bus tour. Learn about the city's history, culture, and architecture from on-board audio commentary and enjoy the panoramic views offered by the open-topped bus. Visit all of London's most important sights on a bus route with 19 stops, starting at Grosvenor Gardens and ending at Buckingham Palace. See Queen Elizabeth Gate in Hyde Park and the Thames Embankment. Travel across Westminster Bridge and catch a glimpse of the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben, and the London Eye. See St Paul's Cathedral, Westminster Abbey and Tower Bridge. Experience the glitz and glamour of London's West End as your tour bus heads to Leicester Square and finally, head to Buckingham Place, the principal royal residence. Enjoy the flexibility of exploring the sights at your own pace. You can hop off at any of the 19 stops along the route and explore the nearby sights. Purchase a 24, 48, or 72-hour ticket and enjoy a free cruise along the River Thames between Westminster Pier and Tower Pier. Pass under some of the city's most famous bridges and see London from the water. Bus Stops: • Grosvenor Gardens • Queen Elizabeth Gate, Hyde Park • Marble Arch (Speakers Corner) • Marble Arch (Park Lane) • Haymarket, Stop R (Leicester Square) • Pall Mall East (Trafalgar Square) • Westminster Bridge (South) • York Road (Southbank) • Aldwych (One Aldwych Hotel) • Ludgate Hill (St Paul's Cathedral) • Queen Victoria Street (The City) • London Bridge • Tooley Street (Tower Bridge) • Tower Hill (Tower of London) • Victoria Embankment • Westminster Bridge (Big Ben) • Horseferry Road

London: Golden Tours Open-Top Hop-on Hop-off Sightseeing Bus

6. London: Golden Tours Open-Top Hop-on Hop-off Sightseeing Bus

This remarkable bus tour of London provides you the opportunity to explore this fascinating city in all its grandeur. Your pass allows you to hop on and off the bus at any of its many stops. See the city from a different angle on a boat cruise along the Thames (if the 24, 48, or 72-hour option is selected). On the tour route you’ll find world-renowned attractions and landmarks such as the Tower of London, Shakespeare’s Globe, spectacular Westminster Abbey, and of course, the inimitable Buckingham Palace. You’ll also see the most eminent precincts of the city, such as distinguished Regent Street, world-celebrated Oxford Street, and vibrant Piccadilly. Choose from 2 routes and 1 feeder route covering over 70 stops. Make use of the audio guides available in English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese (Brazilian), Mandarin, Japanese, Russian, Arabic, and Hindi. Blue route – The Classic Tour This route covers all the main Central London sights and visits London’s Museum Quarter. Red Route – The Essential Tour This route passes Madame Tussauds and Kings Cross, as well as Hyde Park and Regents Park, two of the prettiest parks in London. Yellow Route – Courtesy Feeder Service This tour operates in the morning and travels from the popular hotel districts to Central London. Stops on the tour include the following: • Buckingham Palace Road - Colonnades Coach Station Stop Buckingham Gate -Tourist Bus Stop • Parliament Street - Outside HM Treasury • Whitehall - Tourist Bus Stop • Lower Regent Street - Tourist Bus Stop Outside No. 1109 • Piccadilly - Tourist Bus Stop Green Park Station • Piccadilly - Tourist Bus Stop Hyde Park Corner • Knightsbridge - Outside Lanesborough Hotel • Knightsbridge - At Scotch House • Kensington Gore - Royal Albert Hall • Kensington Road - Palace Gate • Gloucester Road - Kensington Plaza Hotel • Gloucester Road Station - Stop G • South Kensington Station - Stop D • Cromwell Gardens - V & A Tourist Bus Stop • Brompton Road - Harrods Bus Stop • Knightsbridge - Hyde Park Corner Coach Stop • Park Lane / Northbound - Tourist Stop • Park Lane/ Northbound - Marble Arch • Baker Street - South of Porter Street • Orchard Street - Outside Selfridges • Haymarket - South of Orange Street • Pall Mall East - West of Trafalgar Square • Duncannon Street - Outside St. Martin-in-the-Fields • Aldwych - Tourist Bus Stop • Ludgate Hill - St. Paul’s Cathedral / Museum Of London • Queen Victoria Street - Cannon Street • King William Street - London Bridge • Tooley Street - London Dungeon • Tooley Street - Tourist Stop Vine Lane • Tower Hill - Opposite Tower Hill Station • Southwark Bridge Road - By Steps to Thames Path • York Road - North of Chicheley Street • Westminster Bridge Road - Tourist Bus Stop • Tothill Street - Tourist Bus Stop • Buckingham Gate - Opposite Queens Gallery • Buckingham Palace Road - Thistle Victoria Hotel • Buckingham Palace Road - Colonnades Coach Station Stop

London River Thames Lunch Cruise

7. London River Thames Lunch Cruise

Enjoy a London lunch venue with a difference on this 105-minute cruise down the River Thames from Tower Pier. Delight in a delicious 2 course lunch, including tea or coffee, set against a backdrop of the most famous sights of London. Depart from Tower Pier, next to the historic Tower of London fortress and fairytale Tower Bridge. Sail past sights, such as the Houses of Parliament, London Eye, and the towering Shard pyramid at London Bridge. Feast on thyme, rosemary, and lemon roasted Chicken Supreme with creamy leek, tarragon, and mushroom sauce, served with Potato au Gratin, and seasonal vegetables; with cherry tomato and red onion confit; and a dessert of warm, dark chocolate fondant with berry compote and vanilla sauce.  Enjoy the bar services throughout, offering a wide choice of soft and alcoholic drinks, while a live commentary will allow you to learn fascinating new facts about London as you cruise. The cruise ends at the original departure point.

London: Madame Tussauds, London Eye & SEA LIFE Combo Ticket

8. London: Madame Tussauds, London Eye & SEA LIFE Combo Ticket

Begin at the iconic Madame Tussaud’s and make your way up the red carpet to see all your favorite stars. Get personal with A-list celebrities, sporting legends, political heavyweights and historical icons, as well as the Royal Family on the Royal Balcony. Join the ultimate party, mingling with the likes of Eddie Redmayne, Benedict Cumberbatch, and Tom Hardy. Then, visit The London Eye and get up close to Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament and Buckingham Palace; you can even see as far as Windsor Castle on a clear day. Experience London from a different angle on the world’s tallest cantilevered observation wheel, 135 meters above the city. Step into your capsule, enjoy the gradual rotation and just stand and stare at the hustle and bustle beneath you, the beautiful sunset over the city or the thousands of twinkling lights after dark. Finish at one of Europe’s largest collections of global marine life, SEA LIFE London. Journey through 14 themed zones laid out over 3 floors, discovering thousands of underwater creatures, from green turtles to sharks. Meet the creatures of the rainforest and immerse yourself in the world of creepy crawlies, crocs, and critters.

London: River Thames Evening Cruise with Bubbly and Canapés

9. London: River Thames Evening Cruise with Bubbly and Canapés

As the sun goes down and the lights come on, see London's riverside landmarks at their glittering best on a cruise down the Thames River. Savor a glass of bubbly in one hand and canapés in the other, and experience the magic of the city from the river. During the cruise from Tower Millenium Pier, take in all the major sites of the city on the river, from the London Eye and Tower of London to the skyscrapers of Canary Wharf and the majesty of the fairytale Tower Bridge. Choose to absorb the scenery from the comfort of the main saloon or upstairs on the open-air panoramic deck. Enjoy listening to jazz and chill-out pop from live performers, too. The cruise ends at the original starting point.

London: River Thames Dinner Cruise

10. London: River Thames Dinner Cruise

Take a leisurely evening cruise through the heart of London to see its famous sights illuminated at night. In the summer, there is the added delight of watching the sun set from the water before the lights come alive! The 3-hour cruise from Westminster to the Thames Barrier and back starts with a welcome drink when you board. Follow your cocktail with a delicious 4-course dinner, plus entertainment from a live singer. This dinner cruise from the heart of London combines a great meal with cabaret and dancing. Sail past the modern landmarks of the O2 Arena, Canary Wharf, and City Hall, and continue as far as the monumental Thames Barrier flood defense before turning back to the Houses of Parliament. By the time darkness falls, dinner gives way to a cabaret singer performing tunes from West End Shows both past and present, along with other popular music. Although dancing is encouraged during and after the cabaret performance, if you prefer you can sit back and simply enjoy the music and floodlit sights. The cruise ends at the original starting point. Menu • Scottish Smoked Salmon Mousse with Mustard and Dill Center, King Prawns with Lemon and Mesclun Salad • Tomato, Roast Pepper, and Basil Soup • Roasted Supreme of Chicken Wrapped in Parma Ham, served with Dauphinoise Potatoes and Mushrooms with Thyme and Red Wine Sauce, along with Seasonal Vegetables • White, Dark, and Milk Chocolate Truffle Cake with Raspberry Sauce • Tea or Coffee, Mints Vegetarian Menu • Salad with Feta, Walnuts, Green Beans, Cherry Tomatoes, Roast Peppers, Pumpkin, and Olives with Honey Dressing • Tomato, Roast Pepper, and Basil Soup • Lasagne with Artichokes, Spinach, Sauté of Mixed Mushrooms, and Goat's Cheese, along with Seasonal Vegetables • White, Dark, and Milk Chocolate Truffle Cake with Raspberry Sauce • Tea or Coffee, Mints

Planning Your Visit

  • Fun Facts

    Londoners and tourists alike enjoy the Thames. Home to 25 species of fish, you’ll see fisherman as you dine in the many cafes and restaurants along the way. Cross its many bridges for a great view and a picture perfect postcard of London. During various times of year, you can even stumble upon a festival, such as Totally Thames in September.

  • How to Book Tours

    Head online and read about bike tours or the best of the best Thames river cruises. Whether you cruise around for lunch or dinner, or stroll with a friend on the banks, London’s panorama awaits.

  • Where Do Boat Tours Leave From?

    Many River Thames boat cruises leave from Westminster, Tower, and Greenwich Piers. The tour operator will include this information.

Good to know

  • When should I visit?
    It's always open, naturally.
  • Is it expensive?
    Free to visit, however tour prices vary.
  • Will I need a guide?
    Not compulsory but recommended.
  • How to get there
    You can get to the Thames in many parts of London. But why not take the tube to Westminster and enjoy the view from Westminster Bridge or Lambeth Bridge?
  • Additional information

    • Make sure to check the weather forecast before setting off on a stroll along the river.

    • The best way to enjoy the river is by boat, so why not book onto a boat tour?

Other Sightseeing Options in River Thames

Want to discover all there is to do in River Thames? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about River Thames

Overall rating

4.5 / 5

based on 27,940 reviews

This trip was brilliant. Will please everyone. There were 4 of us. 2 stayed inside and danced to the music and the other 2 looked at all the sights on deck. Staff were very friendly. Would definitely do it again!!

A fun way to see the sights along the Thames, with lively, entertaining guides providing commentary. Remember the sunscreen! And bring cash for tipping the crew, they have a collection bucket as you disembark.

Awesome way to see the sights and then pick and choose which ones to visit. Way better than hop on and off bus with traffic I believe

We enjoyed the cruise very much. The guide gave a clearly enunciated commentary as the trip proceeded.

A great tour with Jack offering a new look at London through the lens of Harry Potter.