If the Thames did not exist, there would not be the city of London either. Indeed, it is the heart of this city, which is entitled “liquid history”. Let’s discover together the Thames and its main activities.
Cross the various bridges of the Thames
The Thames alone includes thirty three bridges that you can cross and admire the view. The most popular of them is, without a doubt, Tower Bridge. While crossing it, you will discover its famous history there and you will also be able to admire its floor composed of glass. In addition to Tower Bridge, it is also possible to admire many other places from the Thames: the Blackfriars Bridge which allows you to observe the sunset for example, or the millennium bridge which presents an excellent point of view on St Paul’s. Finally, you can head to Albert Bridge after dark, since the bridge is lit by more than 4,000 bulbs.
A cruise on the Thames?
In order to visit London in all its glory, you can embark on a cruise on the Thames. The Thames River Cruise service, which you can find in a multitude of companies, will allow you to contemplate the largest London monuments from a rather atypical angle. Thus, you will encounter fewer problems: no traffic jams, no noise and of course less stress! This means of locomotion will allow you to have an overview of most historical monuments including Big Ben, Shakespeare’s Globe Theater, London Tower, St. Paul’s Cathedral or the London Eve.
As we discussed before, a multitude of companies offers you to embark on a cruise including one of the most famous: the City Cruises. It offers trips ranging from 20 minutes to more than three hours. Its “River Red Rover” service offers the opportunity for passengers to stop at the place of their choice. The various stops are: Tower Pier, Waterloo Pier, Westminster Pier or Greenwich Pier. You can embark at any time of the day since departures take place every thirty minutes. You can also sail during the night, you will observe another point of view of the city. In addition to the City Cruises, other companies offer such services: Thames Clippers, Crow River Cruise or Tharmes River Services.
Tip: It is possible to cross the Thames for free!
Crossing through Woowich Ferry, you will not pay a penny! Indeed, this service is completely free since it is funded by Transport for London and then operated by Briggs Marine. The crossing is between Woolwich and North Woolwich, that is to say between the north and south sides of the Thames. This service is not well known because it brings the passages mainly to residential areas and not the tourist areas. It is therefore used more by workers and larger vehicles. Indeed, this boat embarks as much the pedestrians, the cyclists and the people in their car, van or truck. Moreover, this shuttle system is mainly used for crossing large vehicles, unable to pass through the Blackwall tunnel to reach the city of London. The boat does not look like a big ferry, as you might think, but more like a commercial freighter. Thus, this cargo ship does not offer the luxury and comfort of a cruise ship! However, it ensures the crossing for free.
List of other activities to do
In addition, here is the list of the main activities you can do on the Thames:
- South Bank exploration. When you do not know what to do, this destination is ideal. Indeed, there are many events, including the Christmas market during the winter, an urban beach in the summer season, festivals, events and more.
Admiration from a point of view. There are many spaces from which you can admire every moment of London. The river from a higher point is beautiful, so do not hesitate to visit the London Eve which is probably the best point to admire the river. As we have seen, you can also go on a cruise to admire the historical monuments.
- The “fish spot”. For many years, the Thames has been famous for the presence of many mammals: whales, seals, dolphins and even porpoises. To discover this marine life, you can go to the aquarium “Sea Life”, it is located near the London Eve. This aquarium belongs to the biggest in Europe since it has more than 500 species, 14 thematic zones and more than 2 million liters of water.
You can embark on HMS Belfast. Previously, it was a light cruiser owned by the Royal Navy but now it is a “museum ship” on the Thames. By visiting it, you will be able to discover the life of the crew during the Second World War until the year 1963. It is therefore a very interesting subject, which returns in the footsteps of our past.
- Finally, you can simply walk near the dock at St Katherine. Today, it is a commercial dock located on a marina. There is a multitude of shops and restaurants. On a nice summer day, this can be an area where you can walk near the yachts and away from the stress of the city. It is a rather pleasant place.