Thames Clippers have the longest boat routes on the Thames -- all the way from Putney to North Greenwich (The O2). That's a 15-mile stretch that takes you through the whole of central London.
Technically the boats are aimed at commuters rather than tourists. They are very fast, stop at a lot of places, and don't have as many outside seats as some of the other London boats, but it's still a very enjoyable way to travel up and down the river.
They stop everywhere from at Chelsea, London Eye, Embankment (for Trafalgar Square), Blackfriars (for Temple), Bankside (for Tate Modern and the Globe), London Bridge (for The Shard), Tower Millennium (for the Tower of London and Tower Bridge), Canary Wharf, Greenwich (for the Cutty Sark and Royal Observatory) and North Greenwich (for The O2).
Unfortunately there is no one boat that goes the entire way -- if you want to enjoy the entire route then you have to change boats when you reach the Embankment or London Eye. But don't let that put you off -- you can almost treat it like the tube: buying a day pass and using it to go from Westminster, to The City, and up to the Tower of London and Tower Bridge.
Another good thing about this boat is that you can use an Oyster card, Visitor Oyster card and contactless card on it. They have those yellow readers on the pier (the exact same ones they have at train stations), so you just tap down like normal. You can buy a Visitor Oyster Card online before you go. You can also combine them with a London Pass, to save you even more money.
Craig has been on this boat himself, and has written a big review including lots of photos of what you can see out the window. (You might like to read his previous review about it as well.) Feel free to ask him a question about the Thames Clipper.
There are plenty of other boats that go up and down the Thames, if you don't fancy this one. The two best ones are run by City Cruises and TRS River Cruises. Craig has written reviews of those ones as well: City Cruises review and TRS River Cruise review. The big advantage with those two, over the Thames Clipper, is that they have lots more outside seats and they usually provide a bit of amusing commentary onboard as well.
If you fancy something a bit more exciting (eg: more terrifying), then how about riding on a speed boat instead? Thames Rockets run speed boats up the river which will really get your heart pumping.
Guest – “Are OAP Freedom Passes usable, please?”
Admin – “You get 50% off with a freedom pass. That doesn't apply to all ticket types, though. More details can be found about it here: thamesclippers.com/route-time-table/prices”
> Craig’s review of this event – “Some days you just want to sit in a boat until the river runs dry... have it keep floating until there's nothing left to float on. That's why God invented these Thames Clippers. These boats have got the longest routes in London: from Putney all the way up to North Greenwich and O2 Arena. But here's a word of warning: they're not sightseeing boats. They don't have a to… continued”
TRS river cruise, from Big Ben to Greenwich – Every day – Spend a leisurely afternoon on a TRS river cruise from Big Ben to Greenwich, and see some of the sights along the river.
Boat trip down the Thames, with City Cruises – Every day – City Cruises offer one-way, return or all-day boat trips between Westminster and Greenwich, stopping off at Tower Bridge.
Roar down the Thames in a speeding boat! – Every day – A trip on a Thames Rocket is something you'll never forget, speeding down the river underneath the London's bridges.
Dinner cruise on the river, with Bateaux London – Every day – Bateaux London offers you great cuisine and live entertainment onboard the boat, as it sails serenely down the Thames.
Jason’s Trip, from Little Venice to Camden – 1 Apr to 3 Nov 2019 – Jason's Trip runs a beautiful painted 100-year old canal boat down the Regent's Canal, from Little Venice to Camden Lock.
Everybody’s Talking About Jamie – 6 Nov 2017 to 28 Sep 2019 – 'Everybody's Talking About Jamie' is all about overcoming prejudice, with songs by The Feeling's Dan Gillespie Sells.
Hamilton — one of America’s Founding Fathers – 21 Nov 2017 to 30 Mar 2019 – Alexander Hamilton was George Washington's right hand man, and one of America's Founding Fathers.
If you enjoy Thames Clippers then you might like to visit City Cruises (you can walk it in 6 mins), Jason’s Trip (catch the train from Waterloo to Warwick Avenue), Thames Rockets (you can walk there in less than 1 min) and TRS river cruise (you can walk it in 6 mins)
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