Freelance writer and poet from London; if you would like to read my poetry, please check out my book, 'Poems on the Page', available from goo.gl/Ta4oAX.
Published June 21st 2013
Swapping Wheels for Water
Leave the congested and polluted petrol fuming roads of London behind you for a day, and instead take to the waves - or at least the ripples - of the river by taking a cruise along the Thames. There are several different rides to choose from, depending on whether you just want to get from A to B, are interested in a tour of the city, or want to host a party of a special occasion.
Thames Cruises have five boats available for private hire, including Thames Princess, Royal Princess, Viscountess, Hurlingham, and Old London. The two princesses are best for big dos as they can hold a capacity of up to two-hundred and fifty people, while The Old London is best for corporate groups, holding up to seventy-four. Hiring a boat can cost anything between £660-£1990 depending on how many hours you want, and what time of day. They all have bars and catering facilities (at an extra charge), which include buffets that serve finger food, BBQ, and a sit-down silver service.
A view of The Shard
City Cruises are perfect for tourists. Their Sightseeing tour offers a hop-on/hop-off service starting from £8.55 for adults, and with departures every thirty minutes, you can spend the day at a leisurely pace with no need to rush for the next boat. Stop off at key Landmarks like The Tower of London, London Eye, Westminster Abbey, and many more.
Alternatively, you could have a dining experience by booking a two-course lunch (£27) or afternoon tea (£22) cruise. Unless of course, you are planning a ThamesJet experience, because then you might want to give the food a miss. There are two thrilling water rides to choose from; The Thamesmax (£49) takes you full steam ahead at rip-roaring speeds to the Thames Barrier, while The Thamesrush (£35) provides a live commentary from Westminster to Tower Bridge, after which they put 'pedal to the metal'.
Docking at the pier.
Thames Clippers are a good choice for commuters. It's just like getting a bus, only the boats run on time, the seats are more comfortable, and you get fantastic window views. There are three different routes. Route one takes you from Putney to Blackfriars, route two is Vauxhall to Bankside, and rout three is the London Eye to Royal Arsenal Woolwich.
Passing the HMS Belfast.
I recently took route three on a KPMG Thames Clipper; it was my first time, and had a very good experience. The Standard adult ticket price is £6.50, but if you have a travel or oyster card, then you get a third off the price, which meant I only had to pay £4.30. The value of this depends on how far you go. One stop makes for a short and expensive journey, but since I was going all the way up to North Greenwich (about a thirty-five minute trip), it was a good deal.
Clippers are wide boats, with three isles of seats, a leather couch at the front, and the option to sit outside. There is also wi-fi, and a Costa Coffee bar that serves snacks, hot & cold drinks, wine & champagne.
The trip started off at a leisurely pace, which gave me time to take in al the great views. Despite all the fancy new buildings that have risen to London's skyline, my favourite sights were of the old timers like Tower Bridge and The Globe Theatre.