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The Thames RIB Experience

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by Kat Parr Mackintosh (subscribe)
Young and coffee in varying degrees, Kat also says stuff @ThoroughlyMode
Published May 24th 2011
The Thames: you might think that she's a lady in her dotage now, heavy with silt and all that carrying things up and down and getting loads of rubbish tipped into you over several hundred years. But she's not so old that she doesn't know how to have a good time. As proved by the people at the Thames Rib Experience who take people on crazy, all-pistons-blaring, all-singing-all-dancing speed boat trips up and down her.

The boat they hurtle you along the river in is called a 'RIB', a part inflatable beast, normally the preserve of the special forces, police and Navy Seal types. They look as if they let a lot of water in (and they do), but they're supposed to be super safe.

There are three trips you can take, and each boat holds only 12, so you'll probably need to book this one in advance. The basic option goes scooting off to Canary Wharf and back to Embankment, and costs 37 per person for a 50 minute trip. The second option goes all the to the Thames Barrier and back in 80 minutes for 45 per person. And the third option is the 'Bond Experience' and goes hurtling off in the other direction so that you can follow in the footsteps of that famous James Bond boat race up the Thames which starts under the MI5 building. This option is only available for groups though, so sorry singles.

As a Londoner, you might not think that this is the 'right' way for visitors to experience the river surely one of the ferries is more appropriate? But they market these high octane experiences to tourists, so above the sound of the sound system comes your 'guide's' voice on the PA who's pointing out what you're almost missing as you're careening along the water. Of course as well as the usual stuff they also have some edge to their commentary - especially when it comes to the 'Bond' version of their experience, where they have all sorts of cool spy tales to tell about London espionage, ancient and more recent.

If you're worried about safety you needn't be. If you're worried about getting wet then they provide gear to keep you dry in all conditions or so they say.
Though these guys don't look too dry
Though these guys don't look too dry

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Why? Come on, live a little - or a lot.
When: Every day, but check the website for when which route are being run
Where: Thames RIB Experience Embankment Pier Victoria Embankment London WC2N 6NU
Cost: From 37pp
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