7 Best Thames River Cruises in London

Cruising the waters of the Thames and enjoying the sights of the city while taking a relaxing boat ride will be the highlight of your trip.

Vicky Del Moral

Vicky Del Moral

7 min read

7 Best Thames River Cruises in London

Thames River Cruise | ©Jose Carlos Bartolome

From the water, you'll see a different side of London and learn about its history. Thames river cruises can be closed tours or operate as a sightseeing 'bus' on England's most important river.

There are many tours organised on the waters of the River Thames, from the most economical to the most exclusive, with on-board services such as dinners and live entertainment.

1. River cruise on the Thames with live narration

Thames Riverboat| ©Scott Anderson
Thames Riverboat| ©Scott Anderson

This cruise from Westminster to Greenwich is a round trip boat tour. It's perfect for taking in London's skyline and up to 13 of its major riverside attractions. Plus, you can stay in Greenwich to see the area and then return by hopping back on the next boat

Departing from Westminster Pier you can relax on deck or inside the boat to admire and photograph city landmarks such as the Houses of Parliament, St. Paul's Cathedral, the Tower Tower Bridge, St. Paul's Cathedral, St. Paul's Cathedral and the Tower Bridge. A guide, whose audio is also available in English, will explain everything you see.

I recommend booking this cruise on the Thames if you don't have much time but want to enjoy the highlights of the city as seen from the river.

  • Duration: 1 hour.
  • Price: from 17€.
  • Frequency: every 30 or 40 minutes.
  • Recommendation: at the end of the cruise you can buy tickets for Westminster Abbey.

Book a cruise on the Thames

2. Thames Sunset Cruise

Thames River Sunset Cruise| ©Mica BunnyAttack
Thames River Sunset Cruise| ©Mica BunnyAttack

When you book a Thames sunset cruise you'll be able to see landmarks such as the London Eye, HMS Belfast, The Shard, Big Ben, Tower Bridge and Cannary Wharf as the sun sets and you'll also have the chance to enjoy a glass of sparkling wine and an aperitif.

Discover London's iconic sites and landmarks from a different perspective and in a different light. And when you disembark, it's a great time to grab a bite to eat. So here are 10 places to eat near the London Eye.

  • Duration: 2 hours.
  • Price: from 39€.
  • Recommendation: perfect for relaxing after an intense day of sightseeing.

Book a sunset cruise on the Thames

3. Thames Sunset Cruise with Lunch

Thames river cruise boats| ©Angel Alicarte
Thames river cruise boats| ©Angel Alicarte

And if you want to enjoy a Thames river cruise while you enjoy a tasty meal, you can do that too. So, while you cruise along the river and enjoy the view of major landmarks such as Tower Bridge, the Palace of Westminster and Big Ben, you can enjoy a delicious two-course lunch with tea or coffee.

Booking a Thames river cruise with lunch will give you the strength to go and see, for example, the Tower of London at the end of your cruise. See what to see at the Tower of London.

  • Duration: 1 hour and a half.
  • Price: from €60.
  • Recommendation: this is an ideal activity to do with the family or a large group.

Book a Thames River cruise with lunch

4. Dinner cruise with live music

London Eye from the boat| ©Marce de las Muelas
London Eye from the boat| ©Marce de las Muelas

And if you want to spend an unforgettable evening, I recommend booking a Thames dinner cruise with live music. This tour, aboard a luxurious boat starting in Westminster, allows you to enjoy a gourmet style dinner with 3 to 5 courses with speciality cheeses and meats.

There is also a special menu for vegans and people with food intolerances or allergies, so what are you waiting for? Enjoy exquisite wine, background music and live entertainment while taking in the spectacular views of the city. Plus, if you're looking for a later plan, you can see the London Eye at night.

  • Duration: approximately 3 hours.
  • Price: 104€.

Book a Thames cruise with dinner and live music

5. Thames cruise with free stopovers

Day Cruise| ©JOSE MANUEL CANDELA
Day Cruise| ©JOSE MANUEL CANDELA

Booking a Thames cruise with free stops is ideal for those looking for freedom of movement, as you will have at your disposal a pass valid for the whole day and you can either take the whole tour or disembark at the time you want to visit the main monuments and re-embark whenever you want throughout the day.

In addition, through the City Cruises mobile app, you will have the opportunity to listen to the live history of the most emblematic places and main points of interest.

I recommend it if you have a full day to visit the attractions on the banks of the Thames. See Tower of London tickets, London Eye tickets, London Eye prices or Sea Life Aquarium tickets.

  • Duration: You can use it all day and the full tour lasts 1 hour.
  • Price: from €33.

Book a Thames cruise with free stops

6. Thames cruise and Harry Potter tour

Are you a fan of the Harry Potter saga? Then you can't miss out on this combination activity that brings together a tour of the film locations full of fun facts provided by the guide and a cruise on the River Thames.

But this tour is not like any other, as it is full of interactive games. Not only that, but when you book a Thames River Cruise + Harry Potter tour you'll also get to see other film locations such as James Bond and Marvel movies.

  • Duration: 2 hours and 30 minutes.
  • Price: from €25.

Book a Thames river cruise + Harry Potter tour

7. Thames river cruise and tour bus

River Thames| ©Antonio Campoy
River Thames| ©Antonio Campoy

To get to know the city in depth, I recommend that you choose the option of booking a Thames river cruise and sightseeing bus. This way, you will be able to see the most important monuments comfortably both from land and from the water.

And all this while enjoying the explanations of a local tourist guide. It's perfect if you're going with older people or children who can get tired easily when walking around London.

  • Duration: approximately 3 and a half hours.
  • Price: from €59.

Book a Thames river cruise and sightseeing bus tour

We compare all the options

To help you choose the best option according to your tastes, here are some comparison tables to help you decide.

  • Thames River Cruise
  • From ₹1,728
  • 1 hour
  • Frequency every 30 or 40 minutes
  • Without food
  • Book now
  • Thames River Evening Cruise
  • From ₹3,904
  • 2 hours
  • Perfect for relaxing after a busy day of sightseeing
  • With wine and aperitif
  • Book now
  • Thames River Lunch Cruise
  • From ₹4,853
  • 1 hour 30 min
  • Ideal for families or large groups
  • With lunch and tea
  • Book now
  • Thames River Dinner Cruise with Live Music
  • From ₹9,462
  • 2 hours 45 min
  • Special menu for vegans or intolerant people
  • With gourmet dinner
  • Book now
  • Hop on Hop Off Thames River Cruise
  • From ₹2,902
  • 1 hour
  • You can use the pass for the whole day
  • Without food
  • Book now
  • Harry Potter Locations Tour in London and Thames River Cruise
  • From ₹3,154
  • 2 hours and 30 mins
  • You will also see James Bond and Marvel locations.
  • No food
  • Book now
  • Bus London Tour with Thames River Cruise
  • From ₹5,524
  • 45 minutes
  • Perfect if you go with seniors or children
  • With other attractions
  • Book now

How to get to the Thames river cruise embarkation areas

Views of Tower Bridge from the River
Views of Tower Bridge from the River

Most Thames river cruises depart from central London piers and are served by public transport nearby. In the case of the flexible cruise you can also get there from any of the stops at the above attractions.

Embankment Pier

  • Embankment Underground
  • Charing Cross train or tube

Westminster Pier

  • Westminster Underground
  • Tower Pier
  • Tower Hill Underground
  • Tower Gateway DLR light rail
  • Fenchurch Street Railway Station
  • 15, 15H, N15 and RV1 bus routes

Greenwich Pier

  • Cutty Sark Light Railway (DLR)
  • Greenwich Railway
  • 188, 199 and N1 bus routes

London Eye Pier

  • Waterloo and London Waterloo Underground
  • Bus route RV1

Book a sunset cruise on the Thames

Why a Thames Sunset Cruise is worthwhile

Sailing under Blackfriars Bridge
Sailing under Blackfriars Bridge

For me, one of the great things about booking a Thames cruise is that you can give your tired legs a rest after a city with so much to see and do.

It also saves you from the traffic jams you can experience on the bus and the crowds on the tube. And the best thing is that they link two of the city's main tourist attractions: the Westminster Abbey area, where the famous Big Ben and London Eye are located, with the areas of the City and St Paul's Cathedral and the Tower of London.

These cruises are ideal to get an overall idea of the city's physiognomy or to see its monuments from a different perspective. I recommend them especially if you are travelling with children as it is a fun and convenient way to get an overall idea of what London is like and to visit some of the main sights.

Book a Thames river cruise with lunch

Other interesting attractions in London

Sunset on the London Eye| ©Stevieboy55
Sunset on the London Eye| ©Stevieboy55

If you have already decided to take the cruise, my advice is to take the opportunity to visit the Westminster Abbey area, from where you can embark to start the boat tour.

Right there you will find the London Eye (this is the article I have written about it). London Eye Tickets: how to buy, prices and schedules), a few metres away Westminster Abbey (here is all the information about London Westminster Abbey Tickets: how to buy and prices) and the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben.

If you are interested in walking around the city and enjoying what you see, you can take a look at my article about the London Eye (here is the article I wrote about it). Top 10 Tours and Excursions in Londonwhich can help you choose a good guided tour of the city where you will also learn the best kept secrets of the big city.

Book a Thames river cruise with dinner and live music