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Boat trips in London

See the city from the Thames or one of London's canals

Bored by dry land? We've picked London's best boat tours along the river Thames and the city's picturesque canalways. From serene canalboat trips to high-speed thrill rides, and craft ranging from hybrid land-and-water vessels to Damien Hirst-designed catamarans, London's waterways have something for everyone.

Think we've missed a great cruise or tour? Let us know in the comments box below.

City Cruises

City cruises operate on a hop-on, hop-off basis and run from Westminster, Waterloo, Tower and Greenwich Piers with commentary along the way. The River Red Rover ticket allows unlimited one-day cruising, there's also the Rail and River Rover ticket allowing unlimited one-day travel by river and on the DLR and single or return tickets are available for shorter journeys. The London Showboat is an evening dinner and dance cruise running from Westminster Pier.

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Waterloo

London RIB Voyages

The slick RIB (ridged inflatable boat) operation offers a thrilling, high-speed ride on the Thames. You can book by phone or online or turn up at London Eye Millennium Pier on spec. Arrive 20 minutes before the off to be kitted out with a waterproof jacket, a life jacket and goggle-style visors (fun in itself). The trip starts calmly enough and the guide tends to keep kids and adults entertained with fun facts and celebrity stories. 

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South Bank

Tate to Tate Boat

Running every 40 minutes, the boat service connecting London’s two Tate galleries, Tate Modern and Tate Britain, takes you through the heart of London, with plenty to see on both banks (head to the outdoor deck at the back of the boat for the best views). The catamaran service boasts specially commissioned exterior and interior designs by artist Damien Hirst, but there’s no commentary, so take a map.

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South Bank

Thames Clippers

River Bus services operating daily between Royal Arsenal Woolwich in the East and St George Wharf Vauxhall in the West. A daily commuter service operates every 20 minutes calling at all major central London piers. On event nights at The O2, the River Bus Express operates a fast direct shuttle service from London Eye (Waterloo), London Bridge and Canary Wharf with optional champagne upgrades.

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Blackwall

Thames RIB Experience

Hurtling about the Thames in a RIB (rigid inflatable boat) at 30 knots (roughly 35mph) is the closest thing we’ve got to a white-knuckle ride in central London. It takes just under 40 minutes to travel from Westminster to Tower Bridge. Then the turbo engines kick in and you’re off, bumping about in the open water between Tower Bridge and Canary Wharf, turning in terrifyingly tight figures of eight. It’s the quickest, most thrilling way to travel the Thames.

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Waterloo

Meridian Duck Tours

This sightseeing tour by land and water in a 1944 DUKW-style landing vehicle departs from outside Cutty Sark DLR on the corner of Greenwich High Street, and features two 'splashdowns' as it travels around Docklands, Canary Wharf and Greenwich. Tickets can be bought from the O2 Arena booking office as well as online.

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London Waterbus Company

Navigate Regent's Canal in a narrowboat with The London Waterbus Company. Trips run along the Regent's Canal linking Little Venice, Regent's Park, London Zoo and Camden Lock. Warwick Avenue is the closest tube if you are catching the boat from Little Venice.

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Camden Town

Canal Museum Tunnel Boat Trip

These trips are best suited to the brave. Regent’s Canal’s tunnel – built in 1820 – is long, dark, dank and three quarters of a mile long. Once upon a time, boats normally pulled by horses on the towpath had to be inched through the tunnel by a process of ‘legging’ – with the men on board having to brace their legs against the tunnel walls to power the boat along. The tunnel tours take place during the summer, and tickets also includes admission to the London Canal Museum proper.

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King's Cross

Jason's Canal Boat Trip

Jason's Trip navigates the picturesque route along Regent's Canal from Little Venice, through Regent's Park, on to Camden Lock and back again. The boat is more than 100 years old and the trip, which includes a live historical commentary and lasts for 45min each way, has been a feature on the canal since 1951. A canal boat, the Dusk ’til Dawn, can also be booked for parties.

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Maida Vale

Jenny Wren

Hop aboard for an hour and a half's cruise from Camden Lock, past London Zoo in Regent's Park, through the tunnel to Robert Browning’s Island at Little Venice and back to Walker’s Quay. A commentary is included on the cruise, and picnic lunches are available from the company's Waterside Restaurant. Onboard dining is also an option on the My Fair Lady cruising restaurant boat. Children's parties and buffet cruises can be accommodated as well.

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Camden Town
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Comments

4 comments
James S
James S

I love river cruises. We spent some time while we were in Germany taking a cruise of the Rhine. It was pretty amazing. They showed us all the castles and famous locations along the river as we went. It was informative, memorable, and relaxing. I'll never forget!


Apparicio
Apparicio

Hi i have gonne in the new year on this boat http://www.thamescruises.com/ (old london) and i have a stolen phone and money from my bag. Rubish company, rubish service, noone on the crew help to search for the phone.

Davina Arnold
Davina Arnold

Hi, I work on the Neonatal Unit (sick and premature babies) at Broomfield Hospital, Essex. We are currently working very hard to try to raise money for our unit. The nurses on the unit are holding a charity event in July this year where we will be doing all we can to raise money (Stalls, baking, raffles, entertainment, games etc..) I was wondering if there was anything you could donate that we can use in our raffle and/or as a prize. Any donations will be greatly appreciated and will go a long way in helping us. Donations can be sent directly to the neonatal unit at the following address; A/O Davina Arnold A406, Neonatal Unit, Broomfield Hospital, Court Road, Chelmsford, Essex, CM1 7ET. My mobile number should you need to contact me is 07584189487 Many thanks, Davina Arnold

Ruth Jarvis
Ruth Jarvis

Just been on the Canal Museum tunnel trip – brilliant. And no need to be brave – you can sit cosily inside if you want, and you can always see the light at the end of the tunnel....