London by river

Already a holiday destination for many…

With trips abroad severely discouraged, bureaucratically cumbersome and expensive, why not come to London to explore our capital city from the Thames, from its banks, bridges and boats. And if you live in the area, it’s even easier to come to the river.
Below you’ll see photographs of people doing just that since the third stage of lockdown easing on May 17th. And despite the delay in the final lifting of restrictions, life on the river will continue building up as it has been doing for the last month or so, and there is already more choice and much to see and do. Thames Clippers and sightseeing tours such as City Cruises and the Circular Cruise have been doing well. And bookings for boats hosting private events have been on the increase.
Visit London’s official guide gives links to some of the top river cruises from sightseeing, restaurant and pleasure boats to smart launches and kayaks. By clicking here on Covid you can see their latest information and you can research individual boat companies to see what measures they have in place to ensure passenger safety.

Sightseers on M.V. THOMAS DOGGETT and beyond on M.V. CITY GAMMA, enjoying views of London from the river
M.V. PRIDE OF LONDON of Cruise London passing the National Covid Memorial Wall on the South Bank
City Cruises’ vessel M.V. MILLENNIUM OF PEACE passing the beach by Gabriel’s Wharf
Exceptional views of London while dining with City Cruises on M.V. MILLENNIUM DIAMOND
On board Thames River Sightseeing boat SAPELE passing the Tower of London
Looking back from M.V. SAPELE towards Tower Bridge and Thames Clipper CYCLONE
One of the Uber boats by Thames Clippers with passengers inside and out, enjoying the sights
Guide giving a commentary to tourists on the London Eye river cruise vessel M.V. SILVER BONITO
A new river tour starting soon from Tower Bridge. See: Horrible Histories: Terrible Thames
Private charter: SIGRID OF CHELSEA of the Chelsea Yacht Club
Thames Limo’s patriotically painted boat making a splash along Lambeth Reach
Thames Jet speedboat passing Thames Marine Services’ fixed refuelling barge at Westminster. In the background, a poignant remainder of the pandemic: The National Covid Memorial wall
Thrill seekers, eyes on the guide, enjoying the ride on one of the Thames Rockets RIBs
‘Hold on tight’ when you board a Thames Rib Experience boat
Kayakers heading upstream with the tide on a choppy river: Discover Kayaking and canoeing in London

However, we haven’t yet reached the end of Covid restrictions. Party boats, though now allowed out, have to stick to strict social distancing rules, and passengers have to wear masks inside. When you decide on a sightseeing trip, though you can just turn up at the last minute for some, it would be a good idea to check on a company’s particular rules, as they do vary. And it’s best to carry a mask anyway as they’re required on London transport and in taxis.

Further information
With thanks to Waterman & Lighterman, Ben for info and advice.
A few sites to explore for more on river cruises and private charters:
‘Discover the Thames’ Port of London Authority
River Thames Cruises
Thames Luxury Charters
Thames River Boat Tours
Visit London