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The Thames is the longest river in England, the second longest in the United Kingdom. It flows from the west in the Cotswolds, passing through Oxford and London, ending at the sea at Southend-on-Sea in Essex. As far up as Teddington on the western edge of London, the river is tidal. Once the lifeline of London trade and communication, it's still busy with boats: sightseeing boats and houseboats mainly.

Once the only way across the river was to ford it, then London Bridge was built by the Romans. Nowadays many bridges criss-cross the river, the pedestrian Millennium Bridge, Tower Bridge and Albert Bridge are among the prettiest.

The Thames is home to many species of fish and birds - particularly white swans which are to this day all still owned by the Queen. The river is also used by rowers and yachtsman but not swimmers - the water is not the cleanest. 

Practical Info

Tourist boats will take you from Westminster to Greenwich, or from Kew and Richmond upriver to Hampton Court Palace passing through Teddington Lock. The Thames Barrier, designed to protect London from floods, is also worth a visit. There are lots of walking paths next to the Thames, South Bank is particularly popular or head up to Richmond. Or you can do what Londoners do: find a riverside pub and enjoy a pint of lager or a roast lunch and just watch the world go by.

Tours & Tickets

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London Full-Day Sightseeing Tour

4.5 star rating: Recommended 630 Reviews

See the best that England’s capital has to offer on a full-day city tour of London! After an early access visit to the UNESCO-listed Tower of London to see the ...  Read more

Location: London, United Kingdom
Duration: 9 hours (approx.)

From USD $145.90

Private Tour: London City Highlights

Enjoy a day in London with a private guide and a driver, and see the sights that interest you the most! The full-day private experience offers a flexible ...  Read more

Location: London, United Kingdom
Duration: 8 hours (approx.)

From USD $157.77

The London Showboat Dinner Cruise on the Thames River

4.5 star rating: Recommended 120 Reviews

Enjoy a evening of food, wine and entertainment as you cruise down the River Thames. Glide past some of London's most spectacular landmarks including the ...  Read more

Location: London, United Kingdom
Duration: 3 hours 30 minutes (approx.)

From USD $137.22

London Thames River Dinner Cruise

4.5 star rating: Recommended 121 Reviews

Dine in style aboard a luxury sightseeing boat on a 2.5-hour Thames River dinner cruise! Choose to travel aboard the elegant ‘Harmony’ or ‘Symphony’ at one of ...  Read more

Location: London, United Kingdom
Duration: 2 hours 30 minutes (approx.)

From USD $137.22

Thames Hop-On Hop-Off River Cruise

4.5 star rating: Recommended 198 Reviews

The best way to see London's sights and splendor is from the deck of a boat. With this hop-on hop-off pass you can cruise up and down the Thames, alighting at ...  Read more

Location: London, United Kingdom
Duration: 1 Day Pass

From USD $31.26

London City Sightseeing Tour Including Tower of London and City of London

3.5 star rating: Worth doing 85 Reviews

See the best of London in an afternoon, with a visit to the Tower and a city tour including St. Paul's Cathedral.

Location: London, United Kingdom
Duration: 4 hours 30 minutes (approx.)

From USD $92.06

London Vintage Bus Tour with Afternoon Tea

4 star rating: Recommended 43 Reviews

Discover London’s hotspots on this exciting half-day tour that includes an afternoon tea at the Kensington Palace Orangery. You'll start with a sightseeing ...  Read more

Location: London, United Kingdom
Duration: 3 hours 30 minutes (approx.)

From USD $85.11

Madame Tussauds and Thames River Sightseeing Cruise

4 star rating: Recommended 20 Reviews

Get your tickets now for two of London's most popular activities: Madame Tussauds and a Thames River sightseeing cruise. You'll save money on the deal and be ...  Read more

Location: London, United Kingdom
Duration: 1 Day Pass

From USD $79.90

London Eye: River Cruise Experience

4.5 star rating: Recommended 198 Reviews

Take an EDF Energy London Eye River Cruise and see London from a different perspective. Highlights of the 40-minute circular cruise include Big Ben and the ...  Read more

Location: London, United Kingdom
Duration: 60 minutes (approx.)

From USD $22.58

London Eye and Thames River Sightseeing Cruise

4.5 star rating: Recommended 244 Reviews

Roll up, roll up. Get your combined tickets to two of London's top attractions: a trip on the London Eye and a Thames River sightseeing cruise. You'll save ...  Read more

Location: London, United Kingdom
Duration: 1 Day Pass

From USD $64.44

See all Thames River Tours & Tickets

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