Choose the day you wish to take both tours when you book. Then, on the day, collect your tickets at one of the cruise departure points (not including Waterloo Pier) and make your own way to both the Tower of London and the cruise departure jetty.
Tower of London:
Show your prebooked ticket at the Tower of London and head inside to explore independently. Founded in the 1080s by William the Conqueror, this medieval walled complex has served as a palace, fortress, armoury and prison, and reverberates with dark secrets.
Stroll around to see highlights such as Traitor’s Gate and Tower Green, the site of many royal executions. See the jet-black ravens and Beefeater guides, and visit the famous Jewel House, home to the Crown Jewels, to see these glittering symbols of British monarchy.
If you wish, join one of the complimentary Beefeater tours that run every 30 minutes from inside the gates. Discover the famous events that took place here, and hear the mysteries that still surround this 900-year-old complex.
Thames River Sightseeing Cruise:
Make your way to the departure jetty on the Thames, and board your sightseeing boat. Find a spot on the open deck or inside the spacious lower saloon, and settle in for your cruise.
Sail by some of London’s best-known sights, and absorb the wonderful river views. Along the way, listen to the entertaining live commentary from the guide, and if you wish, refuel with sodas, snacks and alcoholic drinks (all at own expense) from the onboard bars.
Cruises depart regularly from Westminster Pier, Waterloo Pier (near the London Eye), Tower Pier and Greenwich Pier. The shortest between-pier trips last around 30 minutes, while a full round-trip takes 2.5 hours.
The journey through history begins at Westminster Pier, in the shadow of Big Ben's tower and just a few steps away from Westminster Abbey, where kings and queens have been crowned for almost 1,000 years. This is also the pier closest to the Churchill Museum and Cabinet War Rooms off Whitehall, the center of national government, and the Banqueting House, the last remaining building from the old Palace of Whitehall.
Across the river, County Hall, once the headquarters of the London County Council and then the Greater London Council, no longer echoes to the cries of councilors. Down below, the London Aquarium reveals the secrets of the deep while, above, visitors and business people relax in the comfort of the Marriott Hotel.
A few yards downstream see the Millennium Wheel, better known as the London Eye. In a 25 minute ride it offers spectacular views across London and far beyond.
Through the Jubilee and Hungerford foot bridges and Charing Cross railway bridge, the Royal Festival Hall recalls the post-war days when the river carried some 6million people to celebrate the Festival of Britain at this very site. Beyond Waterloo Bridge comes Somerset House, the grand building on the north bank that was once the home of various government departments and is now a vibrant arts, heritage and entertainment center.
Beyond Blackfriars, look up the steps on the north bank for a view of St. Paul's Cathedral as you pass beneath the new Millennium Footbridge, which provides a pedestrian link with Bankside, part of the South Bank regeneration development. Among the attractions in this area are the Tate Modern art gallery and Sam Wannamaker's re-creation of Shakespeare's Globe theatre, the first building with a thatched roof to have been built in London since the great fire of 1666.
The South Bank here is the heart of historic Southwark, famed for its riverside pubs and the smallest of the capital's three cathedrals. Through London Bridge a thrilling vista unfolds: the Tower of London, Tower Bridge and the retired battle-cruiser HMS Belfast.
On into Docklands: historic Wapping and Limehouse to the north, Bermondsey and Rotherhithe to the south. Many of the old docks have disappeared while those that remain now play host to yachtsmen, weekend sailors and narrowboats.
Approaching Canary Wharf ,the new commercial face of Docklands is revealed. Canary Wharf and its neighboring developments are bringing thousands of new jobs to the area. Along the river banks new residential, commercial and leisure developments continue apace.
The National Maritime Museum, with its new Neptune Court and galleries, offers a fascinating and entertaining visit for all the family. These, together with the historic clipper ship Cutty Sark, the Old Royal Observatory, Queen's House, Fan Museum, traditional covered market and many more attractions form the World Heritage Site of Greenwich.