The river Thames is perhaps the most significant river in the country. Without it, London would have never come to be, and the seafaring influence of the British Empire would never have come to pass. It’s allowed an enormous amount of trade to pass into the country, and a huge amount of tourism, too.
The Thames also presents us with an opportunity to see a significant portion of the capital’s most noteworthy attractions. A Thames cruise, as well as being a pleasant thing in and of itself, is perhaps one of the best ways to see the sights – away from the hustle-bustle of life on the streets. For a quintessentially English break, you’ll even be able to enjoy a spot of the nation’s favourite beverage on a London afternoon tea cruise.
Let’s look at some of the attractions you might catch a glimpse of on your way up and down the river.
This area of the capital has proven exceptionally significant for global transport and timekeeping, as it’s famously the place at which the Greenwich Mean was set. Here you’ll find the National Maritime Museum, which offers a wealth of fantastic history of sailing ships to explore. If you’ve even the slightest interest in sailing or boats, then this is a must-visit.
The London Eye is an enormous Ferris wheel that dominates the skyline around the river. It’s open during summer from ten in the morning until half-past-eight, and takes a couple of hours to fully rotate. If you’d like to avoid an irritating que, then you can pay a little bit extra to jump it and go straight into the carriage; and if you’d like a spot of bubbly to see you through the rotation you’ll be able to enjoy a glass of Pommery Brut Royale champagne for a mere £36. If you’re looking to cut costs (or avoid exorbitant prices) on the other hand, you can bring your own bottle of water to see you through the rotation. Each carriage provides room enough for two-dozen people, or ten tonnes, whichever is higher.
Just beside the London Eye itself you’ll find several other interesting attractions, including the London Aquarium, and the Palace of Westminster, which is just a short walk away.
This part of the river is the political heart of the country, containing the two houses of parliament, Westminster abbey, and, naturally, the famous clock tower which houses Big Ben. If you’re intent on sitting in the viewing gallery as parliament is sitting, then you’ll be able to do so – but you’ll want to book well in advance in order to avoid disappointment.
You’ll also find the Churchill war rooms in this part of town, and Whitehall. The abbey has hosted just about every state wedding and funeral over the last few decades, and is hugely significant to Britain and its history. If you’re in this part of town and you’ve the slightest interest in British history, you should consider a visit to Westminster obligatory.
On the banks of this section of the river you’ll find the famous Tower of London, which is among the most popular tourist attractions in the entire country – which just goes to show how grisly the tastes of the average tourist are. With so much of London’s history being soaked in blood, it’s perhaps unsurprising how much of it you’ll find in this – the place where enemies of the crown were sent to be punished. If you’d like to really learn how terrible things were in bygone centuries, a visit to this part of town will provide an irrefutable demonstration.
The Globe Theatre
Of course, as well as being home to an array of famous sites, the capital has also played host to some exceptional people. Among the most famous of these is perhaps the greatest playwright ever to live: William Shakespeare. In Shakespeare’s day, the theatre-going experience was a great deal rowdier and more communal than it is today. And it’s for this reason that this recreation of the original Globe Theatre was constructed, aping many of the design features of its predecessor, including the round construction.
The grounds of the theatre contain a museum dedicated to the man himself, and there are guided tours of the theatre itself and the neighbouring Sam Wanamaker playhouse. So, even if you’re not looking to watch a play during your trip to this part of town, you’ll still be able to find out everything there is to know about this fascinating project.