Urban Boating



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From battleships and barges to floating theatres, curry cruises and Hawaiian war canoeing – getting out on the water in London has never been quite so much fun.

  • No 1 Nelson's Last Voyage

    Board the Silver Sturgeon at Greenwich Pier at 9.30am on September 16 and follow the Thames Nelson Flotilla re-enacting Admiral Lord Nelson’s grand waterborne funeral procession upriver. The trip costs £55 per person and includes a three- course lunch and a chance to view the historic procession before returning to Savoy Pier by 2.30pm. Silver Fleet –Woods River Cruises (020 7481 2711/www.silverfleet.co.uk).

    No 2 Set Sail In Docklands

    Surrey Docks Watersport Centre runs both sailing and canoeing courses during the school summer holidays. Great fun for kids.Surrey Docks Watersport Centre, Greenland Dock, Rope St, SE16 (020 7237 5555).

    No 3 Kayak In Westminster

    The Westminster Boating Base, a charitable enterprise located in the heart of London, runs low-cost classes on the tidal Thames for would-be sailors who don’t want to leave town. Canoe, kayak and powerboat lessons are also available.Westminster Boating Base, 136 Grosvenor Rd, SW1 (020 7821 7389/ www.westminsterboatingbase.co.uk).

    No 4 Catamaran Cruisers

    You can either take the 50-minute, non-stop Thames Circular Tour (from Westminster pier), or hop on and off the flexible Point-to-Point cruise (from Embankment). Catamaran Cruisers (020 7987 1185/ www.catamarancruisers.co.uk).

    No 5 City Cruises

    City Cruises offers sightseeing tours and restaurant boats. Not many people know Travelcard holders get a third off scheduled riverboat fares.City Cruises (020 7740 0400/ www.citycruises.com).

    No 6 Fish And Chips On The River Lee

    Take a fish-and-chips cruise along the River Lee (August 19, September 9, 30, October 14) at £12 a head. Or book the boat for a party (weekdays £125 per hour; after 5pm Friday and weekends £150 per hour; minimum two hours’ hire). River Lee Cruises, Lee Valley Boat Centre, Old Nazeing Rd, Broxbourne, Herts (01992 466111/www.riverleecruises.co.uk).

    No 7 Thames Barrier Cruise

    The Thames Barrier Information and Learning Centre (020 8305 4188) has models explaining how these great silver gates work, but the best way to see them is by boat. Campion Launches runs trips from Greenwich (March-October).Campion Launches (020 8305 0300).

    No 8 London Ducktours

    See London from one of the amphibious vehicles used in the D-Day landings. You can’t fail to feel a bit of a thrill when your tour bus leaves dry land beside the MI6 building and splashes into the Thames to motor along to the London Eye. London Ducktours (020 7928 3132/ www.londonducktours.co.uk).

    No 9 Aqua Art

    Thankfully, not all voyages involve physical exertion. Visit the Couper Collection, on the southern bank of the Thames just east of Battersea Bridge, and board a fleet of historic Thames barges to explore artwork by Max Couper and London artists under the age of 18. The Couper Collection Barges, Battersea Beach, Thames Riverside Walk, Hester Rd, SW11 (020 7738 1935/www.coupercollection.org.uk). Open Tue, Wed 10am-4pm.

    No 10 Indian Voyage

    Woods River Cruises operates luxurious dining trips up the Thames. Book now for the curry cruise (£75 per person) aboard the Silver Sturgeon on September 3, organised in conjunction with Tamarind Catering & Events, the private catering arm of Europe’s only Michelin-starred Indian restaurant.Curry cruise departs Sep 3, 7.15pm, from Savoy Pier, Victoria Embankment, WC2 (020 7481 2711/www.silverfleet.co.uk).

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