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The Best River Experiences Around London
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The Best River Experiences Around London

Picture of Anna Koutras
Updated: 9 February 2017
With the summer upon us, the best way to enjoy the city is to escape the crowds and head for the water. While still a working river, the Thames plays host to some of London’s most extraordinary boat trips that can cater to your sightseeing and relaxation needs.
London Duck Tours | ©Wikicommons
London Duck Tours | ©Wikicommons

Best for Families

If you’re looking for ways to keep your little ones entertained this summer, the London Duck Tours will in no doubt impress. These bright yellow amphibious vehicles will delight both big and little kids alike, as they make their way around the streets of Central London. Spot a fellow ‘duck’ and you’ll be encouraged to give them a hearty ‘quack quack’ to see them on their way. With anecdotes about London’s most note worthy sights, you’ll learn a thing or two as you are ferried through London. After the fun and factual land tour you’ll make your way towards the River Thames – ready for splash down! Keep your eyes peeled for James Bond himself, as your duck makes its way past MI6, splashing into the River for part two of this amphibious adventure. You’ll chug along the Thames, taking in London from an entirely different viewpoint. A must do experience for those looking for a family friendly sightseeing tour with a difference.

London Duck Tours, 55 York Rd, London SE1 7NJ 020 7928 3132

Best for Romance

Need to impress that special someone? There’s no better boat trip to whisk them away on, than one of Cliveden’s lovingly restored flotilla of vintage launches. Discreetly hidden away at the Cliveden Boathouse on the River Thames, these impeccable boats exude luxury and elegance. A marvellous way to enjoy the scenery along one of the most beautiful stretches of the Thames. With a variety of options to choose from, including exquisite day trips, an afternoon tea jaunt, a proper picnic lunch, or an indulgent champagne cruise – you’ll find the trip to win them over. Board one of the beautiful launches that leave the dock every evening until October, to sail along the Cliveden Reach while sipping Champagne in the twilight.

Cliveden House, Taplow, Buckinghamshire

The Cliveden Flotilla | ©Wikicommons
The Cliveden Flotilla | ©Wikicommons

Best for Thrill Seekers

Take part in your very own speed boat race, as you soar past London’s most iconic sites, on a super sonic Thames RIB Speedboat. Complete with one of the most incredibly powerful engines on the River (740 horse power for maximum “V8” twin turbo thrust) – this is the stuff adrenalin junkie’s dream of. With a variety of London tours on offer, that fly past the sites at rip-roaring speeds, you’ll find one to meet your thrill-seeking needs. For the traditionalists there will also be some informative commentary before the speedboat ride begins. With Bond music blasting from the subwoofers, this is the making of an exhilarating tour.

Thames Rib Experience, Embankment Pier, Victoria Embankment, London WC2N 6NU 020 3245 1177

Best for Flexibility

Escape to the water for the most relaxing way to enjoy the city of London – your way. With the River Red Rover sightseeing tour you’ll be able to hop on and hop off as you wish. A laid back, relaxed tour that still provides guided commentary – enjoy refreshments as you sail down the Thames. With four piers across London, it’s up to you how you spend your day. Perhaps you’ll board at Westminster and hop off for lunch at Tower Pier. An affordable, easy, traffic free way to enjoy London – this is a must do tour for those that like the freedom of exploring the city at their own pace.

City Cruises, Westminster Pier, Victoria Embankment, London SW1A 2JH 020 7740 0400

Champagne Cruise | ©Wikicommons
Champagne Cruise | ©Wikicommons

Best for Relaxation

Hankering for more than a jaunt on the river? Then you’ll love the array of dining and sailing experiences that are offered up by Bateaux London. From afternoon tea trips, to themed voyages and lunch extravaganzas, these tours offer the sites and more. Why not spend a Sunday enjoying a lunch jazz cruise as you sail on the Thames in style? You’ll escape the hustle and bustle as you look upon the land dwellers, whilst tucking into freshly cooked food. Sailing past the Houses of Parliament, the London Eye, St Pauls Cathedral, the Tower of London and other famous sites, relax and unwind away from all the crowds.

Bateaux London, Embankment Pier, Victoria Embankment, London WC2N 6NU 020 7695 1800